Boarding the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam

The National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam houses one of the largest maritime collections in the world. The maps, tools, models and replicas of ships it houses trace the history of the Netherlands over more than five centuries and show how Holland once became one of the world's greatest trading powers.

Amsterdam's National Maritime Museum.

- © Nick N A / Shutterstock
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The history of the National Maritime Museum Amsterdam

The National Maritime Museum is housed in the former Admiralty Warehouse of Amsterdam, a huge building built in 1656 (it's called the Arsenal) when the city was the largest port in the world. It had the guns, flags and navigational equipment of the navy. Since its construction, the building has always attracted the curious and tourists, especially thanks to the spectacular view of the city that can be admired from the roof. In 1973, the Arsenal was converted into a national museum and since then it has housed the major pieces of Dutch maritime history. In the 2000s it was renovated, giving a second life to this centenary monument.

The superb entrance to Amsterdam's National Maritime Museum.

- © Dennis van de Water / Shutterstock

Why visit the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam?

The National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam traces almost 500 years of Dutch history. In the 17th century, trade was in full swing and Dutch sailors made one discovery after another, establishing more and more trading posts and trade routes, rapidly enriching the country. This led to a wave of progress that propelled Holland to the rank of the world's leading trading power: the Dutch Golden Age.

However, France and England were also large colonial empires and they didn't want the Netherlands to rule the seas so easily, so these three powers fought for a long time to impose their hegemony on Europe. The National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam houses many authentic pieces from this period to the present day, showing visitors the development of techniques and knowledge over the centuries.

King Willem I's royal barge at Amsterdam's National Maritime Museum.

- © InsectWorld / Shutterstock

Outside the museum are three replicas of Dutch warships: the Royal Ship, in service from 1818 to 1962; a Dutch East India Company galleon, sunk in 1762; and the sailing ship Amsterdam, sunk in 1749, which is one of the city's most popular attractions. You can go on board and immerse yourself in the daily life of the Dutch explorers of the time: the confined spaces are very narrow and optimised to accommodate the maximum number of soldiers (up to 350 for the sailing ship Amsterdam!), we can imagine that living conditions were not easy.

Inside the Arsenal, visitors will discover a modern multimedia museum containing tools, maps and atlases, model ships, figureheads and a rich maritime library containing more than 60,000 documents. The exhibits, works and books are arranged in chronological order from the 17th century to the present day.

An old rigging replica at Amsterdam's National Maritime Museum.

- © Alexander Tolstykh / Shutterstock

Climb aboard and immerse yourself in the daily life of the Dutch explorers of the time! Beware, the confined spaces are very narrow and optimised to accommodate as many soldiers as possible (up to 350 for the sailing ship Amsterdam!), so you can only imagine the living conditions.

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Practical information for the National Maritime Museum Amsterdam

Tracing the history of the Netherlands through the centuries, the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam is a must for any visit to Holland. Allow about two hours for a visit to discover the replicas of ships and the most important historical pieces.

How do I get to the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam?

Located in the Oostelijke Eilanden district, the National Maritime Museum Amsterdam is easily accessible on foot or by bike from the city centre, for example it is a 20-minute walk from Amsterdam Centraal station.

It can also be reached by public transport on buses 22 and 43.

Amsterdam's National Maritime Museum.

- © VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock

Opening hours of the National Maritime Museum Amsterdam

The National Maritime Museum Amsterdam is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. During the Dutch school holidays, the museum is also open on Mondays, at the same times.

The museum is closed on 27 April, 25 December and 1 January.

Prices

  • Full price: £15.5
  • Students: £8.5
  • Under 18s: £8.5
  • Under-4 years old: free
  • I amsterdam City Card: free

To find out all the prices and book your tickets, visit the official website of the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam. You can also buy your ticket directly on site.

A few tips for your visit

  • To avoid crowds, it is best to visit the museum at off-peak times, i.e. when it opens or at the end of the day.
  • Free audio guides are available.
  • There is a restaurant in the museum, but you can also bring your own food.
  • Cloakrooms are available and pushchairs are allowed.
  • The National Maritime Museum is accessible to PRMs.
by Editorial Team
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