Hollandse Walvisfluit (Dutch Whale Flute Ship)

The Dutch Whale Flute Ship is a fine example of a flute ship, with round fore and stern, large cargo capacity and shallow draught.
The deck was kept as small as possible because taxes were levied on its surface area.
Dutch whaling began to develop in the early 17th century, after Willem Barentz and Cornelis de Rijp, exploring the north-east passage to Asia, found large numbers of whales on their way in the Arctic Ocean.
At first there were quite a number of problems with the English, because they thought they had the exclusive fishing rights in the Arctic Ocean. For that reason the “Noordse-Groenlandse Compagnie” (Nordic Greenland Company) was founded by the shipowners and whalers in 1614 with the support of the State. Whale oil smokehouses were built by this company on Spitsbergen and on Jan Mayen island. Later these smokehouses were not necessary anymore, because the whales were driven out to sea further and further. This heralded the end of the “Noordse Compagnie” and was subsequently discontinued in 1642.