The National Maritime Museum, the Netherlands
Tales of the High Seas
- Het Scheepvaartmuseum
- Het Scheepvaartmuseum
A master of the seas
The Netherlands is a nation built on its maritime history. Its modern global status is indubitably a consequence of its past naval prowess, seafaring merchants and long list of imperial explorers. Amsterdam’s Het Scheepvaartmuseum, or National Maritime Museum, is where this story is told. Set in an imposing 17th-century naval store, the museum explores how Dutch society is deeply connected to the maritime world.
We worked with the museum’s team to reimagine two of its most important permanent galleries: Shipping and Trade in the Golden Age and Port Today. With a special focus on attracting a younger audience, we designed and delivered an experience full of excitement, interactivity and immersive techniques.
Paintings come to life to tell stories from long ago
In Shipping and Trade in the Golden Age, you are taken along a network of waterways from the countryside to Amsterdam and out to the open seas. Displays of nautical instruments and models of ships are interspersed with media installations that give a sense of the Golden Age’s atmosphere – the bustling ports, the reverberations of cannon fire, the drama of life on the sea. Rembrandt and Vermeer’s paintings are given a surprising twist as they spring to life to give you first-hand retellings of stories from the high seas.
An interactive, multimedia exploration
The Port Today gallery reveals the inner workings of modern Amsterdam’s high-tech global container port. An animated model of the port runs along the entire length of the gallery while projections create a 3D, wraparound theatrical experience that brings the model to life. Interactives go behind the scenes to explore the port’s complex operations and a recreated controller’s cabin puts you in the shoes of the harbour master.
Next comes a high-impact, immersive ride. Visitors become cargo as they step inside a shipping container which lifts into the air and transports them to the ship, through the Suez, from the port to the supermarket shelf. This worm’s-eye view shows how the waters connect worlds.
Museums + Heritage Awards for Excellence, International Award 2012
European Museum of the Year 2013
The Artifex Award for Cultural Entrepreneurship 2012