The Flying Dutchman

From Academic Kids

According to folklore, the Flying Dutchman is a ghost ship that can never go home, but must wander the ocean forever. The Flying Dutchman is usually spotted from afar, sometimes glowing with ghostly light. If she is hailed by another ship, her crew will often try to send messages to land, to people long since dead.



Versions of the story are legion. According to some, the story is originally Dutch, while others claim it is based on the English play The Flying Dutchman (1826) by Edward Fitzball and the novel The Phantom Ship (1837) by Frederick Marryat, later adapted into the Dutch story Het Vliegend Schip (The Flying Ship) by the Dutch clergyman A.H.C. Römer. Other versions include the opera by Richard Wagner (1841) and The Flying Dutchman on Tappan Sea by Washington Irving (1855).

According to some sources, the 17th century Dutch captain Bernard Fokke, who was renowned for the uncanny speed of his trips from Holland to Java, and was suspected of being in league with the devil because of it, is the model for the captain of the ghost ship. According to some sources, the captain is called Falkenburg in the Dutch versions of the story. He is called Vanderdecken (meaning on deck) in Marryat's version and Ramhout van Dam in Irving's version. Sources disagree on whether "Flying Dutchman" was the name of the ship, or a nickname for her captain.

According to most versions, the captain swore that he would not retreat in the face of a storm, but would continue his attempt to round the Cape of Good Hope even if it took until Judgment Day. According to other versions, some horrible crime took place on board, or the crew was infected with the plague and not allowed to sail into any port for this reason. Since then, the ship and its crew were doomed to sail forever, never putting in to shore. According to some versions, this happened in 1641, others give the date 1680 or 1729.

Many have noted the resemblance of the Flying Dutchman legend to the Christian folk tale of the Wandering Jew.

Details changed

In Fitzball's play, the captain is allowed to go to shore once every hundred years, in order to seek a woman to share his fate. In Wagner's opera, it is once every seven years.

Cultural allusions


The Flying Dutchman is also the name of a ghost character (arguably inspired by the legend) on the animated TV-series, SpongeBob SquarePants.

The Flying Dutchman was a ride once in operation at Six Flags Over Georgia. The ride was based on the legendary ship

For other uses, see The Flying Dutchman (disambiguation).

External links

de:Der fliegende Holländer nl:Vliegende Hollander sl:Večni mornar


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