Hr. Ms. De Zeven Provinciën (1909)

De Zeven Provinciën departing Den Helder for the Dutch East Indies. This photo is probably from 1919, which would make this her first deployment to the region. Hosted at Maritiem Digital, original believed to be public domain.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

Hr. Ms. De Zeven Provinciën was the fifth ship of the Dutch Navy to bear the name. Laid down 7 February, 1908, she was a one-off coast defense ship, commissioned 6 October, 1910. A month later, she departed on her first deployment to the Dutch East Indies, arriving in late January. A year later, De Zeven Provinciën ran aground, but managed to free herself after offloading coal and ammunition. She spent several months docked in Singapore for repairs, before returning to duty. With the end of World War I, the Dutch seemed to think it was as good a time as any to bring De Zeven Provinciën home for a bit, and she departed for Europe in November, 1918, passing through the Panama Canal and stopping at New York. De Zeven Provinciën spent a couple years at home, before departing for the Dutch East Indies once again, in November, 1921. This would be the last time she was to visit the Netherlands. Upon arrival, she was used as a gunnery training ship. A major mutiny broke out on 5 February, 1933, and was not quelled until a bomb was dropped on the ship, killing twenty-three of the mutineers. The reason behind the mutiny is still debated, though it seems most likely to have been over poor working conditions, lousy pay, and low morale. De Zeven Provinciën was converted into a training ship afterwards, and renamed Soerabaja in 1936, possibly to foster pro-Dutch support in the East Indies, which had been angling for independence. Soerabaja was still in the area when Japan invaded, and was sunk 18 February, 1942, by air attack in her namesake port. The wreck was raised by the Japanese, and she was used as a floating gun battery until 1943. Her ultimate fate is debated: convention has it that she was sunk by Allied bombers in 1943, but another claim has her wrecking off Djamoenjan Reef that year.