A bilander, also spelled billander or bélandre, was a small European merchant ship with two masts - used in the Netherlands for coast and canal traffic and occasionally seen in the North Sea but more frequently to be seen in the Mediterranean Sea.[1] In England, the use of the bilander can be dated back as far as the reign of Queen Elizabeth[2]. The mainmast was lateen-rigged with a trapezoidal mainsail, but the foremast carried the conventional square course and square topsail. Displacement was typically under 100 tons. However, the design was eventually replaced by more efficient sailing ship designs, leading it to be regarded as simply a precursor to the brig[3]. Few examples exist today.


  1. Hawk, James R. They came from Germany, aboard the Thistle. p. 18. ISBN 1483446395. OCLC 980523921.
  2. Culver, Henry B. (2012-09-26). The Book of Old Ships: From Egyptian Galleys to Clipper Ships. Courier Corporation. ISBN 9780486156897.
  3. Robinson, John; Dow, George Francis (2007-03-17). Sailing Ships of New England 1606-1907. Skyhorse Publishing Inc. ISBN 9781602390393.

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