The EUROPA was built in 1911 on the Stülcken wharf in Hamburg, Germany. She was first named as 'Senator Brockes'. The original client who ordered the ship was the State of Hamburg. The ship was built to serve as a light ship on the German river Elbe. Called 'Elbe 3' she indeed served as light ship and later she was first reserve. Until the 1980's it was quite common to see lights ships on hazardous places near river estuaries and sand banks. Light ships were always crewed until the 1980's. But certainly in the late 1980's more and more ships were automated with help of computers and GPS. Slowly but steadily the ships have become a rare sight.
In 1986 the ship was brouhgt to the Netherlands. In eight years time the ship was completely renovated and re-rigged. The conversion was both inside and out. Inside the ship all cabins were modelled and of course the galley and common aereas were established. Next to that the exterior changed as well: the ship was re-rigged into a three masted barque. This means the first two masts (seen from the bow) are square rigged and the last mast is rigged for and aft. The biggest part of the renovation and refit was done in the Zouthaven in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. At this moment the homeport of the ship is Scheveningen, The Hague, The Netherlands. The ship can house 48 trainees and 16 crew. The EUROPA is an official Sail Training Vessel. Being such a ship you will be mustered as a trainee and joining in the activities on deck and getting instructions from the crew is a real part of the experience on board. This way not only holiday seekers populate the ship but also students of the Maritime schools join the ship.
March 24th 2010, Ushuaia, Argentina. A new figurehead now adorns Europa. Made By Lynx Guimand and installed in March 2010, it replaces her previous one damaged by an iceberg while sailing in Antartica. The former figure head was made by Mrs. Annemarie Visser and originally installed during the build of the EUROPA into a Tall Ship in the 1980's. Both figure heads were based on the story of EUROPA in the Greek mythology.
Europa was one of the god Zeus's many love interests in Greek mythology. She was a beautiful mortal woman, and the noble daughter of a King Agenor (according to some sources, Agenor was the king of Phoenicia).
The legend of Europa and Zeus begins when the ruler of the Olympian gods glimpses the young woman one day. At first sight of Europa, Zeus is instantly overcome by her beauty and grace. Not being one to ignore his desires, the god immediately comes up with a plan - he assumes the form of aglorious white bull and swims to the shore on which Europa and her female companions are playing (it should be noted that in some versions of the story, rather than disguising himself, Zeus sends a real white bull to lure the girl). The bull is so sleek and handsome, not to mention gentle, that the maidens all take turns stroking and petting the pretty creature. In time, Europa feels comfortable enough with the bull to climb upon his back for a little ride. However, as soon as she is safely seated, the bull moves toward the sea, carrying the object of his affection with him. They together cross the water. Their strange but compelling journey leads them eventually to the island of Crete.
Upon arriving in Crete, Zeus finally casts off his disguise and reveals his divine identity to Europa. The mortal woman then becomes yet another of the god's lovers. Ultimately, Europa gives birth to a trio of sons - Minos, Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon. It was said that Zeus so loved Europa that he gave her three priceless presents. The first was Talos, a magical man made of bronze, who served as a guard on Crete. The second was Laelaps, a dog that excelled at the hunt. And the third and final gift was a javelin that always hit its target.
In addition, as a last poetic touch, it is worth mentioning that the bull that "stars" in this story was transformed into the constellation Taurus.