Het Scheepvaartmuseum- The Maritime History Museum

The Maritime History Museum is housed in a quite spectacular building- possibly the most striking museum space in Amsterdam, although the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijke might wade into such a debate.


Much of the building is set aside as courtyard space; a relic from its industrial past. This is now topped with a very modern, compass-inspired roof that marries old and new seamlessly, almost as if this was the original design.


The exhibits are rather minimalist. This suits the building perfectly, but rather retracts from its potential as a museum.


The exhibits feel quite contrived to portray the might and dominance of colonial Dutch trading and warfare. There is very little apology about the atrocities (think profiteering from slavery and warfare) that such power was built upon, which rather glamorizes the era.


Outside, there is a striking Dutch ship. This looks impressive in a picture, but does feel very much like the replica it is once inside.


Overall, worth a visit. But Amsterdam is blessed with 50 or so museums, some of which should be prioritized above the Maritime History Museum.


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