From steamboat to hydrogen boat: Flandria turns 100 years old
The Antwerp shipping company Flandria is celebrating its hundredth anniversary. In the presence of Prime Minister Jan Jambon, the anniversary was celebrated Thursday at the Antwerp Maritime Academy (Hogere Zeevaartschool).
Flandria, founded by the Van Marcke family in 1922, has a legendary status far beyond Antwerp. Millions of tourists have admired the port and the city center from the old ships. And still tours depart near the MAS, although the fleet today has become a lot smaller compared to the glory years.
"In 2003 Flandria was sold to the Leysen family, still later to the maritime Brabo group," explains heir Jan Van Marcke. "Also Studio 100 was once the owner. Brabo sold many boats from Flandria, all over Belgium."
The history of Flandria is also something that former captain Marcel Annemans holds dear. "Hopefully Flandria will revive again," Annemans says. "It's disappointing that, partly due to political factors, a beautiful monument like Flandria was once lost."
The boats that used to run on steam will have to switch to hydrogen in the future. That should bring back the glory days of Flandria. Heir Jan Van Marcke, together with Rudi Hendrickx of the NRGY group, is making concrete plans for this. The dream is to build a large Flandria yacht on hydrogen, whether or not in cooperation with the current owner.
© BELGA PHOTO KRISTOF VAN ACCOM - Touristic Flandria boat passing the 'Badboot' during a press conference on the opening of 'Badboot', a swimming pool attached to a boat on the Scheldt (Schelde - Escaut) river, Tuesday 14 August 2012 in Antwerp.