In the early 19th century, merchants in America wanted faster ships. The full stem was replaced by a pointed bow. But they also switched to much higher masts. This way the ship could carry much more sail. The concept of a long, pointed ship turned out to be brilliant. The most important advantage was speed.
Even so, the popularity of the clipper was short-lived. The turning point came with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, making the route to the East Indies much shorter. Ideal for steam ships, but of no use to clippers or other large sailing vessels. They had to take the longer route round the Cape and this extra time proved too costly.
The construction of the Clipper Stad Amsterdam was commissioned by the municipality of Amsterdam and Randstad Holding. The initiative originated during the event Sail Amsterdam '95. Mr. Frits Goldschmeding and Mrs. Pauline Krikke (municipality of Amsterdam) were closely involved with the project.
The main source of inspiration for the design of the Clipper Stad Amsterdam, was the Amsterdam, dating from 1854, though it isn't a copy of an existing clipper. Gerard Dijkstra combined the qualities of 19th-century clippers with present-day requirements.
The construction work on the hull body at the Damen Oranjewerf shipyard in Amsterdam lasted from December 1997 until December 1998. Of the overall construction time, estimated at 200,000 hours, some 35,000 man hours were spent on the hull. It has made important contributions to the lives of the young-and-unemployed and to school-leavers by offering them valuable training and work experience.