The national Maritime Museum, or in Dutch Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam has been reopened in 2011 after a closure of 4 years to renovate the building and the exhibition. The maritime museum has been best known for its big old paintings: pictures of cracking wooden ships, rolling on endless waves, while dark, stormy clouds hang above, all framed within these typical gold colored frames and plainly hung on the walls on the museum.
Maritime history of The Netherlands
After the renovation, much more than pics of old ships that steel the show, the whole museum has been drenched in a rather mysterious and rough view on the maritime history of The Kingdom of The Netherlands. Dark hallways lead you along dimly lit rooms with mysterious sea maps, compasses, silver and porcelain from seafaring era. Take a closer look at the collection of yacht models with fantastic replica’s of old and new ships, from small fishing boats to 21st century cruise ships, all remarkably well detailed.
The use of video and other modern technology push the Scheepvaartmuseum further into the 21th century. For example there is an interactive globe that allows visitors to ‘travel’ through’ 400 years of nautical charts. In one area with four video screens on all sides, the visitor becomes the ‘product’ being shipped and transported to the supermarket. This can give you a feel of how big the Amsterdam port is and the complexity of the logistics involved.
International Centre for Dutch Whaling
It is no wonder the décors of the reopened Amsterdam Maritime museum are somewhat dramatic: they were designed by a German designer Uwe Brückner, who has a background in the opera world. The museum wants to take a closer look at its own stored collection of items related to whaling and will set up an International Centre for Dutch Whaling, to find out more about the what happened after the fish was caught.
Replica of VOC Ship
One thing has not changed though: The Amsterdam VOC-ship moored next to the museum. It’s an exact copy of the Dutch East India Company Ship, that sunk on its maiden voyage in 1749. You can climb on board and wander around. The interior will give you an idea of how seamen in the colonial ear lived during the 8 months trip to the East (India, Indonesia).
Spectacular new glass roof
Try to stick it out till sunset, (which can’t be difficult in an Amsterdam winter), when the spectacular new glass roof lights up its 868 individually adjustable LED lights. The new roof was the most expensive part of the renovation: a self supporting structure of 200.000 kg.
On all sides heating has been installed just in case it starts to snow. The snow has to be melted an drained as soon as possible, to avoid the roof from coming down because of the extra weight! The roof was designed by Laurent Ney from Luxembourg.
How to get to Maritime Museum and Tickets
Entrance to the inner courtyard and watching the led light show is free. An entrance ticket to the Maritime Museum is €15; €7,50 for kids.
You can also combine a visit to the National Maritime Museum with a 75- minute canal cruise tour for just €25 and book the Secret Amsterdam 75-Minute Cruise and Maritime Museum.
The museum is located east of Amsterdam Central Station (20 minutes walk). You can take a nice walk along the public library and Nemo or along the Prins Hendrikkade. The Maritime museum is also a lot of fund for kids aged 6 years and up.