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First of the big Amsterdam museums to open after their drawn out renovation – reconstructed and modernized in 2011, The National Maritime Museum, is located a bit off Amsterdam center, near the city old harbor. A huge historical building of s’Lands Zeemagazijn – the main land store of the Amsterdam Admiralty, which has been used until 1973 by the Dutch Navy, became the modern multimedia museum with a rich 60000 volumes maritime library, as well as restaurant and a museum shop.
The museum building dates from 1656, it was designed by Daniël Stalpaert one of the best architect from that time. To construct it on the artificial island created in the Amsterdam harbor, 1800 wooden piles had to be sunk deep into the muddy ground. It is here, that the war ships of the Dutch Republic were equipped.
During the recent renovation, a vast space of the building inner courtyard has been covered by a glass roofing, creating a pleasant space.
The replica of the three masted “Amsterdam”, a large vessel of the Dutch East India Company, which in its maiden journey to Batavia sank in a storm in the English Channel in winter of 1749, stands high above the waters of Ij Bay, directly at the museum quay. The wreck of the ship has been discovered off the English coast in 1969, and the museum replica has been completed in 1990. Visiting the ship, you may see how small and primitive spaces were to house 350 people during the ship’s journey, with more comfortable but equally minute quarters for the ship’s captain and officers.
The museum has a rich and colorful collection of maritime artifacts and it takes hours just to walk through its show. The collection has been divided into several smaller exhibits on diverse themes. Just to list the most important - ‘See You in the Golden Age’, ‘Port 24/7’, ‘Voyage at Sea’, ‘The Ship Decorations’, ‘The Navigational Instruments’ and the themes addressed to kids from age of 6 - ‘The Tale of the Whale’, ‘My Expo' and ‘Sal and Yori and Circus Sea’.