Stimon: 'Solving the maritime puzzle is great'

Stimon

The Netherlands Maritime Research Foundation (Stimon) stands up for the interests of wreck divers and acts as a discussion partner between the government and wreck divers. 'As a foundation, we support the inventory and localization of wrecks. Solving that maritime puzzle is great', says Hans van der Weide as secretary of the foundation.

Hans shares his passion with chairman Bjorn Sloos and treasurer Feiko Riemersma, among others. 'It's nice to share that passion with a large group', says Bjorn. In this way, the Foundation not only stands up for the interests, but also ensures connections between wreck divers. 'During the Duikvaker fair, for example, we tell more about the various ships and locations for wreck divers.' In total there are 12 different groups of divers with dive ships.

'We jump overboard and never know what we'll encounter'

Beautiful mini holidays

Stimon is there for both the recreational and the inquiring wreck diver. 'It's about the adventure: we jump overboard and never know what we'll encounter. They are actually nice mini holidays in our own country', says Hans. According to him, you don't have to go to Egypt to dive in a beautiful area. 'You discover life on a wreck. It is like an island in the sea with sponges, lobsters and crabs. You see a lot of life and you can discover the maritime history.'

Many wreck divers see it as a hobby to find out the maritime history of a wreck. 'Amateurs are the ears and eyes in that area,' says Feiko. They often put a lot of time and energy into solving these puzzles. “You will then learn more about the shipmen's mission. It is wonderful to then tell that to relatives. That's what we like," says Bjorn.

Restrictions

However, it is not always possible to trace the history of a wreck. 'Divers sometimes have to take objects for examinations, but the law makes this punishable,' explains treasurer Feiko. In 1983 the first restrictions for divers arose. 'The foundation was established with the arrival of that law', says Bjorn.

In 2016, the Heritage Act was amended in such a way that divers are no longer allowed to do anything. 'If you pick up something in 10 centimeters of water, you are punishable. While you can work anywhere with a metal detector on land.' Stimon would like to change this, which is why in recent years it has increasingly formed a unity towards the outside world. 'Contact with the government has improved. Every quarter we meet with the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands.'

Contact with the government

The foundation is now discussing the possibilities of an order in council on the Heritage Act. 'In this way we can also obtain permission to prevent objects from wrecks from being washed away in the North Sea.' Divers are then allowed to take these objects with them and explore them. 'That is not only to the advantage of divers, but also important for charting the Dutch underwater history.'

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