HistoryThe story of Loodswezen dates back more than 400 years. Four centuries
steeped in historical moments and tradition. The year 1988 marked an important milestone, as in that year the organisation was privatised, which created the basic conditions to usher in a new era with Nederlands Loodswezen B.V. and registered pilots.
A short introduction on the history of Nederlands Loodswezen B.V. is set out below. If you want to know more, you can download the document: From state pilot to members of private pilot associations, backgrounds 1859-2000 - Loodswezen history.pdf (120 kb).
From state pilot to members of private pilot associations, backgrounds 1859-2000
In the first half of the 19th century, the pilotage of sea-going vessels in the Netherlands was handled by two categories of pilots: state pilots and pilots who were members of private pilot associations. These pilots had conflicting interests and competed with each other. In other words, they were subject to the laws of supply and demand. In actual practice however this led to an impossible situation.
In 1852, the State therefore appointed a state committee to design a new form of organisation for the pilots. The committee advised to establish one State pilot authority, to include the integrated state pilots and private pilots. After the implementation of the Pilots’ Act (Loodsenwet) of 1859 the Loodswezen resided under the Maritime Ministry and later the Ministry of Defence. This both had its advantages and disadvantages. On one side the Pilots had the benefits of Navy facilities, on the other side they were at the bottom of the Defence budget. Policy was characterized by economy and lack of understanding of the pilots’ work. The tension remained and on 25 August 1958 in Rotterdam led to the establishment of Vereniging 'De Nederlandse Loods' (VNL) (the Dutch Pilot Association), in which half of the pilots were organized. VNL became an important player in the future of the Pilotage authority and played an important part in its later independence.
On 26 August 1982 the Directorate-General for the Shipping industry and Maritime affairs (DGSM) issued a report on the 'position of the pilot'. One of the conclusions was that pilots actually didn't belong with DGSM and that privatisation would be a solution to the problems. The pilots united to form the Nederlandse Loodsencorporatie [NLC] (Dutch Pilots’ Corporation) and became shareholders of the supporting company Nederlands Loodswezen B.V. [NLBV] (Dutch Pilotage B.V.). The independent organisations were able to improve the service to benefit the ports en its clients.
In 1988, the Loodswezen had become independent as a non-civil servant organisation. The level of service rose from one day to the next. There was now always a pilot available and there were no longer waiting periods.