If you ever walk along the quay in the heart of Amsterdam city, this 17th century majestic building is hard to miss. Scheepvaartmuseum is the Amsterdam National Maritime Museum specialized in displaying everything in relation to ships, shipping, navigation and seafarers.
It is housed in an enormous historical building built in 1656 for the Dutch Navy as a storehouse known as ‘s Lands Zeemagazijn (English: The Arsenal). Its purpose was to store sails, ropes, weapons, ammunition and other maritime equipment till 1973.
The museum was established and officially opened on April 13, 1973. Later, it went through a major renovation in 2007 and reopened again on October 2011. Located along the banks of Ij (pronounce as ‘eye’) waterway, it is about 20 minutes walk from the Amsterdam train station. The National Maritime Museum is now a modernized building with many interactive exhibitions showcasing 500 years of maritime history.
The museum is huge! It is divided into West Wing, North Wing and East Wing, each with multiple levels and an 18th century replica ship moored outside the building named Amsterdam.
Imagine all artifacts associated with this subject such as paintings, anchors, scale models, weapons, photo albums, ship decorations, flags, garments, navigational instruments, atlases and world maps are on display in many rooms throughout the building.
This is a great museum to visit with the kids for a long day out. You will need at least 4 hours to leisurely complete this museum. You can take a break at the beautiful museum restaurant Stalpaert overlooking the water. Depending on the weather, a jacket is necessary if you intend to ‘hang out’ at the ship deck outside the building. Wear your tickets (wristband type) to enter different parts of the maritime museum, for interactive exhibitions and for the free locker system. The West Wing – Tale of the Whale is my kids’ favorite (age 7 & 10 years old) while the ‘Ship Ornaments’ showcase located at the East Wing is mine. Overall, a fantastic family friendly museum!
Website: https://www.hetscheepvaartmuseum.nl (select English)
Opening hours: Everyday 9am -5pm
Entrance fees: €15.00 (adults), €7.50 (5-17yrs) and kids 0-4 years are free
Free entry for Museum Card holder and other cards.
Getting there: 20min scenery walk from Amsterdam Central Station or a 10-12min bus ride with city bus 22 & bus 48 near Amsterdam Central Station and alight at Kadijksplein/ Scheepvaartmuseum.
Click the link to find out about the permanent exhibition at each wings.
Free audio tours in 11 languages.
Free locker provided at basement level.
Next week: Quick bits about Amsterdam, the East Indiaman ship moored outside the National Maritime Museum