There was already an attempt in the fourties of the last century to make an inventory of vessels which were in danger of being lost. That knowledge and a second inventory in the fifties has led to the ships-collection in the Zuiderzeemuseum in Enkhuizen. A selection of the then collected vessels can now be viewed in the Schepenhal or in the waters of the Outdoor Museum.
After the Second World War the interest in the preservation of the sailing heritage got really going. Lots of private individuals, foundations and associations started to preserve ships. The first organisation to set up a register was the Foundation Pedigree Round and Flatbottom Yachts, established in 1955.
Apart from the Zuiderzeemuseum, ships-collections were also established in other museums such as the Maritiemmuseum in Rotterdam and the Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam.
At the end of the eighties a start was made with a national stock-taking which resulted in a list of 1800 vessels. During the happening "The ship als Monument" (1987) in the Zuiderzeemuseum, this inventory was published and for the first time a list-of -ships became available to the public. Also refer to ‘Spiegel der Zeilvaart’ September 1987, part 1 and part 2 (list).
A few years later the Dutch Federation of Sailing Heritage (FVEN) set up the RVEN.
Mutual criteria and comparable terminology have been established over many years of collaborative effort. Owners have reported vessels which have been assessed by the evaluation committees of the affiliated preservation organisations. Initially these data were only available at the offices of the FVEN. But since 2015 this register has been made publicly available via this site by the former minister Jet Bussemaker during SAIL2015.
Since 2020 the register has been renewed. Data of the ca 3600 vessels from the ‘first’ register are regularly updated with actual data from the affiliated organisations.