CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Sea of stories

1 August 2020 - 1 August 2025

Sea of stories

Exhibition: 1 August 2020 - 1 August 2025

N.B. please note that the opening and closing dates of this permanent exhibition are indicative only. Please see for current exhibitions in the museum.

Visit Sea of stories, the fascinating, interactive and revamped permanent exhibition for everyone. Meet former as well as current inhabitants of the Zuiderzee region, and listen to their stories about their daily lives, their work, clothes, homes and how they spent what little leisure time they had. About their past and present customs and feasts and fests. And about their eternal struggle against the water and the construction of the dike that changed everything: the Afsluitdijk.

Ships’ hall: a spectacular start of your visit
In the Zuiderzee Museum you will find the largest museum collection of boats in this country. Through audio-visual presentations you can imagine yourself on the Zuiderzee a century ago, when it was a turbulent open sea full of fish, salt water and raging waves – and navigated every day, around 1900, by as many as 2000 fishing boats. Find out how a fishing boat kept going in a thunderstorm, and an ice flatboat on scratching gliding blades was pulled across the frozen Zuiderzee from and to Urk.

Villagers tell their stories
Over 600 objects in the exhibition come to life through a wealth of audio stories of the people living here. They provide an intimate glimpse into their daily lives and the culture of the Zuiderzee region. Theirs was a hard existence, dominated by the water and fishing. There were, of course, the fishermen out at sea catching plaice, herring and anchovy, but also netmakers, sailmakers, ship’s blacksmiths, basket makers and shrimp peelers on the mainland. Apart from the men, the women and children also worked hard to keep the household going and help provide a decent income. They are keen to tell you all about it!

 Regional and local
Layering was very common in traditional costumes, and every village and region had its own colours, forms, jewellery and headwear. And when there was a feast or festival, they pulled out all the stops when it came to dressing up!
The villages and regions around the Zuiderzee not only had their own costumes, they also had their own vernacular. Can you hear where someone came from?

The Zuiderzee lives on
Life changed once and for all in 1932, when the construction of the Afsluitdijk was completed. The indomitable Zuiderzee became quiet IJsselmeer; the storms and floods were over forever. Even so, many traces of Zuiderzee life can still be found today. In a series of video portraits purpose-made for this exhibition, six present-day villagers talk about what has changed and how the past has its echoes in the present. Immerse yourself in wonderful tales of then and now by visiting this fascinating new exhibition A sea of stories!

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