AMSTERDAM – Construction has begun on a large superyacht hub in the Port of Amsterdam. The “Dutch Superyacht Tech Campus” will be the largest superyacht facility in the Netherlands when it is due to open in 2026.
The project is the brainchild of Wim Beelen, a businessman who made his fortune in the salvaging industry. In August 2021, his Larendael investment vehicle acquired 53 acres of land and private water in the Port of Amsterdam “to develop something unique.”
It said the location – a rundown port area – would be turned into a ‘Superyacht Campus’ boasting half a dozen covered docks for superyachts of up to 200m (656ft) in length. Also, there will be a lift for yachts up to 80m (263ft). In all, the site is to offer deep-water space for 40 superyachts.
“Currently, huge sheet pile walls are being installed … near the location where the campus is rising so quays can be built,” Wim Beelen said in mid-March 2023. “Hopefully, we will be able to receive the first yachts soon.”
Lured by the Dutch superyacht sector’s health, size and quality, Beelen has unfolded an ambitious vision for his Dutch Superyacht Tech Campus. He sees the Dutch sector building ever larger. The largest to date is the 127m Koru that Oceanco expects to deliver this year to Amazon owner Jeff Bezos.
Of the superyacht hub he is building, Beelen says, “In the near future, the huge maritime complex should be ready and accommodate all possible parties involved in the yacht building industry. Yachts up to 200 meters can be designed and built there. Refits and maintenance operations will also be carried out there.”
The complex is strategically located on a deep-water canal linking the Port of Amsterdam to the North Sea, 18.6 mi (30 km) away.
“The Dutch Superyacht Tech Campus,” says Beelen, “provides employment and training places for a lot of people. The demand for yacht building has risen considerably in recent years. The Netherlands is among the world’s top yacht builders. The arrival of the Dutch Superyacht Tech Campus can further strengthen this position and grow employment in this sector.”
Beelen’s timing looks right. There are a dozen shipyards in the Netherlands that make highly customized superyachts. But as these get longer, most toil in increasingly cramped facilities.
In recent years, several have opened build and refit halls in the Port of Amsterdam. At least six nudge their vessels from inland sites to the open sea – a tight squeeze on narrow canals and under highway bridges with often inches to spare.
Beelen is a disrupter who exploits waterfront development opportunities. In 2021, after buying a chunk of the Port of Amsterdam, the latter sued him, saying his development plan violated port rules. However, in June 2022, an appeals court vacated that finding. It said the port illegally claimed rights to waters it does not own.
Beelen expects his superyacht facility to be operational in 2026. It will be available to all comers who want to build, maintain or refit a superyacht of any length. It will also be a campus offering training facilities.