National Tugging Museum

National Tugging Museum

It is quite a boast, saying that the National Tugging Museum in Maassluis is unique in the world. Yet it is true, because nowhere else in the world will you find a museum which is dedicated exclusively to that branch of shipping which has been known in Holland for more than 150 years as “tugging”.

History of tugging in Maassluis

Around the 1850s, the first steam engines were used in shipping. Fop Smit, a progressive shipbuilder, built small tugboats on his wharf in Kinderdijk with paddle wheels on both sides of the hull and stationed those tugs in the entrances to the sea in the provinces of Zeeland and South Holland. In 1872, the Nieuwe Waterweg was opened and it was only natural that, from then on, tugboats would come into Maassluis, as the city is situated close to the ports of both Rotterdam and Vlaardingen. That first tugboat which was stationed in Maassluis was the ZIERIKZEE.

Since the turn of the century,a lot of gradual changes have taken place in Maassluis and in tugging. Smit’s fleet expanded at a fast pace and competitors such as Wijsmuller in IJmuiden and Bugsier in Hamburg also grew quickly. Even in Maassluis itself there was competition from the International Towing Service Company. Fishing as the main source of employment in Maassluis was surpassed by the tugging and salvage services, which, at one time, had more than twenty ships for the ocean services and a similar number for the harbour services in Rotterdam.

Holland was hardly influenced by WWI and after 1918, business activities were tackled with renewed vigour. Until the economic crisis at the end of the twenties, tugging flourished. Even though tugging keenly felt the effects of the economic depression in the thirties, the branch still managed to develop innovative techniques which resulted in the first motor tugs.

A number of Dutch tugs were destroyed during WWII. The fifties heralded the heyday of tugging and the fleets of both Wijsmuller and Smit expanded explosively. Even though not quite as many Dutch tugboats sail the oceans today, the know-how and reputation of Dutch tugging and salvage is still unsurpassed.

The Hudson (1939) is the only pre-war sea tug in The Netherlands. All other sea tugs from before 1940 are demolished or lost. It's a museum now and can be visited on wednesdays and saturdays at it's location Binnenhaven at Maassluis. This is one of the crew quarters.
National Tugging Museum, Netherlands

The National Tugging Museum

The National Tugging Museum, located Hoogstraat 1-3 in Maassluis, displays photos, scale models of ships, curios and films on the history of Dutch tugging. Each aspect of the various types of tugging (sea, harbour, Rhine, coast, and inland tugging) is dealt with in the expositions and in the library. Special exhibitions, devoted to a particular theme, are held regularly. Until 20 September there is such a special exposition on the salvage activities of Wijsmuller and the history of the Haarlem tugging firm ITC. Subsequently, an exhibition will be presented on "ice breaking", an activity which is still almost exclusively carried out by tugboats.

The tugging museum is open daily from 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., except on Mondays and New Year’s Day. Admission prices range from NLG 2.50 for children under the age of 12 and for over-65s to NLG 3.50 for adults. The Museum Card is valid in this museum.

Most of the attendants are former sailors; they will be only too pleased to tell you about the history of their branch of industry. Maassluis, the first city on the Waterweg, is still a major tugging port - in reality and in the National Tugging Museum.

Contact National Museum Sleepvaart / National Tugging (towing) Museum
Hoogstraat 1-3
3142 EA, Maassluis, South Holland, Netherlands
Tel. Museum: 010-5912474
Tel. Secretary: 010-4709564

Stichting Hollands Glorie By Foundation ‘Hollands Glorie’

The foundation ‘Stichting Hollands Glorie’ has as its aim to maintain the ‘Furie’ in a seaworthy state, open her up for visitors, and restore her as far as possible to her original state. Returning her to and maintaining her in a seaworthy state succeeded in 1980. After two and a half years hard work the boiler was approved by the appropriate government authorities and since the engine was also functioning it was possible to sail. The ‘Furie’ was officially brought into service during a large maritime festival called the ‘Furie-ade’ which was organised by the foundation. This was carried out by Hugo Metsers who played the leading role of Jan Wandelaar in the television serial ‘Hollands Glorie’. The ‘Furie-ade’ which is now organised by the ‘Stichting Maassluis Maritiem’ has subsequently grown to become one of the biggest annual maritime events.

Contact Foundation ‘Hollands Glorie’
Lijsterlaan 160, 3145 VN Maassluis, Stadhuiskade, Maassluis
telephone 010-5915774
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