Three Dolfijn class boats in the harbor. This picture was taken by J. Jaspers (Gerretse, 1993). 

Class Dolfijn
Build 1954 - 1966
Length 79.5 m
Width 7.8 m
Speed (surfaced/submerged) 14.5/17 knots
Maximum depth 200 m
Displacement (surfaced/submerged) 1530/1826 ton
Crew Size 67

The keel of the 'Tonijn' was laid in 1962 and the boat was commissioned in 1966. The Tonijn was in service for the Royal Dutch Navy until 1991. The boat is nowadays part of an exhibition of the Navy Museum in Den Helder (NL). The boat can be visited and everything can be touched :) The Dolfijn Class is submarine of a special Dutch design and consists of three separate pressure cylinders. By using three small pressure cylinders instead of a single large one, the diving depth was increased and its maximum depth was higher than similar sized monohull boats built of the same sort of steel in the late 1950's. The top cylinder forms the living/work quarters of the crew and the bottom two cylinders house the engines, batteries and storage rooms. Due to better welding techniques and advanced materials, later Dutch boats are monohull ones.


The Tonijn at the Navy museum in Den Helder. Arrangement of the three pressure cylinders. Picture from Hervey (1994).

Stern of the Tonijn. This picture shows the five bladed screw, the dive plane and the rudder. In the top left of the picture one of the aft torpedo doors can be seen.

Command room of the Tonijn. The front of the picture shows the navigation periscope (A). In the back the attack periscope (B) and the plotting table (C) can be seen. In the front, directly to the right is the rudder station. Rudder station. Just like in a car, the rudder operator faces the sailing direction and holds a steer (A). This picture shows that the view is lousy (B).

The masts of the Tonijn, from left to right: radio mast, snorkel mast, attack periscope, navigation periscope, radar mast and the ESM mast.

The tower of the Tonijn while the boat is diving backwards. Except for the attack periscope, all other masts are retracted. Picture from JJ Kragten. 

The author behind the dive station of the Tonijn. The  forward and aft dive planes are controlled by two people (two black chairs) The author holds the forward plane control (A) and faces the depth meter (B) and a dive indicator (C).

Bow torpedo room of the Tonijn with four torpedo tubes. To the left and right, the beds of the crew can be seen.

Unique picture inside the bottom cylinder of the Tonijn showing the battery compartment, picture obtained from J.J. Japspers. 

Plans of the Dolfijn class, drawing taken from (Gerretse, 1993). A larger picture (3568 x 2143 pixels, 568 kBytes) is available here.


Virtual Submarine TourVirtual Tour inside the Tonijn

Visit the Tonijn at the Marine Museum in Den Helder, Hoofdgracht 3,   1781 AA, Den Helder, The Netherlands. Phone: +31 223 657534.


Gerretse and Wijn, 1993, 'Drie-Cylinders Duiken Dieper' by , Van Soeren & Co. Amsterdam.

Hervey, J. B., 1994, 'Submarines', Naval Vessels, Weapons, Systems and Technology Series, Vol. 7, Brassey's (UK).