'Man at Sea' shows what the sea does to you

Het Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam, in collaboration with the Dutch National Portrait Gallery, will present the photo exhibition Mens op Zee from October 7, 2022 to May 28, 2023. What does being at sea do to a person expressed in a series of uniquely beautiful photographs.


As a person at sea, you move between two worlds; between the solid shore you have left and the new shore on the other side. Sailing beyond the boundaries of the known, you navigate between control and surrender, between who you were and who you might become. What brings you here? Who are you here? For some, the sea is a place of freedom, transition, dreams or ambition. For another of fixed order, crisis, deviation or even unfreedom.

Man at Sea immerses you in the multifaceted and sometimes contradictory maritime world. In this exhibition, a selection from Het Scheepvaartmuseum's rich photography collection meets loans from past and present in a compelling collection of photographs and stories.

Identity and transition

In Man at Sea, many forms of photography - a medium that underwent major transitions in 180 years - show a wide range of personal stories that lie behind the world at sea. Sailors, passengers, or a loner at sea: all travel from A to B, find themselves between two worlds and sail beyond the boundaries of the known. The outdoor life goes hand in hand with freedom and transition, but also with social structures and hierarchy on board. Man at Sea shows how on the water you relate to yourself, the other, the ship and the sea, touching on larger themes of gender, inclusion and migration.

Photography of all shapes and sizes

Man at Sea offers visitors a glimpse into Het Scheepvaartmuseum's rich photography collection - which contains as many as 150,000 objects - and is complemented by fascinating loans and works by contemporary artists. These works, many of which have never been exhibited before, take the visitor through photography in its diverse manifestations, made by professional photographers, sailing amateurs, institutions and artists. From the oldest known portrait of a Dutch sailor, to the contemporary seascapes of Dolph Kessler and Mischa Keijser, from glass negatives showing fellow crew members in all walks of life by helmsman Willem Dirk Duijf, to a visual installation of the slides of solo sailor Herman Jansen.

Visit www.hetscheepvaartmusum.nl for more info and tickets. Click here if you want to learn more about the permanent exhibition Amsterdam-Havenstad. Amports participants receive a 50% discount on museum admission when entering the discount code listed on the website.