Boat International:
“We journey back 50 years to when three passionate Dutch engineers decided to join forces as a brand-new freelance collective; a dream that went on to become Diana Yacht Design, responsible for over 71 superyacht projects.

What 50 years as a yacht design company looks like

Written by: Laura Nicholls
Boat International


Over five decades ago, three passionate Dutch engineers agreed to start working together on a handful of superyacht design projects as a brand-new freelance collective. As innocent as it seems, what became of this collaboration is now the fully-independent naval architecture and design company Diana Yacht Design, with over 71 superyacht projects flaunting its designs, including the classic 1984 56-metre Feadship yacht Rio Rita and the 77-metre explorer yacht Legend.


To keep up with the company’s extravagant growth, original managing director Coby Dijkman and founder Cees Kolff moved aside over 15 years ago to make way for three new partners – Hans-Maarten Bais, Jerry Lakeman and Bart de Haan – who together have led Diana Yacht Design through thick and thin. “Not only were we able to bring in some great achievements such as expanding our portfolio with yachts like Lady Duvera and Attessa IV, but navigate through the 2008 financial crisis. We survived by keeping our eyes open for new projects, working closely with shipyards, building solid business relationships and being down to earth people. That is also what our predecessor taught us: ‘You know bad times will always come, so take advantage of the good times,” explains creative director Hans-Maarten.


In addition to strong work ethics and disciplines, the firm’s success has been largely thanks to keeping a young, dynamic team of people. “We like to utilise our senior knowledge and experience to educate younger designers. That way we have been able to maintain our quality of work,” adds Hans-Maarten. With this knowledge, now 50 years old, Diana Yacht Design was one of the industry frontrunners for creating custom naval architecture on standout yachts such as ScoutYXT 24 EvolutionViatoris and Kokoro.


Another standout creation by Diana Yacht Design is the 47-metre superyacht concept DIANA R.50, which Hans-Maarten describes as “a yacht that feels huge and is full of superyacht features – all while remaining under that crucial 500GT mark.” The concept was also a testament to the way the firm likes to work so closely with its stakeholders. “The DIANA R.50 concept was born from discussions with a client and proves how our talented design team can be flexible to suit the people we are working with,” he adds.


That said, the firm is excelling with some big projects that are currently taking shape across nine different yards. These 15 projects range between 27 to 61 metres and include the new 61-metre Hakvoort build Project YN251 and the 36-metre Moonen Martinique superyachts – an achievement Hans-Maarten insists “could not have been done without the dedication of our talented team. Their passion for the work comes through in everything that they do, and while the company’s services and operations have expanded, our underlying principles have remained constant. We look forward to the next 50 years in this fantastic industry!”

This article was originally published 26th of May 2021 – Boat International

Legend superyacht in Norway - Diana Yacht Design
Project YN251 Sidney at Royal Hakvoort Shipyard

Diana Yacht Design celebrates 50 years of crafting yachting legends

Press release
Alkmaar, February 2021

Diana Yacht Design is proud to celebrate its 50th anniversary as a Dutch independent naval architecture and design company. Revealing a new logo to commemorate 50 years in business, 2021 will see the launch of a dedicated anniversary campaign celebrating the very best of Diana Yacht Design over the years.

“We could not have achieved our outstanding success without the dedication of our talented team here at DIANA,” states Hans-Maarten Bais, Creative Director and Managing Partner of Diana Yacht Design. “Our passion for the work comes through in everything that we do. That same passion has been at the heart of DIANA since the very beginning. While the company’s services and operations have expanded over the past 50 years, our underlying principles have remained constant. We are proud to celebrate our 50-year milestone this whole year with our team, clients, and partners and look forward to the next 50 years!”


DIANA: Then and now

One of the world’s leading design and engineering companies, DIANA’s expertise spans all yacht design and engineering disciplines to deliver a unique one-stop design experience to the world’s most discerning clients. Opening its doors in 1971 and weathering the oil crisis of 1973, the stock market crash of 1987 and the 2008 financial crisis, more than 70 superyachts have set sail bearing the DIANA credentials over the past 50 years.


From the 77-metre explorer yacht Legend to the classic 55.9-metre Feadship motor yacht Rio Rita, versatility defines DIANA’s portfolio. Dedication to innovative design has always enabled DIANA to consistently realise even the most challenging of design and engineering requests, but as Bais comments, it is the dedication of the DIANA team which has enabled the company to thrive over the past half a century.


At the helm of the company for the past 15 years is Hans-Maarten Bais, Jerry Lakeman and Bart de Haan. Hans-Maarten Bais continues: “To mark 50 year’s operating in an industry that has undergone so much change is truly remarkable. DIANA’s strength throughout the past 50 years is a testament to the company. When we took over the company 15 years ago, I remember the previous managing director, Coby Dijkman and founder Cees Kolff, said to us: ‘Make us proud. We worked hard to build up this name. Take care of it and make sure the name keeps on existing.’ As we celebrate Diana Yacht Design’s 50th anniversary 15 years following that conversation, I can most definitely say that I am proud of DIANA and what we have achieved.”


A year of celebration

Throughout 2021, DIANA will mark its 50th anniversary with a range of online and in-person events as and when permitted. Across a range of digital platforms, DIANA will bring the company’s story to life, highlighting the people, projects and innovations that have driven the company to where they are today.


“Together with our whole team, we’re looking forward to the opportunity of sharing insights into our fantastic history as well as our exciting present and our future,” says Marketing Manager, Ingeborg Belterman. “We plan to round off a fantastic year with a 50th-anniversary party. While the uncertainty of the pandemic means that we will announce this if and when possible, we all look forward to connecting with our clients, partners and industry peers throughout the year to celebrate this amazing milestone.”


DIANA currently have fifteen different superyacht projects ranging from 27 to 61 metres under construction at nine different shipyards. With a range of new superyacht concepts also set to be unveiled in 2021, the 50th-anniversary campaign will also explore these projects in more detail and look to the present and future of DIANA. Join Diana Yacht Design’s 50th-anniversary celebrations throughout 2021 and stay tuned for more information.