Jantje performing ferrying duties on the River Vechte and Lake Vechte – note the handy way Jantje’s tiller is lowered when passing under a low bridge
Jantje has been back to work raising money by helping to carry people to and from a local zoo after a freak summer storm raged through the Duchy of Bentheim causing severe damage and one death.
Regular correspondent Hans-Christian Rieck tells the story of how the tjalk got involved:
‘The zoo near Nordhorn was heavily hit, resulting damages valued at about €500.000. The Graf Ship Association, together with the local tourist board and the donors who enabled us to purchase Jantje, decided to organise a relief service for the zoo’s animals and staff.
‘Within a week we turned Jantje into a temporary passenger ship and even managed to obtain all the legal documents for this purpose from the district administration – this was necessary as the stretch of the River Vechte that Jantje would need to follow to reach the zoo is normally prohibited for motor vessels.
‘So on Sunday the 15th of August a freight ship cruised the River Vechte upstream of Nordhorn for the first time since 1839.
‘At the end of the day, we collected about €2000 for the zoo – though I think we would have made more money if we had charged all the people who photographed Jantje from the banks of the river! Just €1 for each photo would have made the zoo rich!
‘Nevertheless it was a fine day and the popularity of Jantje increased further, with many people asking us to use her to provide a permanent ferry between the town and zoo. But, as the Graf Ship Association is a registered charity, it’s not possible.
‘By the way, plans to get her rig in working order are well on the way; we are in contact with our local sailing club to get a crew. Next year we will begin trials on Lake Vechte and maybe in 2012 we’ll have her sailing on Jantje’s traditional water, the Ijsselmeer.
Thanks Hans-Christian! I trust your leg is improving after your break some weeks ago.