Using boats for transport in the canals of Amsterdam


Bright reports about an inner city shipping company that uses an actual ship in Amsterdam.

The electronic freighter of Mokum Mariteam, the magazine writes, “replaces five trucks, and is quieter and cleaner.” (The company’s estimate is more conservative: “a boat of 20 by 4.25 metres, [and a] nett volume […] of 85 cubic metres (four compact trucks)”.) The batteries can power the boat for an entire day.

The canals of Amsterdam were dug originally at least partly for transport, but that function seems to have fallen into disuse, until recently. Bright adds that German logistics company DHL (originally American) has been using a canal boat for delivering packages “for years”. (Since October 1997, adds.)

The text on the side of the City Supplier, ‘vracht door de gracht’, simply means ‘freight through the canal’. The word ‘Mokum’ in the company name refers to the Yiddish name for Amsterdam, Mokum (Alef), literally meaning ‘city A’.

(Photo: Mokum Mariteam)


  1. dersk says:

    My rabbi friend tells me that Mokum is more slang for ‘the place’ or ‘the city’

  2. Branko Collin says:

    True. And once enough people started calling Amsterdam Mokum, non-Yiddish speakers started using it also. And then in elementary school I was taught a folk song “Brand in Mokuk”, by which time presumably it had just become another word for Amsterdam.

    Wikipedia mentions that specific cities were named by adding a letter, A for Amsterdam.

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