Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum

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  • Scheepswerf
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  • Erebus
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  • Damsterdiep

On the 10th of January 1930 the Association 'Northern Maritime Museum' was founded. The main goal of the three initiators, Inspector of Navigation T.L. Mellema, the principal of the Maritime School in Groningen H.J. Bartelings and esquire J. Hora Feith, banker and managing director of the Noord-Willemskanaal Maatschappij, was the realisation of a maritime museum for the northern part of The Netherlands.


Within two years they succeeded. On the 31st of May 1932 the Northern Maritime Museum opened its doors in Het Goudkantoor (the gold office) in the Waagstraat, one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings of Groningen. The collection grew and grew in the years afterwards thanks to a lot of donations and purchases.

On the 14th and the 15th of April 1945 a large part of the collection, which was temporarily stored in café De Unie, was destroyed in a fire which burnt nearly the complete northern half of the Grote Markt to the ground. Sixty shipsmodels were lost for ever.

After the war, at first in the Goudkantoor and later in a former schoolbuilding in the Sint Walburgstraat, the collection was built up again. In the seventies the museum moved into two fifteenth century buildings in the Brugstraat: the so-called Gothic house and the Canterhuis. In 1969, the firm Royal Theodorus Niemeyer Ltd. bought the Gothic house and donated it to the municipality with the strict condition that it would get a cultural destination. The Canterhuis was bought in 1974, by the Association Northern Maritime Museum which renovated it, mainly financed from the legacy of Esq. Rhijnvis Feith.

In 1981, the third building was bought. This building, located in the Kleine der A, was at first used as a warehouse and in 1995, after a thorough renovation, furnished as a library, archive and office space. At the opening it was given the name 'Esquire Rhijnvis Feithhouse'. The Northern Maritime Museum aims at making the visitor familiar with the history of shipping and shipbuilding in the northern part of the Netherlands.


Directors of the Northern Maritime Museum

Up to 1981 the title 'director' did not exist. Between 1932 and 1939 the governing board fulfilled the task of director-curator. Particularly Mr J. Hora Feith, T.L. Mellema and H.A. Poelman (State Archivist for Groningen) took it on themselves to take care of the extension of the collection, mostly assisted by J.G. Kramer, the governing board secretary and later caretaker as well. From 1939 up to 1981 the term secretary-curator was used, after Esquire Rhijnvis Feith retired, only the term curator was used.


10-01-1930 till 03-04-1933          Dr. H.A. Poelman          
07-05-1933 till 28-11-1935 A.H. Kastelijn
28-04-1936 till 24-04-1939 K.L. Gaaikema

Curators (i.e. directors)

00-00-1939 tot 24-09-1956         Esquire Rh. Feith 
24-09-1956 tot 03-01-1965   P.C. Dijkema (former captain of the K.P.M.)
01-10-1965 tot 12-04-1973 J. Teensma (port master of Groningen)
12-04-1973 tot 09-04-1981 J.J. Visser (former ships pilot at Curaçao)


09-04-1981 till 01-08-1990  T. Helperi Kimm (former Executive Board secretary of the tobacco firm Theodorus Niemeyer Ltd.)
01-08-1990 till 01-11-1995                Dr. Ph. M. Bosscher (former Navy Commander and former director of the Navy Museum in Den Helder)
01-11-1995 till 01-04-2004         De heer Drs. G.M.W. Acda (former Navy Commander and former flag-officer of the Royal Navy Institute)
02-04-2004 till present day Drs. J. W. van Veen


Bootsma, P.J.E. Op de golven van het tij: 75 jaar Vereniging Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum, (Bedum, 2005)

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