Het Scheepvaartmuseum (The National Maritime Museum) will open an entirely new permanent presentation on 10 May 2019, namely Main Gallery: Republic at Sea. The Main Gallery, located in the north wing of the museum, is the starting point of the museum visit. Taking 50 masterpieces from its own collection as the basis, Republic at Sea tells the story of the growth, prosperity, and decline of the Netherlands as a maritime nation during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Main Gallery: the new starting point for museum visits

The new Main Gallery, where the objects featured in Republic at Sea are on display, forms the starting point for museum visits. Paintings, model ships, globes, silver, glass, porcelain, and weapons show how strongly the maritime world and Dutch society have been connected over the centuries. Water has shaped the history of the Netherlands and has determined its role and status in the world. Visitors will experience how naval battles, trading companies, and art in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are strongly related to the close relationship between the Netherlands and water.

Famille noire figure of a standing man, porcelain with enamel. China, Kangxi period (1662-1722), circa 1720. The National Maritime Museum, 2018.0652.

Uglier sides of the Golden Age

In these new presentations, Het Scheepvaartmuseum also shows the uglier sides of the Golden Age, including colonial domination, violence, and slavery. To help in telling this story, Het Scheepvaartmuseum acquired two important new pieces in 2018: a portrait of Admiral Cornelis Tromp by Ferdinand Bol and a Chinese famille noire porcelain statuette of a standing figure. These objects place the often-overplayed success stories from our maritime history in a more balanced perspective.

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