Rederij Lampedusa was founded in 2015 by artist Teun Castelein. Time for a quick chat, to learn more about these boat tours.
How did you start this shipping company?
Teun: «Well, it actually started off when I looked at the list of participants for Sail 2015 (a large nautical event in Amsterdam) and saw that there were no refugee boats sailing along. While the ‘refugee crisis’ was at it’s peak in that year. I contacted Amsterdam’s mayor at the time Van der Laan and asked if I could bring a refugee boat to Amsterdam. That’s how it all started, but the project soon took a turn.»
«To put it briefly, we kind of realized that the refugee crisis was omnipresent in de media. I talked to many ‘newcomers’ and they made me see that just having the boat shown at Sail, wouldn’t do much for them. So we decided to do something else. That’s when the idea for this shipping company came to live.»
What happened after the idea came to live?
«Because it’s very hard to get a permit in Amsterdam, it took a while to get started. We also had to wait for our captains to get their boat license. Some of them had to take swimming lessons beforehand too. We came from far, literally and figuratively. Now we are finally up and running.»
What can people expect when they get on board?
«Our unofficial slogan is ‘Let’s discover Amsterdam together’. Everybody is welcome to come and share their stories. The tours are about 1,5 hour long and takes you from the Amstel river to some of the canals in de city center and back again. Boarding time is at 12.00 pm every Sunday (unless it’s extremely windy). You’re allowed to bring your own snacks and drinks, just make sure you don’t litter. It’s all about enjoying this beautiful city together.»
Artwork: Lizer van Hattem