AkzoNobel has begun work on restoring the Dutch Royal Barge, de Koningssloep, through a partnership with the National Maritime Museum (Het Scheepvaartmuseum) in Amsterdam.
Experts from the company's yacht paints business are carrying out the intricate restoration – mainly on the hull – in order to have the vessel seaworthy again by the summer of 2015.
The partly gilded Royal Barge was built in 1818 for King Willem I. Around 17 meters (56ft) in length, it was last used in 1962 for the 25th wedding anniversary of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard. The barge is one of the most popular items in the collection of The National Maritime Museum and with the 1 million euro donation by the players of the BankGiro Lottery the museum is able, after restoration, to display the Royal Barge again.
"When the museum approached us for help we didn't hesitate in agreeing to assist with the restoration," said Conrad Keijzer, AkzoNobel’s executive committee member responsible for Performance Coatings. "The Netherlands has a proud history as a seafaring nation and the Royal Barge is an iconic part of our country's heritage. We are therefore very pleased to be involved and are confident that our products and expertise will help restore the barge to its former glory."
Added Henk Dessens, director of collections at the National Maritime Museum: "We are delighted to be working with AkzoNobel on this prestigious project. The company has more than 100 years of experience in developing and supplying marine coatings and their help will be invaluable. The Royal Barge has a very special place in the hearts of the Dutch. We look forward to putting it back on display for everybody, thanks to the generous contribution of the BankGiro Lottery."
Work on the barge is initially taking place in the north of the Netherlands, although members of the public will be able to view some of the ongoing restoration on parts of the barge later this year at the National Maritime Museum.