When you go to Amsterdam it is very easy to Notice that there is a large VOC ship near the city centre. This ship is part of the National Maritime Museum. Today I would like to tell you more about this museum and take you with me on a trip along the Dutch maritime history! Lets go!
What is the National Maritime Museum, Amsterdam?
The National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam or in Dutch Het scheepvaartmuseum hosts one of the biggest collection of maritime collections of the world. The items include paintings, shipmodels, instruments and maps. It has a big collection of Dutch Maritime objects which cover the Dutch Maritime History.
The building and its location.
The museum is located in ‘s Lands Zeemagazijn (National sea arsenal). After loosing the first Anglo-Dutch war it was decided that the Dutch Navy needed to professionalise in order to protect Dutch trade. Three islands were build in the Oosterdok. At one of the islands this building was constructed in 1655-1656 the other islands were used as warf to construct more ships.
From 1655 untill 1795 the Dutch Admiralty used the building. In 1795 a national Navy was formed which controlled the building until 1973.
From 1973 the building is in use as National maritime Museum of the Netherlands. It also has a library with one of the largest maritime book collections in the world!
Tickets & opening hours
Admission fee of the National Maritime Museum:
|Children under 3 years||Free|
|Children between 4-17 years||€ 8,00|
|Adults (>18 years)||€ 16,50|
|Members of Vereeniging & het Compagnie Fonds||free|
|Museumcard, ICOM card, I amsterdam City card, Rembrandt Society Members||free|
Opening hours of the National Maritime Museum:
The Museum is open every day of the year except for Kingsday (27th April), Christmas day (25 dec) and New Years Day (jan 1).
|Museum||Tuesday- Sunday 10:00-17:00 closed on monday|
|Museum shop||Tuesday- Sunday 10:00-17:00 closed on monday|
|Library||Tuesday- Friday 10:00-17:00|
The museum is accesible for people with disabilities. The Museum building itself has elevators to all facilities and exhibition floors. The VOC ship Amsterdam is partly accesible (only the decks).
Adress & website
1018 KK Amsterdam
tel. 020 523 2222
How to get to the National Maritime Museum
From the railway station it is about 20 minute walk (1.6km) to the National Maritime Museum.
You can either walk the north side, parallel to the railway, along the embankment of the Oosterdokkade. Or go south along the Prins hendrikkade.
Click here to see the location in google maps so you can plan your own route.
Things to do at the National Maritime Museum
Things to do at the National maritime Museum in Amsterdam:
- Real ships:
- Visit the Replica of a 1750’s VOC Indiaman: Amsterdam
- Have a look at the Royal Barge, made for King Willem I in 1816-1818
- Visit the 1900’s Steam ship Christiaan Brunings.
- Main Gallery: 50 masterpiece paintings and shipmodels of the Dutch Republic at Sea
- Modelships: a room full of (yacht) modelships, both old and new.
- Navigational instruments: Learn how people navigated the seas over the centuries
- Maps & Marvels: about maps of the 16th and 17th century
- ship decorations: decorations and figureheads of ships.
- The tale of the whale: an exhibition about the whale and whaling
- Amsterdam port & city: About the Amsterdam port and its history with the sea.
- Temporary exhibition: Curently about how the colonial past influenced the Banda islands in Indonesia.
- Interactive room: Virtual reality, relive 17th century Amsterdam
How much time to spend in National Maritime Museum?
I would say one morning or afternoon (Aprox. 4 hours) would be enough to visit the National Maritime Museum. Keep in mind that as soon as you arrive at the museum you need to book a timeslot to visit the VOC ship. Especially during COVID not too many visitor are allowed on the ship at the same time. While you wait for the timeslot you can visit the other exhibitions.
I think you should definitely see the VOC East-Indiaman, the Royal barge and the Main gallery. Also the exhibition on Maps and Navigational instruments are very much worth the visit.
I would say the ship decorations exhibition and the virtual reality tour are things I would put on the might see list. The ship decorations are wooden ornaments of different shape and size. The virtual reality puts you into 17th century Amsterdam which in itself is quite fun. I personally didn’t try this but you can find part of this VR experience online I think.
The temporary Exhibition about the Banda islands I personally found very interesting too If it weren’t for a temporary exhibition I would put it at Must see. So whenever you visit the museum check upon what the temporary exhibition of that moment is. I’m pretty sure the museum will do their best to showcase something good!
If you are in a hurry or don’t have time to spend a long time in the Museum I would recommend skipping the exhibitions about Amsterdam Port, whaling and the Modelships as they don’t really show any special or unique objects.
Is the National Maritime Museum worth a visit?
I would say the National Maritime Museum (scheepvaartmuseum) in Amsterdam should definitely be on your list when visiting Amsterdam. At least a visit to the Main gallery and the East Indiaman Amsterdam is worth a visit..
The main gallery shows the best of the best Maritime paintings of the Dutch Naval history depicting many naval battles and the Amsterdam is one of very few replicas of 17-18th century dutch sailing ships you can visit. It is the only one close to the city of Amsterdam. (The other ones are the larger east-india ship the batavia, or the smaller Halve maen and witte swaen.
You will definitely enjoy this Museum!