This museum in the north of Holland forms 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 and the pumping engine can be seen in action on specific days. This makes the museum a showcase of the industrial revolution unique to Europe and perhaps worldwide.
The steam-driven pumping engine from 1924 ('Breda v/h Backer and Rueb') was one of many of its type used by the Dutch to prevent the sea swamping their land. The oldest of the pumps installed in the pumping station dates from 1897 ('H.W. Allen Son & Co, Bedford'), a larger one from 1907 ('Louis Smulders & Co'): 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. Jongert's rapidly growing private collection of old steam engines was exhibited in the old goods shed at Medemblik railway station from 1976 until a more suitable location was found.
To protect themselves from the water of the Zuiderzee, the construction of dikes was started around 1250 in what is now West Friesland. The interconnected stretch of dike (126 km) around the polders forms the Westfriese Omringdijk (World Heritage). Windmills were used to raise the excess water from the low-lying areas within this dike and to discharge it into the Zuiderzee. Due to rising sea levels and subsidence this became increasingly difficult. Steam drainage offered a solution. The Vier Noorder Koggen steam pumping station, built in 1869, replaced a series of mills. In 1976, after 107 years, this monumental steam pumping station was decommissioned.
After restoration of the pumping station in 1982, Jongert's collection found a suitable home here. The official opening took place on June 21, 1985. In 2011 and 2012 the building and the machines were fully restored. The museum has a small museum harbor on the museum grounds and its own jetty in the IJsselmeer. The aim is to transform the museum from a collection with a public function into a public museum with a working presentation collection and a small depot collection. The redevelopment started with the display of the beautiful collection of steam engine models in an audio-visual exhibition. In education, the themes of steam engines, the industrial revolution, the steam pumping station and water management then and now, are central.
|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