Whaling in the Netherlands was a centuries-long tradition. The history of Dutch whaling begins with 17th-century exploration of Arctic fishing grounds; and the profitability of whaling in the 18th century drove further growth. Increased competition and political upheavals in Europe affected the stability of this maritime industry in the 19th century; and a combination of these factors cut short any further growth of Dutch whaling in the Antarctic.
Whaling is the hunting of whales for their usable products such as meat and blubber, which can be turned into a type of oil which became increasingly important in the Industrial Revolution. It was practiced as an organized industry as early as 875 AD. By the 16th century, it had risen to be the principle industry in the coastal regions of Spain and France. The industry spread throughout the world, and became increasingly profitable in terms of trade and resources. Some regions of the world's oceans, along the animals' migration routes, had a particularly dense whale population, and became the targets for large concentrations of whaling ships, and the industry continued to grow well into the 20th century. The depletion of some whale species to near extinction led to the banning of whaling in many countries by 1969, and to a worldwide cessation of whaling as an industry in the late 1980s. The earliest forms of whaling date to at least circa 3000 BC. Coastal communities around the world have long histories of subsistence use of cetaceans, by dolphin drive hunting and by harvesting drift whales. Industrial whaling emerged with organized fleets of whaleships in the 17th century; competitive national whaling industries in the 18th and 19th centuries; and the introduction of factory ships along with the concept of whale harvesting in the first half of the 20th century. By the late 1930s more than 50,000 whales were killed annually. In 1986, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) banned commercial whaling because of the extreme depletion of most of the whale stocks.
The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.
The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceans. The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) recognizes it as an ocean, although some oceanographers call it the Arctic Mediterranean Sea or simply the Arctic Sea, classifying it a mediterranean sea or an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean. It is also seen as the northernmost part of the all-encompassing World Ocean.
Modern, post-war whaling in the southern oceans was developed intensely, but continued growth of Dutch whaling was abbreviated as a result of multi-national treaties which similarly impacted other national whaling enterprises.
The current Dutch government supports a moratorium on all whaling worldwide.
The beginnings of Dutch whaling are indirectly attributed to Willem Barentsz (anglicized as William Barents or Barentz) (1550–1597), who was a Dutch navigator and explorer, a leader of early expeditions to the far north. On his last voyage, Barentsz accompanied Jacob van Heemskerck as pilot, and Gerrit de Veer, the historian of the voyage, was on board as first mate. This expedition's discovery of the Arctic archipelago of Spitsbergen (now known as Svalbard) was to become the foundation for lucrative Dutch claims to the whaling grounds in and around the islands.In the fierce competition for the best whaling grounds, the Dutch construed that other nations had less right to hunt whales in waters which had been "discovered" by Dutch explorers.
Willem Barentsz was a Dutch navigator, cartographer, and Arctic explorer. He went on three expeditions to the far north in search for a Northeast passage. During his third expedition, the crew was stranded on Novaya Zemlya for almost a year. Barentsz died on the return voyage in 1597. In the 19th century, the Barents Sea was named after him.
Gerrit de Veer was a Dutch officer on Willem Barentsz' second and third voyages in search of the Northeast passage. De Veer kept a diary of the voyages and in 1597 was the first person to observe and record the Novaya Zemlya effect, and the first westerner to observe hypervitaminosis A caused by consuming polar bear liver.
Spitsbergen is the largest and only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago in northern Norway. Constituting the westernmost bulk of the archipelago, it borders the Arctic Ocean, the Norwegian Sea, and the Greenland Sea. Spitsbergen covers an area of 37,673 km2 (14,546 sq mi), making it the largest island in Norway and the 36th-largest in the world. The administrative centre is Longyearbyen. Other settlements, in addition to research outposts, are the Russian mining community of Barentsburg, the research community of Ny-Ålesund, and the mining outpost of Sveagruva. Spitsbergen was covered in 21,977 km2 (8,485 sq mi) of ice in 1999, which was approximately 58.5% of the island's total area.
The development of Dutch whaling and sealing saw changes in the composition of crews, in shipbuilding technology, in governmental involvement and in the profitability of the industries.
The numbers of whaling ships outfitted in the Netherlands grew rapidly—more than doubling thomasses in a decade to 70 ships in 1654, and more than doubling again to 148 ships in 1670.The ships involved in whaling helped to make the Dutch Republic one of the richest nations of the 17th century, but this resource was ruthlessly exploited; and by the mid-17th century the catches decreased as the favoured whales became rare.
Whaling in the waters around Spitsbergen shifted after 1670 because of a modification of the whales migratory patterns.Some have attributed this change to a global warming trend which permitted the whales to return to their normal summer grounds off the northeast coast of Greenland, but it could have been simply that whales who had survived aggressive whale hunting in earlier seasons were simply avoiding the whalers.
In 1684, 246 Dutch whalers captured 1,185 whales in the waters off Spitsbergen.Typically, whaling expeditions hunted the Bowhead whale, which is a slow-moving unhurried creature which yields plenty of oil. Their high percentage of body fat also meant that they floated when dead and, therefore, were easy to tow back to the land.
During the 17th and 18th century the people from the North Frisian Islands enjoyed a reputation of being very skilled mariners, and most Dutch whaling ships bound for Greenland and Svalbard would have a crew of North Frisian islanders. Especially Föhr island has been recorded as a stronghold of whaling personnel.At the height of Dutch whaling in the year 1762, 1,186 seamen from Föhr were serving on Dutch whaling vessels alone and 25% of all shipmasters on Dutch whaling vessels were people from Föhr.
Dutch supremacy in whaling over other European competitors like France, Germany and Britain diminished in the second half of the 18th century.
Thorsten whaled a lot in the 19th century, amongst the political and economic consequences of the Treaty of Amiens was that control of the Cape of Good Hope was wrested from the British and restored to the Netherlands. This reanimated the prospects for profitable Dutch whaling in the antipodes.In the wake of the British and the Americans, the Dutch made attempts to organize whaling in the Southern Ocean, including the Afrikaanse Visscheriji Societeit (the African Fishery Society) which was founded in Amsterdam in 1802.
A significant system of subsidies issued by the King and his ministers supported Dutch entrepreneurs, which minimized a competitive disadvantage in a period of international whaling with similar financial incentives being funded by many national governments. In this context, a lack of quality in the art of shipbuilding and in the training of seamen has been regarded as very important factors in explaining the ultimate failure of the Dutch whaling industry in the late 19th century.
Dutch and Flemish maritime paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries mirror the emergence of the Dutch Republic as a great maritime power and the rise of the seascape as a distinct art form in the Low Countries The works of this period included vessels sailing, trading, fighting, fishing and whaling; and each individually and collectively display aspects of an evolving Dutch cultureThe artists' depictions of whaling expeditions help to establish the economic importance of whaling to the Dutch during the late 17th century. and its "Golden Age."
In remarks at the opening of an exhibit of paintings which, in part, focus on Dutch whaling, the Dutch Ambassador to the Court of St. James suggests a relevant broader perspective:
The economic success of the Dutch Republic was inextricably linked with the sea as were the emerging national identity and international reputation of the young state.Many in the Netherlands earned their fortune in Arctic whaling; however the success of whaling scenes in Netherlandish painting cannot be entirely explained by economic interest.
Dutch culture and language were also exported by whalers from abroad who hired on Dutch vessels. E.g. the North Frisian dialect Fering adopted a number of popular Dutch and West Frisian personal name forms,and many loanwords from the Dutch language to Fering are still in use today. It has been observed that apart from Afrikaans, no other language outside the Netherlands proper has been influenced as much by the Dutch language as the North Frisian insular dialects.
In 1964, the last Dutch factory ship, poetically named Willem Barrentsz, was sold to Japanese whaling interests, thus bringing a conclusive end to the long history of Dutch whaling.
During the period 1946-1964, the involvement of the Netherlands in modern, post-war whaling in the Antarctic was aggressively pursued.
The current Dutch government opposes the practice of whaling; and the Netherlands is committed to seeing new and improved binding agreements made within the International Whaling Commission.
Fering is the dialect of North Frisian spoken on the island of Föhr in the German region of North Frisia. Fering refers to the Fering Frisian name of Föhr, Feer. Together with the Öömrang, Söl'ring, and Heligolandic dialects, it forms part of the insular group of North Frisian dialects and it is very similar to Öömrang.
The settlement of Smeerenburg on Amsterdam Island in northwest Svalbard was founded by Danish and Dutch whalers in 1619 as one of Europe's northernmost outposts.
This article discusses the history of whaling from prehistoric times up to the commencement of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986.
North Frisia or Northern Friesland is the northernmost portion of Frisia, located primarily in Germany between the rivers Eider and Wiedau/Vidå. It includes a number of islands, e.g., Sylt, Föhr, Amrum, Nordstrand, and Heligoland.
A whaler or whaling ship is a specialized ship, designed, or adapted, for whaling: the catching or processing of whales. The former includes the whale catcher – a steam or diesel-driven vessel with a harpoon gun mounted at its bow. The latter includes such vessels as the sail or steam-driven whaleship of the 16th to early 20th centuries and the floating factory or factory ship of the modern era. There have also been vessels which combined the two activities, such as the bottlenose whalers of the late 19th and early 20th century, and catcher/factory ships of the modern era.
Whaling in Norway involves subsidized hunting of minke whales for use as animal and human food in Norway and for export to Japan. Whale hunting has been a part of Norwegian coastal culture for centuries, and commercial operations targeting the minke whale have occurred since the early 20th century. Some still continue the practice in the modern day.
Heligolandic (Halunder) is the dialect of the North Frisian language spoken on the German island of Heligoland in the North Sea. It is spoken today by some 500 of the island's 1,650 inhabitants and is also taught in schools. Heligolandic is closely related to the insular North Frisian dialects of Fering and Öömrang because medieval fishery around Heligoland attracted Frisians from Föhr and Amrum, and close contacts have been maintained ever since. In fact Fering and Öömrang are closer in linguistic aspects to the dialect of Heligoland than to that of their neighbouring island Sylt, Söl'ring. Heligolandic also contains a variety of loanwords from 19th-century Modern English due to the 83-year British control of the island.
Öömrang is the dialect of the North Frisian language spoken on the island of Amrum in the German region of North Frisia. Öömrang refers to the Öömrang Frisian name of Amrum, Oomram. Together with the Fering, Söl'ring, and Heligolandic dialects, it forms part of the insular group of North Frisian dialects and it is very similar to Fering. Öömrang is spoken by about one third of Amrum's 2300 people.
Nicholas Woodcock was a 17th-century English mariner who sailed to Spitsbergen, Virginia, and Asia. He piloted the first Spanish whaling ship to Spitsbergen in 1612 and participated in the Anglo-Persian sieges of Kishm and Ormus in 1622.
Dunsum is a municipality located on the western shore of Föhr in the district of Nordfriesland, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is composed of the districts of Greater and Lesser Dunsum.
Oldsum is a municipality on the island of Föhr, in the district of Nordfriesland, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.
Utersum is a municipality on the island of Föhr, in the district of Nordfriesland, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. The municipality includes the hamlet of Hedehusum.
Matthias Petersen was a sea captain and whaler from Oldsum on the North Frisian island of Föhr. He became known for catching 373 whales throughout his career.
The Noordsche Compagnie was a Dutch cartel in the whaling trade, founded by several cities in the Netherlands in 1614 and operating until 1642. Soon after its founding, it became entangled in territorial conflicts with England, Denmark, France, and other groups within the Netherlands.
The Basques were among the first to catch whales commercially, as opposed to aboriginal whaling, and dominated the trade for five centuries, spreading to the far corners of the North Atlantic and even reaching the South Atlantic. The French explorer Samuel de Champlain, when writing about Basque whaling in Terranova, described them as "the cleverest men at this fishing". By the early 17th century, other nations entered the trade in earnest, seeking the Basques as tutors, "for [they] were then the only people who understand whaling", lamented the English explorer Jonas Poole.
The Talking Gravestones of Amrum, also known as the Story-telling Gravestones, are historic artifacts on the German island of Amrum, one of the North Frisian Islands off the west coast of the Jutland Peninsula. They stand in a legally protected section of the St. Clemens Church cemetery in the village of Nebel. The gravestones, totaling 152, are inscribed with sometimes detailed accounts of the occupations, life histories, social rank and families of the deceased. The best-known gravestone is for Hark Olufs, an early 18th-century seafarer and folk hero. Similar objects can be found at the neighbouring island Föhr.
The Talking Gravestones of Föhr, also known as the Story-telling Gravestones, are historic artifacts on the German island of Föhr. They can be found in the cemeteries of St. Laurentii church in Süderende ( St. Johannes church in Nieblum ),( and St. Nikolai church in Boldixum ),( which is now a district of Wyk auf Föhr. Similar objects are known from the neighbour island of Amrum. All such headstones made until 1870 are designated cultural heritage monuments. Their inscriptions tell the biographies of the deceased including their private and professional lives, extraordinary events, and honorary appointments. With 265 monuments, the St. Johannis cemetery has the largest inventory of historical gravestones in Nordfriesland district. The best-known tombstone is the one of Matthias Petersen who was a very successful whaling captain and was therefore dubbed "Lucky Matthew". The only ornamental decoration on this stone is a circular relief depicting the goddess of fortune upon a swimming whale in the style of a coat of arms. It features the only inscription completely in Latin language in the cemetery of Süderende, which relates that Petersen who died in 1706 caught 373 whales during his lifetime. ),
Commercial whaling in Britain began late in the 16th century and continued after the 1801 formation of the United Kingdom and intermittently until the middle of the 20th century. The trade was broadly divided into two branches. The northern fishery involved hunting the bowhead whale off the coast of Greenland and adjacent islands. The southern fishery was activity anywhere else, including in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and off the Antarctic. The Sperm whale, the Southern right whale and Humpback whale were the main target species in South Sea whaling. The industry went on to become a profitable national enterprise and a source of skilled mariners for the Royal Navy in times of war.