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NPRC (The Netherlands)

Nederlandse Particuliere Rijnvaart Centrale

Last modified: 2017-11-11 by andrew weeks
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[NPRC houseflag] image by Jarig Bakker, 21 May 2006 See also:

NPRC

The NPRC or Nederlandse Particuliere Rijnvaart Centrale ("Dutch Central for Private Shipping on the Rhine" – 'private' meaning having a transport vessel of your own) has its main office at Zwijndrecht near Rotterdam, Netherlands and branch offices in a number of European countries.

As the name says, it is an organization representing Dutch, and also Belgian, private shippers transporting dry bulk goods on inland waterways.
Most information is gleaned from the NPRC website:
“Since its foundation in 1935, NPRC’s primary task has been to look after the interests of its members (and as such, it) enters into long-term transport agreements with mainly larger clients.  Clients often choose NPRC because of its proven ability to offer maximum certainty in transport assignments, chiefly thanks to its large and varied fleet of vessels.  For its members, NPRC offers the advantage of a choice from a variety of cargoes. This saves the barge owner him/herself having to devote time to acquiring cargoes (…).  Every member can take advantage of the structured system giving them a say in rotation for achieving a fair distribution of cargoes.”
"The activities of the NPRC consist of: ship affreightment - special transports - container transport - storage and transfer - mass and bulk transport.”

As shown on the introductory page (I don't count a simplified version on a map of the head office’s new location), the house flag is bright red, vermilion even, with a white descending diagonal bearing the initials ‘NPRC’ in dark blue – it seems to be really blue, not black – and three dark blue silhouettes of a approaching vessel on the upper fly. These silhouettes are shown very large on the home page.

See also this photo of the ‘Vector’ on the Binnenvaart site, where we see the flag in use.
Jan Mertens, 26 Apr 2006


NPRC "new" flag

[NPRC new flag] image sent by Jan Mertens, 8 Sep 2007

“Flaggen auf dem Rhein” shows two previous versions on p. 118: the “new flag” differing by having the initials straight up (the font may count as another difference) and no boat shapes in the upper right corner.  The field is decidedly orange but then this should cause no surprise in a Dutch flag of this kind!

The – presumably – first version is called the “old flag”: orange field, tiny national flag in the canton and large black initial ‘C’ in the centre (no serifs).  Most probably the initial stands for ‘Centrale’. I do not know when the second flag was introduced (not long before 1952, the source’s publication date? when the old flag was still in the memory?) nor when the current version was adopted.
The following source offers some data on NPRC’s pioneer period (in Dutch, see p. 7): Founded at the behest of ‘Algemene Rijnschippersbond’ (i.e. General Rhine
Shippers’ Union), ‘Internationale Schippers Vereniging’ (i.e. International Shippers’ Association) and ‘Rooms-Katholieke Hanzebond van Reders en Schippers “Sint Nicolaas”’ (i.e. Roman Catholic Hanseatic Union of >Shipowners and Shippers “Saint Nicholas”) on 18 March 1935, start of activities in May of that year.
Jan Mertens, 8 Sep 2007


NPRC "old" flag

[NPRC old flag] image sent by Jan Mertens, 8 Sep 2007

An unidentified flag or ensign (ufe) in Lundy (GB)

[flag on the Atlas]<>[old Oranje Verzekering houseflag] images by Jarig Bakker, 10 Jul 2008

While I was on Lundy, I took a photograph of a painting which hangs in the vestibule of the Church. The photo didn't come out, unfortunately, but it commemorates a Dutch coaster, the M.V. Atlas, of Groningen, and her 2nd engineer, Fokko Smit, who lost his life when the ship was wrecked on one of Lundy's notorious rocks during the second world war, in 1942.
The painting showed the vessel flying the Dutch national flag (not an ensign) at the stern, and further forward (not at the bow) she is flying a flag which I didn't recognise and cannot find on FOTW-ws. It is an orange field with the Dutch national flag in the canton and a 3-digit number (the ship's registration?) in white on the field.
The same flag, with no number, also appears above the inscription which forms part of the painting, where it is shown crossed with the Dutch national flag against an anchor.
André Coutanche, 17 Apr 2002

Just a guess: possibly a houseflag. Several Dutch shipping companies had tricolors in the canton, some RWB, like the HSM, Hollandsche Stoomboot Maatschappij, which had a white field with red capitals HSM. In Groningen were very small companies, sometimes owning only one coaster, and I suppose it will be hard to find the company. Which digits are written on the field?
Jarig Bakker, 17 Apr 2002

This sounds like the flag of a Seaman's College (Zeemanscollege). Several of them have a Dutch canton. The number would be the captain's memberschip number.
But I don't know which one this would be. If the ship is from Groningen one would expect a member of De Groninger Eendracht, but then the flag would have been white, and the number would have been preceded with "Gr". Of course, by 1949 the captain could well have been from a town different from the ships home port.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 17 Apr 2002

I can say that the inscription says:
'In memory of Fokko Smit 2nd Engineer
and the crew of MV Atlas of Groningen
wrecked near the Shutter during the night of Octr 9/10 1942.
"The Sea is His and He made it".'
[The Shutter is a rock].
I didn't write down the number on the flag (assuming that I would have it on the photo), but I am 99% certain that it consisted just of three digits and no letters.
André Coutanche, 17 Apr 2002

The painting showed the vessel flying a flag - an orange field with the Dutch national flag in the canton and a 3-digit number (the ship's registration?) in white on the field.
The same flag, with no number, also appears above the inscription which forms part of the painting, where it is shown crossed with the Dutch national flag against an anchor.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 28 Jun 2008

Since I made the original report - six years ago - I have been back to Lundy many times, and I have tried to take a better photograph of the painting. At last, two years ago, I was there in the company of a competent photographer as part of a week to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the Lundy Field Society (LFS). At my request he took some decent photos of the painting, though I didn't get around to sending them to the List.
I have now uploaded to the NL files section three photos showing the picture and the relevant details (the pictures are taken at an angle to prevent the surface reflecting back the flash which is necessary in the dark entrance lobby to the church on Lundy).
I will report your research to colleagues in the LFS and it may then be published as a note in our Newsletter.
André Coutanche, 28 Jun 2008

It is the old flag of the NPRC (Nederlandse Particuliere Rijnvaart Centrale ("Dutch Central for Private Shipping on the Rhine") - it's unfortunate that the image there looks overwhelmingly red, where it should be mainly orange.
Based on the little I could discern on photos in "Nederlandse Rijn- en Binnensleepvaart", 1984, I would guess that tugs used the NPRC-flag with white letters, and coasters used it with white digits.
Jarig Bakker, 21 Feb 2010