‘s Lands Zeemagazijn / Het Scheepvaartmuseum

A construction of a Dutch architect, Daniël Stalpaert, this magnificent structure represents the glory of the Dutch Republic. This is the only suitable introduction that I can make, for indeed, nothing can speak of the sense of mission that this country had in that time than the way this structure looks and feels. A purpose-built building for a purpose.

This was built in nine months…

I wonder what the residents of Amsterdam and the other provinces must have thought to see their recent defeat in a conflict with the ancient enemy (once ally, once enemy, does it really matter?) now promisingly changed towards future potential. A place to arm our new ships, a place to prepare for war as it should have been done in the first place, had been built.

I found the museums inside the present structure enthralling though perhaps not as large as I would have hoped, and the bookshop was quite minimal. Then again, there was a library which was more than I had hoped for, so perhaps that’s a very temporary reverse.

What was particularly powerful to see were the selected naval paintings kept in one of the upper galleries. It truly reminded that though Pocock and others are much admired in the world, the Dutch realm created the naval artists as well as the navymen who would sail around the world and establish a considerable country that would stretch across all continents and oceans.

Indeed, in my wonderings around this place, what I appreciated most was perhaps the sense that true giants once walked this place. The rooms were dedicated to names I know too little about, and yet these people directed events in the entire world, to allow me a bit of exaggeration. A beautiful building and a beautiful story behind it all — and perhaps, for me, the biggest regret was that this story of the Zeemagazijn was the least well told amongst all the others present here.

The flag still flies from the Amsterdam

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