Growing up in Rotterdam, there were always plenty of museums to visit. My favourite museum always was the Maritime Museum. This museum aims to educate visitors on the impact the maritime world has on everyday life. Part of the museum’s collection are historic cranes and ships, situated in the Maritime Museum Harbour (fig. 1). This harbour is located in Rotterdam’s Maritime District, now the city center, where the Port of Rotterdam once flourished. Visitors can view the cranes and ships, and, by doing so, experience how Rotterdam’s world port would have been at the beginning of the twentieth century.
The port is an important part of Rotterdam’s history and development, and the connection the citizens of the city feel to it, is still clearly visible today. The World Port Days, an annual celebration of Rotterdam’s port, which first started around a century ago, is an example of this. This traditional celebration itself is arguably part of the cities intangible heritage, connected to its maritime heritage.
The Maritime Museum Harbour is my favourite maritime heritage, because it shows part of the maritime past of the city where I grew up. Displaying the ships and cranes at the original place of Rotterdam’s port, marks the importance of the port as well as the ships and cranes. Besides this, the harbour brings me a sense of nostalgia, due to the many times I visited the Maritime Museum as a child. I also like the fact that this heritage can be easily viewed by anyone visiting the city. The stunning sailing ship ‘’Annigje’’ (fig. 2) is my personal favourite. This ship was built in 1908 and was mainly used to transport peat. A sailor named Gerrit Hutton, lived and worked on this ship with his family. The personal story behind the ship, and the aesthetic quality of it, make it my favourite thing to view in the Maritime Museum Harbour.
By Catriona Ewing, Rotterdam, student