The Dutch shipbuilding industry is opening itself up to the world in a Discovery Channel series called “SuperYachts.” The documentary series – slated to be six episodes – will open the doors on what has traditionally been a guarded sector of this already private industry. Each episode features different builders and shipyards, and takes viewers through the entire process, according to Farouk Nefzi, the director of HISWA Multimedia BV, a Dutch shipbuilders and watersports trade association. HISWA worked in partnership with the shipyards and Discovery Channel to develop the series.
“Now we have opened up the superyacht industry,” Nefzi said. “We made sure that our superyacht industry opens up to the broader audience through a channel like Discovery Channel."
The series includes the likes of Hakvoort Shipyard in Monnickendam, Icon Yachts in Harlingen, and Vitters Shipyard in Zwartsluis, among others. It tracks the difficulties and unforeseen problems inherent in shipbuilding from the moment a prospective owner approaches the yard through the design and construction phases and ultimately to the yacht’s launch, Nefzi said. One episode tracks Vitters as they work to help an owner realise his yacht, though it turns out to be slightly different than originally conceived.
“They are taking the viewer with them in what they agreed upon and what finally resulted in a ship that is a slightly different ship than what they agreed upon in the beginning,” he said. “And that whole process of trying to build a unique product and what is needed for that, which is a beautiful story.”
The series focuses almost exclusively on the Netherlands, though the trailer references one episode taking place in Turkey. The focus on the Netherlands is largely a result of HISWA’s work and an attempt to find new ways to promote and advertise that region’s work, Nefzi said. “We’re not doing that traditionally through advertisements,” he said. “But really telling the story – what is so authentic about a Dutch supplier. So, we’re trying to give them a view in the kitchen and take them with us on that journey of when a customer comes and he wants a certain product and showing them exactly what we’re making.”
Almost all of the episodes are complete, Nefzi said. They are awaiting word from Discovery Channel on when the series will air and what the broadcast schedule will be in various regions.
“I think this is a huge step forward for the industry,” he said. “Because this industry is not only about luxury and the lifestyle of a certain elite. But what we’re trying to show is that this industry is about working to maintain – especially in Holland – innovation, craftsmanship, family entrepreneurs, family-owned companies that are trying to maintain the production industry here in Holland. We have a huge industry – knowledge institutes, suppliers, a whole chain of companies working in this industry. We wanted to show that element too – to bring some awareness to everybody that there is another side to this industry.”