Finds from the #Rooswijk1740 shipwreck on display during the Ramsgate Open Days

The Rooswijk was a Dutch East India Company (VOC) ship lost nearly 300 years ago in 1740, on the Goodwin Sands. In 2017 and 2018 the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE), Historic England and MSDS Marine undertook a high-profile excavation on the Rooswijk protected wreck site. Over 2,000 artefacts were excavated, ranging from coins to cannon balls and including both cargo and personal items. Conservation and analysis are now nearing completion and later this year the finds will be undertaking their final journey to The Netherlands.

This weekend, the project team are holding a free open day in Ramsgate as part of the Festival of Archaeology, to allow the public the final opportunity to view them before they leave the UK.

Ramsgate Open Days

16 and 17 July 2022
10:30 – 16:30
Radford House (The Old Fire Station), Effingham Street, Ramsgate CT11 9AT

The event is a free, drop-in, event suitable for all ages, supported by project partners and with additional funding from Ramsgate Town Council. Similar open days were held in Ramsgate in 2017 and 2018 and visitors to those sessions will see a huge difference in the finds now that they have been professionally conserved.

Diver with findings from a wrecksite
Image: ©Michael Pitts
Diver with a piece of porcelain at the wrecksite of the Rooswijk

Martijn Manders, Maritime Archaeologist at RCE and the Project Leader on the #Rooswijk1740 project: ‘Wrecks such as the Rooswijk are part of the shared cultural maritime heritage across Europe and it’s important that cultural heritage agencies are able to work together to ensure that sites like this are protected, researched, understood and appreciated by all. This open day provides an opportunity for the public to view the finds before they return to the Netherlands’.

Angela Middleton, Lead Project Conservator at Historic England, said: ‘It has been a huge privilege and at times a challenge to work on these artefacts. Together with many different colleagues we have made some amazing discoveries and keep unravelling the story of the Rooswijk. On the open days we will show visitors how artefacts are transformed and brought to live through conservation and analysis.’

Alison James, MSDS Marine, said: ‘Access for the public to protected wreck sites such as the Rooswijk is something that is really important as they are a shared asset for everyone to enjoy, not just the archaeological community. Open days allow people to discover the site for themselves and we will hopefully help inspire the next generation of maritime archaeologists – it was a similar open day that inspired me to become an archaeologist over 30 years ago!”.


The Rooswijk was outward-bound for Batavia (modern-day Jakarta) with a large cargo of silver ingots and coinage on board when it sank in 1740. The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands, RCE, (on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture) and Historic England (on behalf of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) are responsible for the joint management of the Rooswijk. The #Rooswijk1740 project is funded and led by the RCE, in collaboration with project partner Historic England and UK-contractor MSDS Marine.

Visit the virtual wreck tour at:

See for more information about the #Rooswijk1740 project