The National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam Re-Opened

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October 13, 2011 – The National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam (Het Scheepvaartmuseum) has a rich tradition but has now reinvented itself. With a surprising exhibition concept, the museum underlines its leading position in Europe in the presentation of maritime themes. Atelier Brückner from Stuttgart was brought on board to design and execute the object galleries. The museum has been officially opened on the 1st of October in the presence of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

The revered old building an arsenal from the year 1656, will present itself in new splendour (renovation: Dok Architects, Amsterdam). It will feature a new parcours for visitors, who will be able to gain access to the different wings of the building via the central, newly covered inner courtyard (architects: NEY+Partners).

Depending on their interests, they can explore three different exhibition areas: maritime worlds of experience, exhibitions on historical themes or the so-called object galleries. The latter were designed by Atelier Brückner and are primarily intended to speak to visitors who are interested in art and have an affinity with maritime themes. The artistic quality of the exhibits is particularly emphasised.

Het Scheepvaartmuseum, Amsterdam. Object Galleries, Globes. Photo: Michael Jungblut.

The Stuttgart exhibition designers divided the high-quality museum collection into seven object groups. In addition to unique, valuable globes …

Het Scheepvaartmuseum, Amsterdam. Object Galleries, Navigational Instruments. Photo: Michael Jungblut.

… and the important collection of navigation instruments, there are models of ships, maritime paintings, ships’ ornaments, photo albums and hand-crafted items made of glass, silver and porcelain. These are set in scene in an exhibition area of around 1,200 square metres. For each group of objects, a specific narrative space was developed, whereby the exhibition is the starting point and simultaneously an integrative component of the narrative space.

“The market has changed radically”, says museum director Willem Bijleveld. He is convinced that different groups of visitors require different modes of presentation. Therefore, he engaged different designer teams for the individual exhibition units. In addition to Atelier Brückner, Event Communications from London had the job of designing the theme-based exhibitions entitled “See you in the Golden Age” and “Port 24/7” whereas Haley Sharp Design from Leicester were responsible for creating the setting for “The Tale of the Whale”.

Lots of information you may find on the site of the museum.

There is also a video clip of the inauguration ceremony online. You can watch it here.

If you want to learn more about Atelier Brückner, visit its website.

Atelier Brückner designed also an exhibition at Rome: “La moneta dell’Italia unita”. You can find an article on this topic here.

Professor Eberhard Schlag, management partner of Atelier Brückner, gave us an interview speaking about scenography and numismatics. You can read this interview here.