Discovery: The Netherlands, a tailor-made trawler's paradise

The Dutch trawlers, particularly robust, can sail for more than 50 years! © Linssen Yachts

The figures speak for themselves: 500 years of shipbuilding tradition and more than 300 shipyards - France has half as many. The Netherlands is therefore well run by marine specialists. The local specialty? Trawlers. Built in steel, aluminum or polyester, there is something for every program - and for every budget. Guided tour of 7 of these historical manufacturers.

A maritime territory par excellence - and even partly gained from the sea, the Netherlands benefits from a large number of water bodies and a particularly dense network of canals. Most of the sites, even on land, are ultimately on the water's edge... No huge production sites here: most of the sites are family businesses run for two, three (or more!) generations. Structures specialized in a type of product and material that do not seek strong growth at any price. Durability, quality, and finishes make sense. Some boats come back to the yard... 100 years after leaving for a complete refit! However, the models we have discovered are not outdated: while the lines are certainly classic, the equipment offered has nothing to envy those of super yachts - wifi installation, air conditioning, underfloor heating, 220V etc.

While the smaller units proposed (less than 35/40 feet) are more suitable for river use, the larger trawlers are able to navigate in the open sea in the harshest conditions, or even to cross an ocean without refuelling. Dutch manufacturers seem to favour range (and fuel economy) over speed - exceeding 20 knots is not on the agenda. The engines are still on the rise to attract a younger audience. Most of the clients of these shipyards are German and English, but the French seem to be increasingly interested in "trawler made in Holland".

Jachtbouw De Alm - Werkendam

The Alm shipyard specialises in steel units from 10 to 30 metres long, whose design is directly inspired by that of trawlers, just like the central wheelhouse. The latest model is the Alm Del Fino Grand Voyager, available in 62 or 74 feet. With its robust 280 HP John Deere engine, it provides a cruising speed of 8 knots. Another model, the Alm Schippers, is specially designed to operate on narrower channels, including the French ones. Its size is similar to that of a barge with a length of 21.5 metres but only 5 metres wide and an air draught limited to 3.45 metres. Production: 5 to 6 boats per year.

Van de Hoven - Waspik

The three flagship models in the range are the 1500 Mk2, 1700Mk2 and 1850. Modern design and steel hull - unsuspected under the specific treatment and painting, operations that require three weeks of work - these trawlers are deliberately motorized with moderation: 225, 2 x 225 and 2 x 300 hp respectively for cruising speeds ranging from 8 to 11 knots. The new 2100 maintains the same spirit over the long haul with its two 300 hp and 12 knots of speed. The site is studying a more modern 18 m aluminium trawler with a discreet fly bridge. The hull and the two 553 hp engines are designed to exceed 20 knots. Production: 3 boats per year.

Elling - Aalst

Elling is undoubtedly the most famous of the projects presented here: its export position is enviable. The boats are built in polyester and in small series. The range includes three models: the E3, the E4 (400 units delivered) and the E6. All of them are partially customizable by buyers. Elling trawlers stand out from their competitors by their higher speed - 15 to 20 knots - and above all by the care taken to ensure passive safety: all boats are self-righting, like our all-weather canoes, and are supported by a 70 HP auxiliary engine that is completely autonomous in the event of a main engine failure. The hulls are also equipped with an aramid fibre shield under the waterline to prevent any water from being seen in the event of contact with the rocks.

Linssen - Maasbracht

This site offers a very complete range of trawlers designed for inland waters and canals, with the exception of the Grand Sturdy 500 AC, which is designed for offshore use. The 11 models range from 30 to 50 feet and are made of steel. Most are available in two versions, Sedan or Hard Top. The 400 and 500 offer a mix thanks to a large removable cover that opens or protects the cockpit depending on the external conditions.

From Boarnstream - Jirnsum

Born in 1964, this manufacturer certainly offers the widest range with more than 40 steel models from 31 to 72 feet divided into five distinct ranges - Traveller, Elegance, Retro Line, Classic Line and Marex. All models offer refined and comfortable layouts as comfortable as on land. The rather classic inspiration of these trawlers does not prevent innovation, as does the Elegance 1280 Sedan, equipped with a rear axle locking system that allows XXL opening when the weather is right.

Sturiër Yachts - Stavoren

This manufacturer specializes in offshore trawlers. The hulls available in steel or aluminium are 15 to 24 metres long. Most models are semi-planing boats capable of sailing at 20 knots or more. Innovative stabilisers have been studied to limit rolling in rough seas. The usual program of the DME and Dutchman is indeed sailing in the North Sea. The wheelhouse is placed in the centre, as is the owner's cabin, to provide optimal comfort. These models are usually popular with former sailboat owners.

North Line and Kuster Yachts - Harlingen

Two brands united under the same roof. North Line offers 34 to 60 foot polyester units tailored for sea and extreme travel with long keels and relatively powerful engines. The North Line Wheelhouse 42 easily reaches 30 knots with its two 480 hp engines. Many hulls are used for servitude boats - a real guarantee of robustness. Alongside the North Lines, the Kusters are wiser: their steel hulls and traditional shapes are more suited to canals and inland waters.