Mercy Ships Holland Attempts to Break Guinness World Record

Whether it’s covering fruit, in a heart-shaped box, or simple bar form, chocolate is one of the most iconic Valentine symbols we know. Nearly 36 million heart-shape boxes of chocolates are sold annually, and according to the National Retail Federation, Americans alone are expected to spend roughly $2.4 billion on candy to celebrate their loved ones this Valentine’s Day.

Joining in the spirit of the holiday, the Holland Mercy Ships office celebrated a unique accomplishment — one that is both a sweet tooth’s dream and a dentist’s nightmare.

Local chocolatier, Frits van Noppen, a dedicated Mercy Ships supporter, decided to show his love of Mercy Ships through his art.

“An entrepreneur, Frits van Noppen, came up with this brilliant idea with my team years ago,” Janno Kamphorst, Mercy Ships project lead, said. “We were going to do a world record attempt for Mercy Ships. They didn’t know exactly what this would look like, but the idea was born.”

Soon the chocolatier got to work with his team creating over 1,620 sections of chocolate, which weighed approximately 18 pounds each. once all of the elements were created, the entire structure measured almost 46 feet high and weighed over 13 tons.

“We thought that chocolate would fit very well with a fundraising event since it’s something everyone likes, and you can share it,” Kamphorst said. “Though we didn’t expect this work of art to weigh 13 tons!”

Each piece of the chocolate was available for sponsorship. The massive chocolate structure was unveiled for sponsors, guests, and donors during a fundraising event on February 6, 2020 in Rotterdam. During the event, representatives were able to share the impact that the attendees’ partnerships with Mercy Ships has on people living with little to no access to safe surgical care, and nearly $700,000 was raised.

“Many people were touched by the images they saw,” Kamhorst said. “They were also moved by the stories they heard from volunteers and patients.”

Following the official unveiling, sponsors were able to receive their pieces of chocolate. The last sections of the chocolate were still being sold after the event had ended.

“Everyone who sees the chocolate now wants one too and thinks it’s a very nice initiative,” Kamhorst said. “Another part will be distributed among all the volunteers who helped.”

As of the publication of this blog, the Holland Mercy Ships team is still awaiting the verification from the Guinness representatives that they were able to break the world record officially.

“We have seen that this event has made Mercy Ships famous from all corners of the Netherlands,” Kamphorst said. “We are happy that with this great exposure. And we think Mercy Ships will grow in Holland over the next several years!”

According to the Guinness World Records website, the largest chocolate bar was created on October 7, 2011, by Thorntons plc from Alfreton, Derbyshire, UK, and weighed 12,770 pounds and 4.48 ounces. The chocolate bar measured 13 feet and 1.48 inches by 13 feet and 1.48 inches. The ingredients were sugar, dried whole milk powder, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, butter oil, emulsifier.