Anton van den Heuvel

Member of EXARC since
E-mail address
devuurboog [at] gmail.com
Country
the Netherlands

I'm Anton van den Heuvel (1954), I started learning ancient skills at the end of the eighties at the prehistoric village of Eindhoven. I have worked very closely with Hans Horreus de Haas, he was very inspirational to me. We were building iron-age houses, building dug-out canoes, working with leather, making fire with a bowdrill and lot's more fun stuff.

In 1989 I went to Lelystad to go and learn historical wooden shipbuilding at the shipyard of the VOC ship 'Batavia'. Batavia is a full scale, 50m long, very authentic reconstruction of a Dutch sailing merchant from the 16th century Dutch Golden Age. This was the start of my journey in historical wooden shipbuilding.

From there I went 'back in time' again for three years to help build a reconstruction of a West Frisian Bronze Age farmhouse in Lelystad, currently known as Swifterkamp.

When I left the foundation in 1991 to go and work at Archeon, I initiated an 'experimental' dug-out canoe-trip from Lelystad to Enkhuizen as a 'goodbye project'. With four people in a 6,5m dug-out canoe we covering 35km of water, canoeing for 6 hours.

Together with Hans Horreus de Haas I joint the Archeon project in the three year build-up phase of the theme-park as a teamleader in prehistorical house building. Hans and I designed and reconstructed 18 dwellings from the Dutch Mesolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Early Medieval Period. We had a building-team of 14 people.

From 1994, I became assistant master-shipwright at 'Sars houtbow' with which I have been building two full-scale historical reconstructions. A medieval Cog from 1336 in Kampen and a 18th century yacht from Rotterdam.

The Cog project was in direct collaboration with director Jaap Morel from the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. 

This project was followed up by a reconstruction of a full-scale 18th century yacht of 20m.

This ship was put to water in 2003. Both reconstructions are still sailling to this day (2022).

In 2003, I went to the Batavia-shipyard again to lead a team of builders in building a full-scale 17th century war-ship 'de Zeven Provincien'. This 50m three mast ship build of oak served in the Dutch navy under command of the famous admiral 'Michiel de Ruyter' and was the biggest and most heavily armed ship of its kind. This project sadly stranded after 4 years because of a lack of funding. I stayed at the yard and worked in different positions.

From 2007 on I also invested a lot of time in my own self-awareness and becoming more conscious of my limitations and motivations. The (self) knowledge from this inside-journey gave me a more holistic view on myself and the world and led me to the next stage in my life. My own journey helped me a lot in leading, training and coaching students in reaching their own potential. I'm a professional trainer and a NLP-coach.

After 18 years of work at the shipyard I started a company 'de Vuurboog' (Dutch for bow-drill). With this company I'm serving two sides of the coin meaning 'hard skills' and 'soft skills'. Hard skills in my context are skills of physiological craftmenship (working with natural materials) and the soft skills are the psychological, self-awareness and communicational skills.

With my company I bring people in contact with nature and natural historical crafts (Bushcraft). The underlaying reason is that I believe that if people are in better contact with their own natural-past (this includes craft-past because for 200 000 years every single ancestor of us has been working extensively with their hands doing one or more crafts) this will help people to physiologically and psychologically be more resilient, balanced and happy.

In the last years, I have also been working together with Lynx Vilden on two skin-boat projects. With my company I am very open to collaboration in different contexts.