Artists Drawing of Het Wapen van Amsterdam
At that time, Holland commanded one of the largest trading and shipping empires in the World. One of their colonies at that time was the East Indies, and they were at war with England.

Every year the Dutch sent a fleet of ships to collect the valuables from its colonies.  In 1667 a fleet of five ships, carrying some of the most valuable cargo ever, set sails from India. One of the ships in the convoy was Het Wapen van Amsterdam.

Het Wapen van Amsterdam was built in 1653-1654, and was one of the biggest ships in the Dutch fleet with a crew of more than 200 and the passenger count is believed to have been between 80-100.

On its way home in September 1667, the convoy got caught in a fierce storm and was blown off course in the raging Atlantic Ocean.

 One of the ships smashed to pieces on the coast of the Faroe Islands but Het Wapen van Amsterdam was blown all the way to Iceland, running aground in Skeiðarár­sandur estuary off the south coast of Iceland. It was Septem­ber 19th 1667 and laden with untold treasures, her remains have been laid to rest, submerged in the sand ever since.

Most of the passengers and crew survived the wreck but over the next 24 hours, many tragically perished on the vast sands in ferocious weather conditions. Those that survived were spotted from the scattered farms resting at the foot of the great glacier, Vatnajökull.

1600’s Map of Iceland
Tales of the past

Over the years, much has been written and discussed concerning the ship’s legendary precious cargo, but far less about the fact that it was very likely the worst maritime disaster in Iceland’s history in terms of loss of life. It’s said that at least 190 drowned, with 50 to 60 managing to survive and tell the tale of what happened and what cargo was on board.

Many of those who managed to make it ashore died of exposure as they desperately tried to cross the freezing wet sands and glacial rivers.

The crew hastily took with them what they could easily carry, which included a large quantity of silk. The story goes that many locals for years to come slept in bed linen of the finest silk. The silk was bartered in return for horses the Dutch survivors needed to get to Reykjavik where they could board a ship to take them back to Holland.

The ship´s wreck was abandoned and with time sank deeper and deeper into the sand.

permission granted

Letter of Permission
For the first 10 years, Bergur and his team made numerous attempts to locate the ship, but luck was not on their side.
On September 27th 1960

Local entrepreneur Bergur Larusson negotiates a deal with the Prime Minister of Iceland to search for the ship and gets permission to exploit everything (except antiques) that would be found in the wreck, against a payment of 12% of the value to the government.

At that time, Bergur had already made agreements with the landowners for 10% of any profit.

Newspaper Article, 23rd April 1963


'70 -'83
Bergur + Kristinn
Bergur then teamed up with another entrepreneur, Kristinn Gudbrands­son and the search began again in 1970.
Kristinn was, at that time, one of the leading experts in rescuing and recovering vessels in Iceland.

Even today many years after his death, Kristinn is still remembered as one of Icelands legendary characters for his achievements in this field.


In 1983 the government guaranteed a loan for the whole amount by a special law passed by the Icelandic Parliament.

In September 1983, the Dutch government, who still laid claim to the ship and its cargo, sent officials to the site.

Entrepreneur Bergur Larusson Standing Next To His Car
hopes & dreams

On July 28th 1982 the team announced that they had located the ship under the sand

On December 9th 1982, a business plan is put together which outlines the expected cost of the recovery.

The plan estimated the cost of the recovery operation to be ISK 50 million with a present day value of approximately 1.8 million US Dollars.

Newspaper Article, August 1983
The Dig Site

After dedicating many precious years of their lives to this adventure, the suspense in the air was torture as the team dug ever deeper down to the wreck.

Disbelief and disappointment overwhelmed the team when they discovered they’d found the wreck of the German trawler Freidrich Albert that had run aground in 1903.

Somewhere buried in the sands, awaits a Dutch merchant vessel and its gold, yearning to reveal its secrets. A new team of entrepreneurs have begun the search. We, are them.


In 2013, Icelandic entrepreneur Gisli Gislason resurrected the dream. He gathered documentation and intelligence about the ship began negotiating with the Icelandic government.

During his investigation, Gisli was shocked to discover that Bergur Larusson’s mother was in fact, the sister of Gisli’s great grandmother.

Gisli’s company, 1667 Ltd. has already secured the rights to search for Het Wapen van Amsterdam and on May 3rd 2016, Gisli and the company lawyer met with the Prime Minister of Iceland, Mr. Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson to discuss a new agreement regarding compensation to 1667 Ltd. due when the ship is found and recovered.

Letter of Intent Signed by Icelandic Prime Minister
The Cultural Heritage Agency of Iceland Letter 8th Feb 2016


On January 5th 2017, the Prime Minister signed a Letter of Intent for 1667 Ltd. and since then, Gisli and his team have been making great progress.