Het Scheepvaartmuseum (The National Maritime Museum) proudly presents the exhibition 'Game Changers | Maritime Innovations', open from 6 October 2017 to 1 July 2018 inclusive.

The exhibition shows visitors more than 25 impressive innovations from Dutch maritime history that have influenced not just shipping but also Dutch society as a whole, or have the potential for great influence, as contemporary innovations are also showcased. For instance, there is a reconstruction of the world's first submarine dating from the seventeenth century alongside the futuristic Ortega Submersible, the winner of the Piet de Jong Innovation Award in 2016.


Innovation seems to be omnipresent, and the maritime sector is presented by government as the Dutch national business card for innovation, courage, and entrepreneurial spirit. Innovation is the key to competiveness and the solution to every problem. However rewarding and effortless innovation might seem, the reality of it is often somewhat more problematic. Is innovation really the recipe for progress? And, if so, what are the ingredients for success? Game Changers showcases innovations that changed history as well as failed, time-consuming, and costly attempts.
Michael Huijser, director of Het Scheepvaartmuseum, talks about Game Changers: 'The exhibition tells the stories of surprising and spectacular efforts - as well as disappointing failures - that arose from the determination to create faster, cheaper, safer, and - particularly important in today's world - more sustainable solutions. From the first dredging machine to the recovery of the Russian submarine Kursk, the Netherlands has been a land of maritime innovation for centuries. The Game Changers exhibition shows that innovations and inventions are always connected with human actions.'


Some apparently simple inventions had an enormous impact on the development of the Netherlands. For instance, the gibbing of herring on board ships formed an important impulse for the Dutch fishing industry. This unique fishing method allowed the Dutch to become the biggest suppliers of herring in the sixteenth century, resulting in great economic growth. And without the invention of the sawmill, the Dutch Republic of the Golden Age would never have been able to build the biggest merchant fleet in the world. Game changers shows that the history of maritime innovation and the history of the Netherlands are inextricably linked.


Innovations are always born from a combination of entrepreneurship, business instinct, courage, and curiosity in a person. That is why visitors to this exhibition also get acquainted with the people behind these inventions or innovations. After all, those people are the real 'game changers': the visionary pioneers, dedicated lifesavers, and sometimes also dangerous swindlers.

Inspiring themed weekends

Throughout the duration of the exhibition, Het Scheepvaartmuseum will be holding monthly inspiring themed weekends. On these days, there will be all kinds of extra things to see and do at the museum: intriguing ships, workshops, lectures, and an extensive programme of films and documentaries. Subjects of the themed weekends include steam, gibbing herring, sustainability, navigation, and submarines. The exact programme will be announced on the website of Het Scheepvaartmuseum.