National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum (Scheepvaartmuseum) in Amsterdam tells about the maritime history of the Netherlands. The collection is vast and comprises paintings, ship models, naval maps, atlases, nautical instruments, canons and more. The exhibition offers a unique insight in the maritime history of the Netherlands and the Dutch. The exhibition is multimedia with video games and interaction for young and old.
The highlight of the Maritime Museum is the replica of the ‘Amsterdam’, a three-master of the Dutch East India Company that sank on its maiden journey in the English Channel in 1749 and never reached its destination Batavia (now Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia).
Amsterdam-Now Tip: Book your ticket online and skip the waiting line!
A visit to the Maritime Museum in Amsterdam may take up a whole morning or afternoon because there are so many exhibits. All are neatly labelled both in Dutch and English. The exhibition tells the 500-year old maritime history of the Netherlands. The world maps are of special interest. They show the Americas as they were known in the seventeenth century. In those days California was thought to be an island! It is also a great museum for kids who will enjoy the ‘Tale of the Whale’ and the multimedia show ‘See You in the Golden Age’.
The Royal Barge
A very special exhibit is the ‘Royal Barge’ a beautifully constructed rowing barge built in 1816 for King William I. This boat was used by the head of state for state visits, jubilees and when the king or Queen launched a new ship. In 1962, Queen Juliana and Prince Bernard sailed on Royal Barge for the last time when they celebrated their silver wedding anniversary. Since then the barge has retired.
Replica of the Three-master ‘Amsterdam’
The ‘Amsterdam’ is permanently moored just outside the Maritime Museum. This three-master ship tells the intriguing story of the VOC ships (Dutch East India Company) which sailed to and from the Far East between 1602 and 1795. In 1749, the ‘Amsterdam’ set sail for the Dutch East Indies, but ran aground near Hastings on the English coast. The crew survived but the ship was lost. Board the ‘Amsterdam’ and experience how 350 crew were crammed in very small spaces. The captain and officers’ quarters were equally small but slightly more comfortable.
The Maritime Museum Building
The Maritime Museum is located in a historical naval warehouse, ‘s Lands Zeemagazijn, a storage depot of equipment needed on the Dutch war fleet such as ropes and sails but also ammunition and weapons. The museum stands on an artificial island in Amsterdam harbour and is supported by 1800 wooden piles sunk deep into the marshy soil. The building is constructed round an inner courtyard that has recently been covered by a glass roof with tiny LED lights that give the impression of a star-sparkling sky.
National Maritime Museum
Opening Hours: Daily: 09.00-17.00 hrs
Closed on 1 January, 27 April and 25 December