Amsterdam Scheepvaartmuseum: dresscode cocktail

Yesterday, 8 September 2018,  evening two exhibitions opened at the Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam.

Dresscode: cocktail. It turned out that most people had followed the instructions.



One exhibition is Sea of Tranquillity by Hans Op den Beeck.

Press info from the museum:

‘It Portrays a mysterious and decadent imaginary cruise ship, dreamed up by the artist. ‘…’This highly-acclaimed exhibition has made its way around Europe, having previously been on show at museum in Belgium, France, Switserland, and Spain. ‘

It is very worthwhile to visit. Unfortunately, we have not been able to see the film because of the crowds. An impression:




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The other exhibition is MS Oranje/Changing course.

This ship was launched exacly eighty years ago on 8 September 1938.

Press info: ‘It was originally built as a luxurious passenger liner in the late 1930s, sailing between the Dutch East Indies and the Netherlands. It later served as a hospital ship during the Second World War. After the war, thousands of people travelled from Indonesia to the Netherlands on board the Oranje, making their way to a new home and a new life in Europe. The two-part exhibition sheds light on both the history of the ship and the personal stories of those post-war migrants. MS Oranje | Changing course is open until 18 July 2019. ‘…

‘ The Second World War has just begun, with the allies declaring war on Germany just as the Oranje sets off on its maiden voyage as a passenger ship on 4 September 1939. This turns out to be its only such voyage for a long time due to the war. Scheduled services between the Netherlands and Dutch East Indies are promptly suspended and the Oranje is forced to change course. The ship is transformed into a floating hospital, bringing injured allied soldiers back home from the front to safety. From 1946 onwards, the Oranje gradually resumes its original role as a passenger ship, but the glory days of ocean liners are already over.

After the Japanese surrender and the ensuing Indonesian National Revolution leading to independence, the first of thousands of migrants set sail from the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia) to the Netherlands. An estimated 300,000 people made the voyage to their new home between 1945 and 1965. A few thousand of them travelled on the Oranje, the ship that changed the course of their lives. ‘

Again: unfortunately, we have not been able to see the film (interviews Koen Verbaak) because of the crowds.

Verbraak spoke to ten people who travelled from Indonesia to the Netherlands on board the Oranje. These personal stories about leaving the land of their birth, their time on board, and their new lives in the Netherlands are told in a moving film. The film is screened as part of the exhibition, and powerful portraits of the individuals concerned – taken by photographer Jitske Schols – are also on display.

An impression of the exhibition:


This evening had a special extra: the friend I brought with me, Irène Kensmil, brought old photos with her. The exhibition reminded her of the journey she made, from Surinam to the Netherlands, by boat (The MS Oranje Nassau !) at the age of six.  She has a few mostly visual memories of this journey.


We had a nice time and the band, from Belgium, played on.


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    1. Hi Jacqueline. Ik heb deze tentoonstellingen niet gemaakt. Tot mijn verrassing kreeg ik een uitnodiging. Irène en ik waren dus gewoon bezoekers van de opening. Voor de tentoonstelling in het Haags Historisch Museum kon ik maar weinig mensen uitnodigen i.v.m. de beperkte ruimte. Heel veel mensen hebben toen geen uitnodiging gekregen, helaas. Liefs Esther

  1. Was jij ook in cocktail? Hihi
    Ik ga later kijken…

    Met vriendelijke groet,

    Mirjam Westen
    Curator contemporary art
    +3126 3031433


    Temporary address:
    p/a Weerdjesstraat 70
    6811 JE Arnhem



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    1. Hi Mirjam: soort van cocktail: nagels knalrood gelakt (ze trokken de aandacht van cameravrouw), lippen gestift, rok, en met tressen versierd jasje. Maar de hoge hakken thuis gelaten. Vriendin Irene daarentegen had zilveren (nep) slangenleren pumps en zwarte “cocktail” jurk. Leuk om weer eens op te doffen.

  2. Hallo Esther ,

    Mooi weer, is kijken of k daar met Johanna naar toe kan.

    Vriendelijke groet,


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