Amsterdam is forever marked by its historic role as one of the most important ports in the world, an iconic Capital city both geographically and culturally defined by its intricate system of concentric canals. The Amsterdam National Maritime Museum not only celebrates the rich naval history of the Dutch, but also uncovers an important mutual relationship between naval transport and the arts. Unlike transportation museums that focus on the utilitarian components of ships, the National Maritime Museum—through a series of exhibitions featuring maps, yacht models, paintings, and ship decorations—cultivates an aesthetic understanding and appreciation of maritime history. It was without question, an insightful and welcoming new museum experience.
|"Battle of Gilbraltar" (1621)|
|Hans Savery the Elder's "Sea Monster" is seen on the bottom left corner|
|"The Warship Hollandia in Full Sail" (1630)|
|Ornamentation on the Royal Barge|
Overall, the National Maritime Museum of Amsterdam offers a unique way of understanding the history of the Netherlands and its people. The exhibitions work as a “ship’s compass” to guide visitors back to the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century through exposure to historical color atlases, surreal maritime paintings, ship decorations, and even a life-sized replica of the “Amsterdam,” an 18th-century cargo ship of the Dutch East India Company. The exhibits work hand in hand to expand the understanding and perception of the maritime landscape, from purely practical, utilitarian, and economically driven, to one more deeply rooted in tradition, aesthetic appreciation, and romanticism.