|Similar The National Maritime, Amsterdam, Oost‑Indisch Huis, Oosterkerk, Montelbaanstoren|
's Lands Zeemagazijn (English: The Arsenal) was the former arsenal of the Admiralty of Amsterdam, located near the Kattenburgerplein in Amsterdam. Designed by Daniël Stalpaert and constructed in 1655/1656, it is an example of Dutch Baroque architecture.
In the year 1650 the government of Amsterdam decided to build three islands on the eastern edge of the city, the wharf of the navy was to be placed on the westernmost island, Kattenburg. A few years later this would also be the building site of the arsenal. Construction started in 1655 after the Dutch lost the First Anglo-Dutch War and there was a dire need to professionalize the navy in order to protect the merchant fleet.
The foundation of the building consists of 2300 wooden poles from Oslo and the building itself is constructed entirely out of brick. Two years after its completion, in 1658, Joost van den Vondel dedicated a poem to the Zeemagazijn.
During the first half of the eighteenth century the admiralty noticed that the building was slowly sinking into the ground, a common problem with building projects in Amsterdam. Some construction errors during the laying of the foundation plus the weight of the building and the peat soil of Amsterdam combined in a hazardous situation. To stop this from happening, buttresses were added to the base of the building and an Avant-corps was constructed on four sides of the building.
In 1791 a great fire broke out and charred the entire building. Instead of breaking it down and constructing a new arsenal in its place, the decision was made to plaster the building to imitate sandstone, giving its distinctive white look it has today. After the French invasion in 1795 the Dutch Admiralties are disbanded and a national navy is formed, the function of the arsenal changed as well. It no longer stored cannons, ropes and gunpowder but clothing and food. After the French leave, the building is given to the newly formed Dutch navy and will stay that way until 1973.
Dutch Maritime Museum
In 1972 the building was announced to be the location of the Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum (English: Dutch Maritime Museum), the navy didn't see any use for the building and the foundation of the Maritime Museum needed a larger building to display their various objects. After moving the collection of the museum from the Cornelis Schuytstraat in the southern part of Amsterdam to the Zeemagazijn, the museum was officially opened by Queen Beatrix on April 13, 1973.
A new renovation project was planned to take place from 2007-2011. On October 1, the Maritime Museum was reopened by Queen Beatrix. New additions to the building are the glass and steel roof, designed by Laurent Ney and based upon the lines of a compass on sea charts. In total it weighs 200.000 kilo (160.000 kilo steel and 40.00 kilo glass), because the building is slanted (an effect from the sinking in the eighteenth century) every piece of glass was to be cut individually. A replica of the East Indiaman The Amsterdam can also be visited from the Maritime Museum.