Closed since Januari 2007 the Scheepvaartmuseum has been completely renovated and is again open.
It was a very interesting museum which I visited some years ago.
The replica of the VOC (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie) commercial ship "Amsterdam" is back at the quay.
The original Amsterdam sailed up the North Sea in 1749. In a raging storm the East Indiaman soon sank on the south coast of England. The wreck has provided archaeologists with valuable information about the construction of VOC ships, their cargoes and life on board.
Connoisseurs of maritime construction are not enthusiast about this replica.
In order to allow demonstrations of gun shooting the gun deck with 16 replicas had its height increased. The Dutch visitors from now are about 25 cm taller than the 18th. c. crew. But to keep the overall height of the ship correct the height of the upper deck with the captain's cabin has been decreased so that only children can enter the cabin!
Interesting are the details of the life on board for the eight months trip to Asia.
Open 7 days a week from 9 am to 5 pm.
Price 15.00 euros, adults (18 and up).
12.00 euros, groups of 15 or more (reservation required)
7.50 euros, children 5-17, seniors (65 and older),
Free, children aged 0-4, Museumkaart (National Museum Pass).
This is a replica of the Dutch East Indiaman which sunk off of the English south coast in 1748 with 336 people on board on its maiden voyage.
I found this a particularly interesting *must see* while visiting Amsterdam because I have seen parts of the wreck of this ship at low tide on several occasions, not far from my home on the coast.
The museum is open daily during
Sept-May 10am-5pm Tues-Sun
The Scheepvaart Museum (The Netherlands Maritime Museum) is located in the a former navy building, built in year 1656.
It's open for visitors from Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 to 17:00. In the summer months, June to September it's also open on Mondays. A normal entry ticket cost 7.50 EUR.
The Music Theater is a modern venue to see not only musical performances, but also ballet and modern dance. It's located on the eastern end of town. If you look at this picture, you'll notice that the sky looks pretty ominous. Well, only a few moments after I took this picture, it began to hail. What's up with the weather in Amsterdam?!!
I had visited this museum years ago before the renovation and found it interesting except the VOC Amsterdam sail ship replica because the proportions, height of the decks, have not been respected.
It seems to me that the museum is hesitating between functioning as a playground for children with the rooms of the West wing and the VOC replica and a scientific-historical approach in the East Wing with a display of an extensive collection of navigation instruments, globes (for specialists), a collection of maritime models of Dutch yachts old and new. I was more pleased visiting the room on the ship ornaments and maritime paintings.
Probably that as a child I would like the Scheepsvaartmuseum but as an amateur of maritime sailing matters and history having visited maritime museums of the EU like Paris-Trocadero, Lisbon-Belem, Madrid, Greenwich, I can only say that what I saw now in Amsterdam was disapointing and not worth the 15 € entry price. I would even say that one will learn more about the Dutch maritime power by visiting the Rijksmuseum with several rooms about this subject.
The building from 1656, the Dutch Golden Age, is interesting because it was a storehouse (arsenal) for the Admiralty of Amsterdam at a time when Amsterdam was the largest port and market place in the world.
The four wings are surrounding an inner courtyard that has been covered with glass.
Open: every day 9.00 - 17.00 h
Price: normal 15 €.
To reach it you can walk (15 minutes) from the Central Station to the east along the Prins Hendrikkade or take bus 22 or 48 stopping across the Victoria Hotel.
I didn't go in here as I am not a huge fan of old ships and boats... but I was on one of the tour boats when I took the photo :)... anyway.. I guess it would be interesting if you are into all things nautical.
The imposing building of this museum houses the national museum of maritime history. It tells the story of sea travel from ancient history to more recent times.
Moored along side the museum building, is a full scale model of the "Amsterdam". It was one of the largest ships in the fleet of the United East India Company.
This former National Naval Depot is built in 1656 by Daniel Stalpaert and is built on 18.000 piles and from 1973 is it rebuilt to a museum. It has one of the largest maritime collections of the world.
There are special events scheduled regularly. One of the fantastic spectacles is the mustering of the crew of Dutch East Indiaman on the replica Amsterdam. However during the whole year the ship is manned. The stalwart sea dogs unload the cargo, scrub the deck and sing old shanties.
In general: open daily except on Monday.
In the dock next to the "Scheepvaartmuseum" (Nautical Museum) one sees the wonderful replica of the VOC sailing ship, the "Amsterdam". This ships sank on it's maiden voyage to the East Indies and has been rebuild to give people the impression how the life on these ships was in those times. By the way, the VOC was the first stock-valued company in the world and for a long time - by far - the largest.
If I was a child I would love this replica of an 18th c. "Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie" sailing ship "East Indiaman" showing the details of the life on board for the eight months trip to Asia. On my first visit in 2007 there were even demonstrations of gun shooting and cooking on board! Children like to play pirates in that ship, so if you are in Amsterdam with kids go there, they will like.
It must be said that such a cargo ship (called in Dutch spiegelretourschip) was armed with 42 guns, like a navy frigate, and could defend herself against hostile vessels; the VOC ships were not easy preys for pirates!
The original VOC Amsterdam sailed up the North Sea in 1749. In a raging storm the rudder broke off and the ship, helpless in the storm, grounded in the mud and sand near Hastings. Most of the 335 persons on board were saved. At that time the wreck received a lot of interest from looters because the cargo included silver coinage. At very low tide the wreck is still visible and is protected. The wreck has provided archaeologists with valuable information about the construction of VOC ships, their cargoes and life on board.
As I already wrote after my former visit connoisseurs of maritime construction are not enthusiast about this replica 46 m long.
In order to allow demonstrations of gun shooting the gun deck with 16 replicas had its height increased. The Dutch (autochthon) visitors from now are about 25 cm taller than the 18th. century crew. But to keep the overall height of the ship correct the height of the upper deck with the captain's cabin has been decreased so that only children can enter the cabin as you can see from my photo! On the other hand one can visit the gun deck where the crew slept among the guns without having to wear a safety helmet what would have been the case if the original rather low headroom had been respected.
As it is not an exact replica due to the concessions made to allow its tourist exploitation I still wonder why they did not increase the overall height. Nobody would see that the height above water of the stern would be higher than the original ship.
The price of the visit is included in that of the Museum: 15 € for adults, 7,50 € for children 5-17 years.
Visiting the Amsterdam Museums like the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Museum, Scheepvaart (Maritime) Museum and many other museums, churches or monuments it is difficult to avoid the word VOC.
So what is the VOC?
VOC is not Volatile Organic Compounds (lol) but the VEREENIGDE OOSTINDISCHE COMPAGNIE (United East India Company) established in 1602 with a monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia. It is often considered to have been the first multinational corporation in the world possessing quasi-governmental powers. In the 17th and 18th century the VOC sent almost a million Europeans to work in the Asia trade on 4.785 ships with a traffic of 2.5 million tons of Asian trade goods on sailing ships like the VOC Amsterdam. This was five times more than the English nearest competitor.
The VOC established a capital in the port city of Batavia (now Jakarta). The VOC consisted of six Chambers (Kamers) in port cities of which Amsterdam was the most important.
The crew on these VOC armed merchant ships was between 200 and 300. There was a strict separation between the officers and rich passengers and the sailors and soldiers (intended to serve in Asia) living in a crowded space during six to twelve months. My photo (1) shows the typical flag of a VOC ship.
VOC ships were engaged in battles as can be seen from this pen painting from Willem van de Velde the Elder showing a battle against the English in the port of Bergen, Norway in 1665 (photo 2).
Other replicas have been constructed of several VOC ships such as the Batavia in Lelystad.
Finally what I liked in this museum is the collection of marine paintings on the second floor of the east wing.
Since many years I'm a fan of Dutch marine pen paintings showing a detailed image of ships' rigging and the motion of the sea. The most famous pen painter was Willem van de Velde the Elder. He accompanied the Dutch war fleet in a small vessel and made sketches from which later he made pen paintings in his studio.
My photo 1 shows a fleet of Dutch frigates at anchor near the coast during the first Anglo-Dutch War (1653).
His son Willem van de Velde the Younger excelled in marine paintings (photo 2) and worked for the King of England.
Another famous marine painter is Ludolf Backhuysen. See the details of the warship "Vrijheid" on photo 3 from his pen painting and the "Return of warship Hollandia" oil on canvas painting (photo 4 - around 1650) .
Other maritime artists emerged like Aert van der Neer leaving the heroic deeds of ocean-going vessels for river landscapes with barges like this beautiful landscape at night (photo 5 - around 1650).
Much later came the impressionist painters like H.W. Mesdag with paintings of the North Sea coast.
I wish I had one of these at home.
From the enormous amount of museums and attractions I would like to point out three to you.
Scheepvaartmuseum (nautical museum) tells the success story of Amsterdam during the glorious VOC-times. The VOC (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie = United Eastindies Company) was the first (stockholding) company in the world and built the Dutch colonial empire, that long time was bigger the the English Commonwealth (only the Spanish competed). At this museum is also a replica of a Eastindies-sailingship: the “Amsterdam”. This magnificent ship was a kind of Titanic for it’s time, as it shipwrecked on it’s first journey to the Dutch Indies. On board of this replica one finds (in weekend and holidays) also actors that simulate the life then. The museum is situated in the former Navy Arsenal, the place where the Dutch navy stored it’s weapons, guns, nautical gear and (an small amount of) gunpowder.
The naval museum is supposed to be one or perhaps the best of its kind in the world. Its a large building with several floors stuffed full of interesting exhibits. There's something for everyone here, from outstanding oil paintings to porceclain from the Far East they brought back, as well as historical artifacts and a preserved man'o'war. I liked the maps. There are excellent exhibits of the Dutch experience in the Far East and the cost is only 3 euros or so. The only down side to this one is that most of the explanations are in Dutch with only the topic sentences in English. If you speak English and you speak German, you should be able to figure out most of what they say though.
The Maritime Museum is an incredible facility to visit, both for the structure itself and the contents within. Housed in the National Naval Depot, the former arsenal of the Dutch Navy and over 300 years old, it's a fine collection of ship models and artifacts attesting to the might and history of the Dutch during their height of world power. Housed within is the actual Royal Barge once used by Dutch royalty, and outside on the water is a full-scale replica of the Dutch East Indiaman Amsterdam ship that you can tour. The actual one sank off the coast of England on its maiden voyage.