OPENING HOURS 2023
DISCOVER A REAL SHIP!
Welcome aboard this Dutch navy ship from the 1950s. EXPLORE over 20 ROOMS across 7 DECKS! * Step into the commander’s cabin * cabins of the (sub) officers * sleeping quarters * operations room * SIGN YOUR NAME in the radio cabin * descend to one of the large engine rooms and START THE ENGINES * stand at the helm on the bridge. * SEE how sea mines were cleared and how as a torpedo support vessel the Mercuur assistet the submarines. * BE AMAZED by the huge collection of miniature models of naval ships from around the world!
VISITORS’ S REACTION (thanks!)
The ship is well worth a visit. The expectation that you will have seen everything within half an hour did not come true. We walked around for two hours. Also very nice for children. You can look almost anywhere.
MERCUUR IN 1 MINUTE
- ADULT ___________ € 7,=
- 0-12 YEARS OLD: € 3,=
- You can pay in cash or by card on board.
- We recommend that you take your time to enjoy your visit! It is advisable to plan a visiting time of at least 1 hour for your visit.
The Mercuur was built to the standards of a naval ship in the 1950s. That means steep stairs, low ceilings and thresholds. Unfortunately, the ship is not accessible for wheelchair users.
De Mercuur is located in the centre of Vlissingen, at the Dok van Perry. It is about a 250 meter walk from the Walstraat shopping street and a 25 minute walk from the railway station.
You can park your car 500 meters from the Mercuur museum ship in the Koningsweg car park (the first 3 hours are free, but buy a ticket! > Route in Google Maps) or – a little further on – in the Scheldeplein car park. Next to the Dok van Perry there is also the small Steenen Beer car park.
WHAT IS MUSEUMSHIP MERCUUR?
Museumship Mercuur is a former Dutch ocean minesweeper. The ship came as Hr.Ms. Onverschrokken (“Undaunted”) in 1954 from the US to the Netherlands. She was later converted into a torpedo support vessel and renamed Hr.Ms. Mercuur. This oldest wooden minesweeper of the Royal Netherlands Navy is now a living history museum ship in Vlissingen and is maintained and restored by volunteers from the Vlissingen Maritime Heritage Foundation.
The Mercuur was built in the United States in 1952-1954 and then given on loan to the Netherlands Navy as MSO 483 (MSO = Mine Sweeper Ocean). Together with 5 other sister ships she was part of the Mutual Defence Assistance Programme. Through this programme the United States helped European countries to rebuild their armed forces after the Second World War.
Made of wood!
You don’t immediately see it in a photo, but the Mercuur is built of wood. Most materials on board are made of wood, aluminum or designated non-magnetic materials. In those days minesweepers were built in this way to avoid danger when clearing magnetic mines. These mines lurk on the seabed for a change in the geomagnetic field caused by a passing metal ship and then explode. This was not always the case though, as some mines were programmed in such a way that they would let the first ships pass by, to explode near the third or tenth ship. This prevented the enemy from easily discovering and clearing these mine fields.
At the time of the commissioning, the ship was named Hr.Ms. Onverschrokken and given the name signal M886. Along with her five sister ships of the Onversaagd-class, she has never been active as a minesweeper though. Most of the time these ships were kept in conservation at the naval base of Den Helder. They were given a new purpose in 1965: as a headquarters and support ship for minesweeping flotillas, as a hydrographic survey vessel or – as in the case of the Mercuur – as a torpedo of submarine support ship.
New life as a support ship Mercuur
The ship was converted into a torpedo or submarine support ship in 1972. For that purpose a large crane was installed on board in order to recover used exercise torpedoes out of the water. The ship supported Dutch submarines and often joined them in English and Norwegian waters. When a submarine had launched exercise torpedoes, these floated to the surface at the end of their run. It was the task of the Mercuur to recover these and prepare for reuse. Following the conversion to torpedo support ship, she was also given a new name: Hr.Ms. Mercuur. That was no coincidence: It is by Dutch naval tradition that every torpedo supportship bears this name. The name signal also changed from M886 to A856. The M stood for Minesweeper, the A for Auxiliary.
Museum ship in Vlissingen
The Mercuur came to Vlissingen in August 2017. After a major overhaul – during which it was made completely asbestos-free on behalf of the Dutch Navy Authorities – it was officially transferred to our foundation by the Dutch navy on behalf of the American Government. Since then, an enormous amount of work has been done to refurbish the ship and to again convert it into a museum ship. We are proud of all our sponsors, donors and volunteers who give our old lady a new future.
- Name: Hr.Ms. Onverschrokken (1954-1972), Hr.Ms. Mercuur (1972-1987)
- Builder: Peterson Builders, Inc., Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, United States
- Yard number: MSO 483
- Laid down: 19 February 1952
- Launched: 17 January 1953
- Commissioned: 22 July 1954
- Decommissioned: 12 February 1987
- Identification: M886 (1954-1965), A856 (1965-1987)
- General characteristics
- Type: Minesweeper (1954-1965)
- Torpedo support ship (1972-1987)
- Displacement: 790 ton
- Length: 53 m (173 ft 11 in)
- Beam: 10.7 m (35 ft 1 in)
- Draught: 3.2 m (10 ft 6 in)
- Propulsion: 1600 hp
- Speed: 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)
- Complement: 65
- Armament: 1x 40 mm machine gun