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The Baltic trade routes and growing Dutch influence: the Fluyt.

by Han
(Brittany, France)

A model of a Fluyt

A model of a Fluyt

About the same time the Hanseatic League weakened, an important shortcut for the route from the North- to the Baltic Sea, the Limfjord, silted up. Because the long way around Denmark led past Cape Skagen, infamous for it's tidal currents, the Cog became less useful.

Amsterdam, one of the important trade-centres of the insurgent Dutch provinces, forced itself into the Baltic trade with a new type of ship, the Fluyt: a shallow-draught, wide-bellied, narrow-decked and more seaworthy trader. For more information and pictures:

The profits made in the Baltic trade were invested in new ships, which eventually led to Dutch dominance at sea and the foundation of the United East-Indian Company (V.O.C.) in 1602.

The Fluyt was widely used by the V.O.C. for the far-eastern trade, but it was adapted for the long trips by doubling the hull, and expanding the sail-area. They were only lightly armed; it's wide belly and narrow decks made boarding almost impossible.

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