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Frits Loomeijer

Director, Rotterdam Maritime Museum, The Netherlands

Home of the maritime industry since 1874? The Maritime Museum Rotterdam case

Early 21st century the Maritime Museum is the 3-generation museum of Rotterdam. It is argued that the combination of a solid relation with the maritime industry, a focus on the age group 4 – 24 and programming from present and future to past, creates value for both city and industry.
Late 19th century the Maritime Museum Rotterdam was founded by maritime entrepreneurs. Their aim was to show the citizens of Rotterdam what their business was about. In 21st century language; it was about labour communication and image of the industry, based on personal pride.
Expressly they sought for connection with the city and its maritime institutions.
Early 21st century the museum is back to its roots. Contemporary exhibitions and events, linked with interactive technique education programs on several school levels, are the modern form of the same.
The presentation explores de development of the relation between museum, industry and city government, the latter being the owner of the collection and the building and the main sponsor.


Frits Loomeijer (1953) graduated from Groningen University (NL) in social and economic History. From 1976 onwards he worked as a free lance journalist, part time North Sea fisherman, historian and curator of the Maritime Museum in Groningen.
In 1990 he became director of the Fisheries Museum in Vlaardingen. Nine years later Frits got back to content as a curator of shipbuilding in the Netherlands Maritime Museum Amsterdam. Since 2003 he works in the Maritime Museum Rotterdam. First as head of collections, since 2006 as managing director.
He is the author of a dozen books and numerous articles on maritime history (small scale shipping, shipbuilding, fishing industry and maritime heritage).
As board member and president Frits has been, and still is, active in organizations like Register Holland (classification bureau for professional sailing vessels), the North Sea Maritime Museum Network, NAFHA (North Atlantic Fisheries History Association) and ICMM (International Congress of Maritime Museums).