The Kennemerland was purchased by the Amsterdam Chamber of the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) in 1661 for 33000 guilders. She was a wooden vessel launched in 1661, approximately 155′ long and 300 tons burden. For protection and offensive action she carried 24 cast iron cannon, 6 bronze cannons and 2 minions.
She left Texel on her maiden voyage to the Indies on 17th April 1662 and returned safely on 25th August 1664. This was to be her one and only successful trading trip as she was lost on her next voyage on the Outer Skerries of Shetland.
The Kennemerland and her sister ship Rijnland left Texel on the voyage to Batavia with a general cargo and 240000 guilders split between the two ships on 14th December 1664 and headed north to avoid the English ships patrolling the channel. England and Holland were at war so a passage through the shorter channel route was deemed to be too dangerous, likely to result in the attack and capture of the two money laden ships. The voyage northwards through the North Sea was uneventful however as the two ships reached the Shetland area on the 20th December they were caught in a violent southerly storm and lost contact with each other. The Kennemerland was battered by the gale and lost headway as sails were torn and spars lost. The captain positioned four men in the foremast shrouds to attempt to keep a lookout for any danger ahead but the visibility meant that they could see very little. The men probably thought that they had been given the most dangerous task but as it turned out it was to save three of their lives. Despite the lookouts the rocks appeared in front of the ship without warning and she smashed against a rock outcrop that barely broke the surface of the sea. The foremast fell forward against a rocky stack and three of the men managed to scramble ashore. They would be the only survivors as the ship almost immediately broke in two with the forepart sinking in deep water and the aft section spilling the remaining ballast before being swept ashore on the beach at Bruray Island.
After the wreck another story unfolded as the attempts at salvage of the valuable cargo began. The Laird of Shetland (The Earl of Morton ) sent his chamberlain to take charge of the salvage and quickly much of the coin and the more general cargo was recovered. Within weeks some 115,000 guilders had been recovered. Meanwhile King Charles II of England made a claim that, as the two countries were at war, any ships cast away on British shores were crown property. A court case followed and it was held that the Earl of Morton had tried to defraud the crown and he was deprived of all of his estates.
The remains of the Kennemerland were located in 1971 by a team of divers from Aston University and a full archaeological survery and recovery operation was carried out of the next 15 years. In 1978 the site was designated a historical wreck site. This protection remains in place to this day. Much of the material remaining was removed during these archaeological activities but some elements of the ship and some cast iron cannon remain in position 60°25.167’N, 000°45.121’W (WGS84). The Area around Stoura Stack is very exposed and subject to heavy swells and the wreckage is in fairly shallow water so any exploration of the site must be in calm weather.