Steam trawler Aachen

Steam trawler Aachen. This detailed model in a scale of 1:33 stands as part of our exhibition about the history of modern fisheries on deck 7 of the museum.

The “Aachen” was a steam propelled fishing trawler built at the Bremer Vulkan shipyard in 1896. She and 22 other high-sea-fishing steamers were the original fleet of the German company Deutsche Dampffischerei-Gesellschaft „Nordsee“, that had just been founded in Bremen that year. The company was an association of smaller companies that operated in all aspect related to fishing: from the capture at sea, to selling the product directly to the customer. The original fishing boats were all named after cities in the German inland. This was used to announce the selling of fish in those cities. The company created a complex but well-functioning logistics system for their operations. A new fishing harbor was built exclusively for her fleet in the city of Nordenham. From there, the fishers steamed to the North Sea to get their catch. The fish was then transported in company-owned trains in ice wagons all over Germany to be sold in the shops owned by the company. Before the technology existed to industrially produce the ice that preserved the fish, the „Nordsee“ had it imported by ship from Norway. The company took great care of keeping control of all aspects of their business and stay technologically up to date, to be as efficient as possible. The concept worked very well, and the company quickly expanded and fished in more waters than the one from which it got its name. This expansion was not only due to a higher demand, but also since the North Sea was starting to show signs of overfishing in the early 20th century. Before World War I, they were the largest fishing company in the world. The “Nordsee” has survived crisis and wars, and the most visible part of the company is the chain of fast-food restaurants that still bear her name today. There are hundreds of them in Germany and some surrounding countries. The Nordsee shops are still the largest German fast-food chain nowadays.

The fate of the “Aachen” was sadly not as bright as the one of the company that owned her: She was seen for the last time on the 2nd of December of 1898, ten sea-miles northwards from the island of Heligoland. After that both vessel and crew were never heard of again. 

This detailed model in a scale of 1:33 stands as part of our exhibition about the history of modern fishing on deck 7 of the museum.