| From the Initial Idea to Completed Museum
|Once Lenny Vries had the idea of creating a Middle Ages Museum Ship, he built a small-scale model of
the ship he envisioned. This helped many better understand what Lenny had in mind. However, there
were still others who merely considered Lenny a “crazy artist.” Lenny was not deterred
and he began looking for a suitable ship to purchase.
After nearly two years passed, many believed that Lenny’s dream would never become more than
the small model he had built. But then, Lenny found what he had been seeking: the inland ship
Andisa, 50 meters long and 6.6 meters wide. Lenny now needed a dry dock where he could restore and
remodel the ship. It wasn’t easy to find a place that was reasonably priced and would be
available for an extended period of time (from the beginning it was clear that this project would
not be completed in a matter of months!). Through fortunate circumstances, Lenny found the Brouwer
dockyard. They not only offered him a reasonable price, they also believed in his project. As often
happened in Lenny’s life, luck came his way again when his good friend, Jan Westerhuis, became
interested in the Museum Ship project and offered to lend a hand.
But first, Lenny had to return to Germany. There, in the Black Forest, he purchased nearly 60 tons
of old oak timbers from various farmers, which he needed for the “rustic” look he
wanted the ship to have. Of course, transporting these timbers back to the Netherlands presented
another problem. Fortune smiled on Lenny again and a vegetable dealer offered to carry the wood, as
his truck would be empty on his return trip. Once the materials were in the Netherlands, Lenny and
Jan could get started.
In the beginning, the work went quickly and smoothly and progress was easy to see. The two men
thought they would be finished within a year. But once the major reconstruction was complete, Lenny
realized that attending to the finer details of the Museum Ship would take longer than he had
initially thought. In addition, bad weather set in which made the work even more difficult and
arduous. Protective tarps put up to shelter the men and allow work to continue were only destroyed
by the next storm. In the end, the Vlotburg Museum Ship took nearly three years to complete.
In 2005, Lenny realized another one of his dreams. He had always loved horses and felt that a horse
should be onboard the ship. It wasn’t easy to find a calm animal with good character. Through
more lucky circumstances, the horse Wodan had to be sold by his owner and it was “love at
first sight” for Lenny. Wodan fit in perfectly with the concept of the Middle Ages Museum