Historic Dutch ship renovation a budget disaster



The SS Rotterdam, a beautiful 50-year-old steam ship is now fully renovated, but instead of costing the original EUR 25 million, it turned out to be a whopping EUR 175 million. The reasons for this major cockup include lack of expertise, lack of direction, language issues and an underestimation of the project’s complexity. In other words, the people on this project were apparently not competent enough to get it done properly, although I’m sure it looks great.

When I saw this item on television, some Dutch man ‘dared to say’, as the Dutch would put it, that they suck at large-scale projects. Why do we take them on if we can’t get them done right and within budget? Are the Dutch that bad, are the projects way too ambitious or is this just a run of bad luck? Language problems? I can’t even imagine that was an issue.

If you add the SS Rotterdam to the list of recent and ongoing disastrous large-scale projects, such as the high-speed train (not a single train ran on time the day they went high-speed, according to the telly), the North-South metro line in Amsterdam (budget is running into the EUR 2 billion), the cargo train route known as the Betuwe line (among the most costly and most controversial large–scale government projects ever built in the country), you wonder why the country likes to bang their heads against the wall like this.

Don’t we ask for help abroad? Are politicians making all these insane decisions? I’m trying to understand as I can’t seem to explain it away to friends, family and tourists.

(Link: volkskrant, Photo: Photo of SS Rotterdam by Hans Griep, some rights reserved)


  1. Darth Paul says:

    Nonsense. Self-deprecation is very Dutch, but not sucking at large projects. I’m guessing the problems stem from (pardon my pseudonationalism here) the project being scattered from Poland to NL…essentially, the whole Federal EU bureaucratic meddling turned this into such a money pit.

  2. […] 2009 the cost overrun was still limited to ‘merely’ 169 million euro, as 24 Oranges reported back […]

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