Netherlands Steam Machine Museum
This place in the north of Holland is a twin milestone in Dutch industrial history. On the one hand it displays a huge number of original steam engines used in shipping and industry, most of which have been preserved thanks to the farsightedness of a private collector named Cees P. Jongert. On the other hand the old steam-driven pumping station, Vier Noorder Koggen, with its complete inventory of machinery, offers a fitting framework for the exhibits. Almost all the steam-engines on show – including the pumping engine – can be seen in action on specific action days. This makes the museum a showcase of the industrial revolution unique to Europe and perhaps worldwide.
The steam-driving pumping engine is one of many of its type used by the Dutch to prevent the sea swamping their land. The largest of the engines installed here dates back to 1907: it has a pumping capacity of more than 450 cubic metres a minute. Other things to admire include a triple expansion steam engine that once drove a barge used for dumping sand and rubble, a steam crane and a huge number of steam-engines once used in factories.
Without Cees P. Jongert the Dutch Steam Engine Museum would not exist in its present form. Jongert began his collection in 1976 but his rapidly growing private collection of old steam engines first came to public attention when he exhibited some of them in the old goods shed in Medemblik station. In the same year 1976 the listed steam-driven pumping station, "Vier Noorder Koggen", ceased operations after 107 years. In 1869, thanks to its then highly modern technology, it replaced a range of windmills and took over the task of pumping water into the IJsselmeer from the drainage ditches in the adjacent polder via the “Westfriese Omringdijk”, a series of dikes around West Friesland whose construction first began in 1250. Polders, ring dikes and pumping stations are all symbols of Dutch people’s age-old battle against the encroaching sea; a battle that, thanks to steam technology still continues today in another dimension. In order to preserve the old steam-driven pumping station a plan was conceived to unite th
e building and its pumping equipment with Jongert’s collection of steam engines that were suffering increasingly from a lack of space in Medemblik station. With government support and funding from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds the pumping station was completely restored by 1982, and in the following year it was set up as a museum. In summer 1984 a part of the collection was made accessible to the public for the first time in a temporary exhibition. The official opening of the Dutch Steam Engine Museum on 21st June 1985 was conducted by Queen Beatrix in person. The main aim of the museum is to show not only the many different aspects of steam engines but also the engines in working action. The excellent maintenance work was last put to the test in 1998 when, after a long period of extensive rain the pumping station was put into action under steam in order to take the pressure off its diesel-driven successor. In 2011 and 2012 both the building and the engines were once more completely restored and given their own small harbour facing the sea.
|Recommended duration of visit:||2 Hours|
|Duration of a guided Tour:||60 Minutes|
|Access for persons with disabilities:||Available|
|Infrastructure for Children:|
|Visitor centre on site:||yes|
|Gift and book shop on Site:||yes|
March to October:
Tuesday - Sunday 10am-5pm
- Guided tours optional
- Tours in other languages
- Guided tours for children