Dynamite ship Reinier/Elisabeth

The wreck of the dynamo ship in the Rijn near Spijk

The wreck of the dynamo ship in the Rijn near Spijk


Unique shipwreck near Spijk can be seen again at low tide

Spijk - KABOOM! With a huge bang the Elisabeth flies apart. The ship, also known as dynamite ship Reimer, is ready for departure and is loaded with dynamite. The explosion not only dismembers the Elisabeth. The blast also destroys other ships. 13 people are killed in the catastrophic accident. What remains is a unique shipwreck in the floodplains of the Rhine.

What came before

It is January 1895 when two ships carrying dynamite from Cologne are on their way to the Netherlands. The goods consist of dynamite. The final destination is Port Elisabeth, South Africa, where the dynamite is used in the gold mines.

It is winter and the water in the Rhine is high. Also there is some ice. Customs in the Netherlands considers the cargo too dangerous to continue sailing and orders the dynamite to be divided among several ships. As the weather continues to deteriorate, the cargo is temporarily stored on the German side of the Rhine. Here, on the border, one half of the river belongs to the Netherlands (Spijk) and the other half to Germany (Griethausen).

100,000 kilos of dynamite spread over 1100 boxes. Enough for an explosion that can be observed as far as the provinces Limburg in the South and Friesland in the north

A month later, on March 20, the weather has improved and the journey can be continued. The cargo will be spread over several ships. Loading is manual work. First, De Gesina, the Vier Gebroeders and the Grete are loaded. At the end of the afternoon, the Elisabeth is loaded. And then things go horribly wrong. The dynamite explodes. Was it a collision between the workers? Was it the roughness of the loaders? Or was it the coal stove aboard the ship? We will never know. What we do know is that 13 people died in the disaster, including the skipper of the Elisabeth and five workers. The damage is also enormous. Several ships sink and the windows as far as Spijk on the other side of the Rhine are destroyed.

1100 boxes with 100,000 kilos of dynamite in total

How powerful the explosion was is shown by the fact that the pressure wave was observed as far as Friesland in the north and Limburg in the far south of the Netherlands.

When is the wreck visible?

The dynamite ship is located in a floodplain opposite the village of Spijk. The wreck is only visible at extremely low tide. So you can only see it during very dry summers when the water level of the Rhine is low. The first time the ship surfaced was in 1967. But the remains of the boat also surfaced in 1991, 2005, 2015, 2018 and 2022.

Dynamite ship Reinier/Elisabeth photo gallery

What do visitors say about Dynamite ship Reinier/Elisabeth?

Spijk trips in the area

    Adress and visitor information

    Dynamite ship Reinier/Elisabeth

    Address: Rheinstrasse
    Postal code and City: Spijk
    Province/Region: Gelderland , Duitsland

    Visit: An average visits takes approx. 0,5 hours.
    The wreck of the dynamite ship Elisabeth is actually in Germany, on a beach in the floodplain near the village of Griethausen. The site is located directly opposite the transient harbor of Spijk (Netherlands). As mentioned, the dynamite ship can only be seen at extremely low water.
    You should NOT follow Spijk on your navigation, but Griethausen in Germany, at the other side of the river. If you come from the north, you can cross the Rhine at Emmerich and then follow Griethausen.

    Let op: The locations on the map are indicational. It is not always the entrance, parking lot or best route. The map shows up to 8 locations in the area. Want to see all locations? Check our Hotspot map or use the Search option on this website.



    Waxing Quarter

    Another shipwreck

    There is another shipwreck in the adjacent floodplain. It is unclear whether this has anything to do with the disaster of the Elisabeth.

    Where to stay Spijk?

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