Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Louwman Museum - The Dutch National Car Museum

The Louwman Museum in The Hague (c) L van Mulligen
Situated in The Hague in a purpose built building, the Louwman museum showcases what was the oldest private collection of cars in the world. The museum opened last year and we kept driving past it from the time it turned in to a building site through to the erection of an impressive looking building. However, until January we hadn't ventured in. My son's 4th birthday presented the perfect opportunity to change that.

The collection was started in 1932 with the acquisition of a twenty year old Dodge. It's now very much older and just one of the 200 plus pieces to marvel at inside the museum. What is quite amazing about the exhibition here is the sheer variety of vehicles that has been collected over the years, from horse drawn fire engines to a Cadillac owned by Elvis Presley and from a tandem from 1897 to a Toyota Prius Hybrid made in 1998. It's a stunning collection of vehicles - and that out of the mouth of a non-car fanatic.

It's not just the cars that are a sight to behold, the building is also impressive. Michael Graves, an American architect, designed the building to mix with the beautiful surroundings and there is a sense of Dutch traditionalism and modernism at the same time.

The high ceilings and ample space for the exhibitions give a luxurious feeling as you wander around and lighting is used optimally to reflect the era of the cars of show. The lay out of the exhibitions, and the design of the corridors, ensure that each new section of the museum stays a surprise until the last possible moment.

To top it off, the last section of the museum, which incorporates a restaurant and bar, will surely raise a smile.

To find out more visit the Louwman museum website which as far as I can work out is only in Dutch - but never fear because all information about the cars in the museum itself is in Dutch and English.

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