The National Maritime Museum, Amsterdam

The National Maritime Museum has been housed in The Arsenal building since 1973. It was built in 1656 as a storehouse for the Admiralty of Amsterdam and when I visited had this large ship rather spoiling the view.

It had moved high up on my to do list because docked next to it is this fantastic replica of The Amsterdam, a ship which was lost near Hastings in the UK on its maiden voyage in 1749.

It really is the most impressive of ships and you get to walk all the way through, including down into the hold. Work began on the ship in 1985 and it’s been part of the museum since 1991.

One other spectacular ship on display is the Royal Barge. This was commissioned in 1816 by King William I and is decorated with golden ornaments and intricate details. The last time the barge was in use was in 1962 for the silver wedding anniversary of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard.

The interior of the museum is beautiful too, particularly the courtyard. In 2007-2011 the museum was renovated and this glass roof installed, a self-supporting construction made up of thousands of pieces of glass in a metal frame. Each separate area of the museum is named after a point on the compass and apparently on sunny days that is reflected on to the floor of the courtyard.

There are some excellent exhibitions at the museum about various aspects of the Netherlands’ maritime history, from navigation to whaling.


It’s a fascinating museum, very spacious and well laid out over many floors. You can find more photos here.


Categories: Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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