The Flying Dutchman
There are many different versions of the legend.
According to folklore, the Flying Dutchman is a ghost ship that can never go home,
but must sail 'the seven seas' 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.
Following is one of the versions: The legend of The Flying Dutchman, is said to have started in 1641
when a Dutch ship sank off the coast of the Cape of Good Hope:
Captain van der Decken was pleased. The trip to the Far East had been highly successful and at last, they
were on their way home to Holland. As the ship approached the tip of Africa, the captain thought that he
should make a suggestion to the Dutch East India Company (his employers) to start a settlement at the
Cape on the tip of Africa, thereby providing a welcome respite to ships at sea.
He was so deep in thought that he failed to notice the dark clouds looming and only when he heard the
lookout scream out in terror, did he realise that they had sailed straight into a fierce storm. The captain
and his crew battled for hours to get out of the storm and at one stage it looked like they would make it.
Then they heard a sickening crunch - the ship had hit treacherous rocks and began to sink. As the ship
plunged downwards, Captain VandeDecken knew that death was approaching. He was not ready to die
and screamed out a curse: "I WILL round this Cape even if I have to keep sailing until doomsday!"
So, even today whenever a storm brews off the Cape of Good Hope, if you look into the eye of the storm,
you will be able to see the ship and its captain - The Flying Dutchman. Don't look too carefully, for the old
folk claim that whoever sights the ship will die a terrible death.
Many people have claimed to have seen The Flying Dutchman, including the
crew of a German submarine boat during World War II and holidaymakers.
On 11 July 1881, the Royal Navy ship, the Bacchante was rounding the tip
of Africa, when they were confronted with the sight of The Flying Dutchman.
The midshipman, a prince who later became King George V, recorded that
the lookout man and the officer of the watch had seen the Flying Dutchman
and he used these words to describe the ship:
"A strange red light as of a phantom ship all aglow, in the midst of which light the mast, spars and sails of
a brig 200 yards distant stood out in strong relief."
It's pity that the lookout saw the Flying Dutchman, for soon after on the same trip, he accidentally fell from
a mast and died. Fortunately for the English royal family, the young midshipman survived the curse.
The name and legend of the Flying Dutchman has been used in many ways.
In books, movies, Songs, paintings, amusement park rides in, nick-names. video games, airplanes, it is
used as a slogan on the planes of the KLM. (Dutch airline) it is the mascot of several Universities, a
ski-run, coffee shop, a seafood restaurant, sailing classification, winery, just to name a few.
The amusement Park the Efteling http://www.efteling.nl/home.aspx?LanguageId=2 in Holland is planning a
new water ride to open sometime this year also called the Flying Dutchman.
All kinds of Flying Dutchmen
And our Flying Dutchman Andre Rieu
Music and libretto by Richard Wagner.
Wagner originally wrote it to be performed without intermission — an example of
his efforts to break with tradition — and, while today's opera houses sometimes
still follow this directive, it is most often performed in three acts. The central theme
is redemption through love, which Wagner returns to in most of his subsequent
The story comes from the legend of the Flying Dutchman, about a ship captain
condemned to sail until Judgement Day. Wagner claimed in Mein Leben (My Life)
that the inspiration was partly autobiographical, arising during his stormy sea
crossing in July and August 1839
The following is a synopsis of Wagner's Opera written by Lorraine of NY.
Norway, 1700s. An icy storm drives the sea captain Daland's ship miles
beyond his home on the coast. As the sky suddenly darkens and the waters
again grow rough, another ship, a ghostly schooner, arrives and drops
anchor next to Daland's. Its captain, the Flying Dutchman, steps ashore,
despairing of his fate. He once swore he would sail around the Cape of
Good Hope if it took him forever, and the devil took him at his word. Once
every seven years he may leave his ship in search of a woman who will
redeem him from his deathless wandering if she gives him faithful, absolute
love; failing this, he is condemned to roam the seas until the Day of Judgment. He tells Daland of his
plight and offers a reward of gold and jewels for a night's lodging. Then, discovering that Daland has a
young daughter, the Dutchman asks for her hand in marriage. Daland, seeing the extent of the
stranger's wealth, immediately agrees. Instructing the Dutchman to follow, Daland sets sail for his home
At Daland's house, his daughter, Senta, dreamily watches village
women as they spin and make sails. They tease the girl about her
suitor, the huntsman Erik, but she remains in a trance. Staring at a
portrait of the Flying Dutchman, she sings a ballad about the phantom
captain. With burning intensity she prays that she may be the one to
save him. Erik enters and, after the others have left, asks Senta to
plead his cause with Daland. Noticing her preoccupation with the
Dutchman's picture, he relates a frightening dream in which he saw her
embrace the Dutchman and sail away in his ship. Senta exclaims that this is her own dream as well, and
the despairing Erik rushes away. A moment later, the Dutchman himself stands before the girl. He tells
her of his sad lot, and she vows to be faithful to him unto death. Daland blesses the union.
At the harbor, the villagers celebrate the sailors' return. They invite the
Dutchman's crew to join them but are frightened away by the ghostly crew's
weird chanting. Senta soon rushes in, pursued by Erik, who insists she has
pledged her love to him. Overhearing this, the Dutchman believes himself
betrayed and jumps aboard his ship. As horrified villagers crowd the shore,
he reveals his name and nature and sets sail. Senta runs to the top of a cliff,
triumphantly proclaiming herself faithful unto death, and leaps into the sea.
Opera the Flying Dutchman ( German title: Der fliegende Holländer)