Letter of Support


CAPE TOWN – 12 October 2019 – In August, the AIMURE applied for a permit for an additional survey and a full excavation of the shipwreck of ‘Haarlem’.

Although some issues regarding a full excavation still have to be resolved, in a letter of 3 October 2019 the Maritime and Underwater Cultural Heritage unit (MUCH) of the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) indicated their support for the proposed project:

“For these reasons, the MUCH unit at SAHRA would like to indicate our support for the proposed project and encourage  the applicant to pursue further research and the sourcing of funds to make it a reality.”



CAPE TOWN – 10 October 2019 –  To date, all research related to the ‘Haarlem Project’ has been sponsored or privately funded. 

Only a few days ago, a new sponsor indicated its willingness to support the project by undertaking the aerial and soil resistivity surveys that are still required, free of charge. 

This company, Botswana based Spectral Geophysics, thus follows in the footsteps of others that have already donated expertise, manpower, equipment and funding. 

These include: Broadband Geophysical, Guerrini Marine Construction, WSP Coastal Engineers, Shango Solutions, Subtech, Underwater Surveys, iThemba Labs and the School of Geosciences, University of the Witwatersrand.



CAPE TOWN – 5 September 2019 – The mayor of the Dutch City of Haarlem sent Bruno Werz of the AIMURE a letter regarding the ‘Haarlem Project’. In this letter, the mayor Drs. J. Wienen congratulates the AIMURE on the recent project achievements. 

Mayor Wienen also indicates that the project could shed new light on the history of the City of Haarlem and that the project delivers proof that the shipwreck survivors were at the base of the origin of the City of Cape Town.  

The people of Haarlem are, due to the name ‘Haarlem’ of the wrecked ship, very curious to hear about the further results of the ‘Haarlem Project’.

Bruno - Algemeen Dagblad


CAPE TOWN – 22 August 2019 – Following last week’s announcement that it is for 95 percent certain that the location where the wreck of the VOC ship ‘Haarlem’ foundered has been located, the media responded in an overwhelming way. A flurry of articles appeared in both national and international newspapers, magazines and web sites. In the Netherlands, national newspapers ‘Algemeen Dagblad’ and ‘De Telegraaf’ published page size articles on the ‘Haarlem Project’ and were followed by provincial newspapers, bringing the readership in that country alone to a few million.

In the USA, Fox News reported on the project, whereas Telesur broadcasted all over  South America. Other radio and television stations in South Africa, Africa, the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe, even as far as China and Indonesia, featured the ‘Haarlem Project’. For a sample, please see the heading ‘Publicity’ that contains a number of links.

HOORN - VOC-replica de Halve Maen vaart onder grote belangstelling de haven van Hoorn binnen. ANP REMKO DE WAAL


CAPE TOWN – 16 August 2019 – During a press conference on Friday the 16th of August, maritime archaeologist and historian Dr Bruno Werz and a panel of other experts  presented an overview of recent developments in the search for the shipwreck of ‘Haarlem’. This has resulted in the location of a site that, based on the currently available evidence, in all likelihood contains the wreck of this ship. The site, recorded as Site F, is situated just offshore, about 2 m underwater and at a depth of about 3 to 4 m below the sea bed, close to the Dolphin Beach Hotel in Table View, Cape Town. See the map below.

“No shipping disaster world-wide had ever suchan impact on the history of an entire nation”

Different types of information obtained from archival documents, cartographic research, geological information and geophysical led to this conclusion. Based on the combined results of these different research approaches, there is a chance of 95 % that the location of the wreck of ‘Haarlem’ has been found. The ultimate proof will be the discovery of 19 iron cannon and 4 iron anchors, as it has been recorded that these items were left behind when the wreck was abandoned. Only future excavation can tell.

‘Haarlem Project’

On 25 March 1647 the Dutch East India Company (VOC) ship ‘Nieuw Haarlem’ or ‘Haarlem’ wrecked in Table Bay, South Africa. The events that followed had far-reaching consequences for the history of this country. Of the people on board, 58 were repatriated by accompanying ships soon after the incident, but 62 men were left behind to try and salvage as much as was possible. They found refuge in a makeshift camp where they lived for about one year. During their stay, the men from ‘Haarlem’ came into contact with indigenous people. 

Upon returning to the Dutch Republic, they reported favourably of their experiences. As a result, VOC management decided to establish a stopover for their ships. This station, that became known as the ‘Tavern of the Seas’, later developed into the City of Cape Town. 

“The wrecking of ‘Haarlem’ can be regarded as the catalyst that created not only Cape Town, but also current multiracial and multicultural South African society”

Since 1989, a research project is underway to search for the shipwreck and survivor camp. The objective is to locate both sites and, once found, to excavate them according to the highest achievable standards. Permission for the project has been obtained from the relevant authorities. The project is entirely supported by sponsors and volunteers.  

For further information, please see http://www.aimure.org or contact Dr Bruno Werz at ceo@aimure.org