Charities: the New Belgica

Looking for a specific charity in your own country with a visible and tangible result? Then the project of the New Belgica vzw might be something for you. In Boom, Belgium, we are working hard to create a seaworthy replica of the Belgica, the ship with which Adrien de Gerlache sailed to Antarctica. For this purpose, 500 long-term unemployed and low-skilled people will be deployed for five years. A great initiative!

New Belgica vzw

The project of the New Belgica vzw was started on the occasion of the international polar year 2007 – 2008 and is a realization of De Steenschuit vzw in Boom. We will be working hard for five years to build a seaworthy new Belgica, an exact replica of the sunken three-master with which Adrien de Gerlache left the Antwerp quays for Antarctica on August 16, 1897. It was not a pleasure trip, because the ship froze in the pack ice and many crew members lost their lives. Yet it was a very important expedition, because new animals, plants and straits were discovered. Plans of the original Belgica do not exist, but architects and naval architects made new plans based on photographs and drawings. This way, construction of the replica could begin.

And what about charity?

The ship is being built with the cooperation of 500 long-term unemployed and low-skilled people who will thus receive training and employment opportunities on the labor market. The project has a number of other interesting facets. Firstly, the project is based on solidarity. The employees are recruited from both the VDAB (Flanders) and the FOREM (Wallonia). That is a commendable initiative. Secondly, it is a very ecological project, because it is built with renewable raw materials and using green energy. It is also an interesting project from a tourist point of view. A lot of attention is paid to the typical historical heritage of the Rupel region, namely the brickworks and shipbuilding. During the construction of the ship, people can become acquainted with her history and her future mission. Which brings us to another interesting facet of the project: once the New Belgica is completed, it will travel around the world on a climate mission. Last but not least, the project also has a historical side. The New Belgica is being built in memory of Adrien de Gerlache’s voyage of discovery. He was the first to winter in Antarctica from 1897 to 1898. The ship will act as a Flemish Cultural Ambassador in domestic and foreign ports.

Interreg IVA 2 Mers

The project of the New Belgica vzw is under the protection of HRH Queen Paola and Flemish Prime Minister Kris Peeters. Called Interreg IVA 2 Mers, it is also part of a much larger project, in collaboration with the English Medway Queen Project and the French Association Tourville. The Medway Queen Project will recreate the Medway Queen and the Association Tourville will recreate the 18th century warship ,Jean Bart, in Gravelines, near Dunkirk. The New Belgica is being built at the New Belgica yard, Noeveren 26, 2850 Boom. It is also there that you can go and see her. Once the New Belgica is completed, she will be moored next to the MAS, more about which in: MAS: Museum aan de Stroom.

Dragon boat race by Rotary Club Antwerp-West

On Saturday, September 10, 2011, a dragon boat race was organized for the first time by Rotary Club Antwerp-West. 44 teams had to battle each other in the Kattendijkdok with a real Asian dragon boat. Not really obvious! Each participating team had to pay a registration fee. For neighborhood teams this was 100 euros, for companies the registration fee was a minimum of 1000 euros and a maximum of 15,000 euros. The proceeds from this fun campaign went to the New Belgica vzw. If this project means something to you and you would also like to sponsor it, you can donate to: BE-597450 2147 1526, stating New Belgica, Bic code: KREDBEBB. Donations from 40 euros are tax deductible.

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