Heritage

The Balk family business opened its doors in 1798, building wooden vessels on a small slipway in Elburg. Seven generations later, the company – now helmed by Daan Balk – has evolved into a leading yard for refits and rebuilt of luxury superyachts.

After many successful years in Elburg, the refit shipyard eventually outgrew its location and moved to its current premises on Urk. To ensure the unique skills involved in building wooden vessels were not lost, we maintained the old premises of the yard in Elburg as a museum. The knowledge is being preserved as the Elburg location is still used to build cutters as well showcase past techniques.

Over the past few decades, Balk Shipyard has focused primarily on refitting yachts. With numerous extraordinary refits and rebuilds under its belt, the yard has proven its expertise time and again.

‘We are proud to say that we are a real refit and rebuild specialist in the superyacht industry’

In addition to specialising in refits and rebuilds, Balk Shipyard also builds new superyachts. An example is the sailing yacht Mikhail S. Vorontsov, which was awarded the prestigious World Superyacht Award in 2014. We strive to complete each and every commission to the highest standards and fulfil our owners’ wishes regarding their yachts.

Sijbrand Balk

Balk Shipyard sees light in 1798 when Sijbrand Balk buys the existing yard in the harbour of Elburg, where the Balk family has been employed from its start in 1787. Sybrand (1774 – 1841) pays the sum of 1.220,- Dutch Guilders, quite some money in those days. Sybrand Balk builds a wooden fishing smack for the price of 812 guilders in that same year and another smack leaves the slipway in 1803.

1774 - 1841

Hartger Rensen Balk

In February 1838 Sijbrand sells the yard to his nephew Hartger Rensen Balk, who later passes it on to his oldest son Hendrik.

1798 - 1883

Hendrik Roelof Balk

Wooden vessels are still being made in the port of Elburg. In 1880 Hendrik passes Balk Shipyard on to his son Hartger Balk.

1825 – 1891

Hartger Balk

The recession of the late 1800’s takes its toll and Hartger is forced to sell the yard. Another shipyard buys up the premises and sells it back to younger brother Cornelis Balk.

1853 - 1923

Cornelis Balk

It all starts to change for the medieval seaport of Elburg as the 32km Afsluitdijk (IJsselmeer Dam) is put in place in 1932, transferring the Zuiderzee into a lake. The construction protects the Netherlands from flooding. But it also has a disastrous impact on all marine industry in the northern part of Holland. This and the 1950’s land reclamation changed the little port of Elburg completely.

1863 - 1933

Daan Balk

Daan Balk, who becomes the owner of the yard  in 1937, is an innovator and starts producing barges and small yachts in steel for private customers and steel constructions for other yards. Due to technical innovations introduced by Daan, the yard prospers, the horse is replaced by a winch and the sledge slipway by a trolley slipway.

1904 - 1986

Bart Balk

Daan’s son Bart Balk changes the activities from building vessels to refit and starts modernizing the yard as well. Bart Balk’s son, Daan Balk, also works in the yard, but left the yard to be an engineer on several vessels.

1939 - 1998

Daan balk

In 1998 Daan Balk took over the company after his father Bart Balk passed away. In 2002, the Queen of the Netherlands awards Balk Shipyard with the exclusive quality mark ‘By Appointment to the Court of the Netherlands’. On top of that, Balk is presented with a unique opportunity to build a ship in honour of Queen Beatrix’s Silver Jubilee. The company outgrew its premises in Elburg and Daan made the decision to move to the harbor town of Urk in 2004. The new premises are bought from the Metz family. After three years of preparations and construction, the new shipyard opens in June 2007.

1968