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Dare to Discover

A virtual trip back to the Golden Age

In the 17th century, Amsterdam grew from a humble settlement into a prosperous global trade centre. Starting 14 December 2017, Het Scheepvaartmuseum (the Maritime Museum) will offer you the opportunity to take a stroll among the sailors and their historical three-masters from around the world, using the Virtual Reality glasses of VR Journey Dare to Discover. 

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Booming Amsterdam

When the Dutch East India Company (VOC) was founded in 1602, nobody could have imagined that within the next 100 years the Dutch Republic would be transformed into the centre of global trade, with Amsterdam as the undisputed hub.

This economic growth also left a strong imprint on the cityscape, as we still see today. The Palace on Dam Square, the Plantage neighbourhood, the Westerkerk church; all of these historic monuments date back to the 17th century.

The world-famous ring of canals also underwent a major expansion in those days: the Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht were dug and wealthy merchants were quick to line the new canals with their stately mansions.

The less fortunate were relegated to newly-built popular districts, such as the Jordaan. The huge influx of immigrants contributed to a quadrupling of the population; in one century, the city of Amsterdam grew from 50,000 to 200,000 residents.

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A time machine

On 14 December 2017, Het Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam will launch a spectacular Virtual Reality journey through time, entitled ‘Dare to Discover – a VR Journey’. This VR, presented on board the VOC vessel ‘Amsterdam’, will transport museum visitors back to the Golden Age. During their journey, visitors will fly over the historic harbour of Amsterdam and watch the region develop quickly into a busy port. Without its harbour, Amsterdam would have been nothing more than an oversized fishing village. Even the harbour was working overtime in the Golden Age. 

Once you’ve found a spot in the hold of the ‘Amsterdam’, grab your VR glasses and begin your time travel. See first-hand how the Zeemagazijn – the site of the current museum – is built in record time and how merchants from every corner of the world haul their goods to shore around the Montelbaanstoren tower. Watch the building of a war vessel and attend the launch. There you are, on shore, surrounded by emotional family members, waving goodbye to a ship packed with sailors, soldiers and other sea dogs, as it sets sail on its long journey east. 

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Watch closely

If you pay close attention during this VR Journey, you may spot a man in a boat, busily sketching. That is maritime painter Reinier Nooms, whose masterpiece ‘Gezicht op het IJ met 's Lands Zeemagazijn te Amsterdam’ (‘View of the river IJ with 's Lands Zeemagazijn’) forms the starting point for the Dare to Discover exhibition. And isn't that...? It sure is! Careful viewers may also spot Michiel de Ruyter, the legendary Dutch admiral, and his wife, walk by.

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