no netherlands without the sea

When you think of the Netherlands, the first thing that may come to mind is dikes. But think about the sea behind the dikes and how much of Dutch prosperity, culture and identity is owed to the people who saw the opportunities the sea gives us and sailed out to seize these opportunities. Het Scheepvaartmuseum, The National Maritime Museum, tells their stories.

The museum is a true Amsterdam landmark. Just a short walk from Amsterdam Central Station, you will find Het Scheepvaartmuseum in one of the city’s largest 17th century buildings, a storehouse for the Dutch war fleet dating from 1656.

Het Scheepvaartmuseum houses one of the world's biggest collections of nautical art and artefacts, including globes, paintings, ship models and more. The collection is the backbone of fascinating exhibitions about the Netherlands and the country's elemental connection with the sea. Our exhibitions also show the darker side of the romance and adventure at sea, such as the Netherlands’ role as coloniser and oppressor. Furthermore, they connect the past and present and can highlight current issues such as globalisation and the environment in a historical perspective.

Visitors of Het Scheepvaartmuseum can experience the sea stories of yesterday and today. The museum also offers special exhibits for parents and children. And the replica of the Dutch East Indiaman the Amsterdam, docked alongside the quay, is perhaps the museum’s biggest attraction, literally and figuratively.

Het Scheepvaartmuseum’s restaurant, library and spectacular inner courtyard are free to the public and are wonderful places to stop and enjoy our monumental, historic building in the charming heart of Amsterdam.