Day 7 in Amsterdam – Visiting Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum

Up front disclosure: this was the worst museum we visited in Amsterdam. And according to Wikipedia, it’s famously bad:

In 2013, there was a deadly shooting incident during the “Waterfront” festivity at the museum.[8] For the next three months, the museum was not allowed to rent out its space. After 2013, the number of visitors started to decline and director Willem Bijleveld, who had supervised the renovation of 2011, departed after a tenure of 18 years. The museum was criticised for having become too commercial for a cultural institution and having been turned into an amusement park.[9] The “Raad van Cultuur” – a government board that monitors cultural activity in the Netherlands and advises the government on subsidies for museums – judged that the Scheepvaartmuseum had focused too much on entertainment and not enough on its task as a museum.[10]

The building is cool, and there’s lots to look at, but the educational component is questionable at best.

When we visited the naval museum in Madrid, I found it had too much information. The Dutch National Maritime Museum, or Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum, had the exact opposite problem. It feels more like a light entertainment centre for kids.

We started our day out with a long walk through the city, so we headed right for lunch at the museum. The in-house restaurant was great, and we had a delightful lunch.

We then headed outside to the boat element of the museum’s ‘collection’. It was interesting but not that educational and, oh my god, there were kids everywhere!

Our favourite exhibit was all about Dutch shipping and ports. As a major shipping centre, the Netherlands have some serious port facilities and enormous-sized ships. We were able to take a virtual tour of a ship and journey along the shipping route that goes through Amsterdam. We also saw some cool exhibits about maps and navigational instruments. You can learn more about the range of exhibits here. For me, the range of interesting to boring was too wide. Visiting a museum requires a certain mindset, and if that gets thrown off, it can be hard to switch back into ‘learning’ mode.

Overall, we didn’t learn much, but we did take a lot of photos! Check ’em out!

(Note, if it seems like this post is out of order, that’s because it is. I forgot to click ‘publish’ months ago!)


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