‘ROUTES 1600-400 years marine history between the Netherlands & China’will be convened in China Maritime Museum in September

A joint exhibition by the Rotterdam Maritime Museum and the China Maritime Museum is being opened in Shanghai on Monday 10 September. Called ‘ROUTES 1600-400 years marine history between the Netherlands & China’, it is about the centuries-old trading relationship between the Netherlands and China. The bond between the Netherlands and China in the Maritime industrial sector is already close and this exhibition by the two sister museums is strengthening it further. The opening is followed by a business event set up by the Rotterdam Maritime Museum in the China Maritime Museum. More than twenty Dutch and Chinese companies and their key business contacts will be present, emphasising this maritime relationship even more.

Underlining the cultural link between the cities
The Rotterdam Maritime Museum is working closely with the China Maritime Museum in Shanghai for the joint exhibition ‘ROUTES 1600-400 years marine history between the Netherlands & China’. Prized items from the collections of the two museums tell the story of the centuries-long maritime relationship between the Netherlands and China and the many ways in which they influenced each other. The relationship between the sister port cities of Rotterdam and Shanghai provided the initiative for the joint exhibition. This link has been a very significant one for many years, both economically and culturally. In the 17th century, the Dutch East India Company laid the foundations for maritime cooperation. The maritime sector is still an important link between the two countries in 2012.

Frits Loomeijer, managing director Maritime Museum Rotterdam: “This exhibition is a world first”, “This many excellent pieces from the Netherlands and China have never been brought together before. Being able to open this exhibition in Shanghai is, I feel, a nice cultural gesture to underline the maritime bond between the two cities.”

The Rotterdam and Maritime Museum is organising a business event to follow the opening of ‘Routes, from the Netherlands to China’ on 10 September. Dutch and Chinese companies such as the Rotterdam Port Authority, Imtech Marine and DSM Dyneema will be meeting in the cultural surroundings of the China Maritime Museum in Shanghai. Mr Aboutaleb, the Mayor of Rotterdam, and his counterpart from Shanghai will be among the prominent figures at this business event. They will be formally opening the exhibition earlier.

Ahmed Aboutaleb, the Mayor of Rotterdam: “I am extremely proud that we are able to follow up the presentation of the Rotterdam water pavilion at the World Expo in 2010 with a presentation of another important Dutch sector in China. The ports of Rotterdam and Shanghai are key access routes for each other. That comes strongly to the fore in this exhibition about our common history. The maritime and logistics sectors in the Netherlands and China have a great deal to offer each other and a great deal to share. This business event that the Rotterdam Maritime Museum has organised will certainly contribute to improving the profile of the sector and strengthening the business network.”

The museum as a bridge builder
Whether it is about the Port of Rotterdam, the offshore industry, short sea, the Rhine and inland navigation or ship building, the core business of the Rotterdam Maritime Museum is telling that story to young and old. The museum is a maritime institute with an international focus, located in the port city of Rotterdam. The Maritime Museum has an important role for the maritime sector, both as a link between businesses and as a link to a broader audience. Bringing together partners within the commercial sector from Rotterdam to Shanghai is not only creating a maritime platform, but also providing new stories that the museum can tell its visitors. The Rotterdam Maritime Museum combines these stories from maritime practice with relevant unique items from its collection and presents them to over 130,000 visitors every year in easily accessible formats. These visitors often live and work in a port city yet are unaware of the influence of the port and the maritime world on their own lives.

Fulco Vrooland, director Sales & Marketing IHC Merwede: “It is a sign of the times that the commercial sector and the cultural world are able to come together. What the Rotterdam Maritime Museum is doing in Shanghai is a prime example of cultural entrepreneurship. The quality of this exhibition and the organisation of the business lunch are at such a high level that we are delighted to be associated with it. Encounters like this between companies from the sector create interesting business opportunities for us.”

Taking the exhibition to China
Working together with its sister institution the China Maritime Museum in Shanghai, the Rotterdam Maritime Museum presented this exhibition last year under the name ‘Yin&Jan’. This exhibition was supported by financial contributions from the Municipality of Rotterdam, VSB Fonds, AMPEK, DSM Dyneema, Wärtsilä, the Rotterdam Port Authority and Van Oord. This is the first time that a maritime exhibition of this quality will ever have been seen in China. Unique Chinese items will be combined with the best that four centuries of Dutch maritime heritage has to offer.