|A Dream Becomes Real |
|Lenny Vries was born about 50 years ago and grew up in the jungles of Surinam. He has been
fascinated with the Middle Ages since early childhood.
About 30 years ago, he moved to the Netherlands and began earnestly pursuing his interest in the
Middle Ages. By the 1980s, with the help of his family, Lenny had collected enough artifacts and
material on the Middle Ages to set up his first traveling museum exhibition. Lenny has since
exhibited this collection in the Netherlands, France, Austria, Belgium and Germany. His most recent
project is the Middle Ages Torture Museum located in Freiburg, Germany.
Lenny had only planned to stay in Freiburg for a year, but there he met his life companion and
together they developed the idea of a Middle Ages Museum Ship. Meanwhile, the Torture Museum has
found a permanent home in Freiburg and attracts a large number of curious visitors each year.
In 2003, Lenny and his companion purchased the inland ship Andisa. Now it was up to Lenny to realize
his dream. The town of Zaandam, in the Netherlands supported Lenny and his dream by offering him
space in the Brouwer dockyard to moor his ship.
Lenny soon realized that he could not complete the mammoth restoration the ship required alone, so
he asked his longtime friend, Jan Westerhuis, to give him a hand. Without Jan’s help, the
Vlotburg Museum Ship would likely still be under construction. Jan brought his many years of
experience as a carpenter and shipbuilder to the project and the work was quickly and
professionally set in motion. Jan’s dedication to the project and his willingness to work
long hours in all kinds of adverse weather were an essential part of fulfilling Lenny’s dream
of the Vlatburg Museum Ship.
Of course there are many others, here unnamed but including Lenny’s sons, who helped with this
project and contributed to the dream. We are please to present to you the Vlatburg Museum Ship,
opening in May 2006.