Amsterdam port & city

National Maritime Museum


What is the city of Amsterdam’s relationship to its port? This is the central question in the exhibition Amsterdam Port City at the Scheepvaartmuseum (maritime museum). The past, present, and future are made apparent and interactive. It’s not about numbers but about how the city and local lives have changed.


In-depth and interactive games make visitors feel part of that special interaction between the city and its port. The games encourage visitors to play an active role within shipping and stimulated them to make real choices seen in the past, the present, and the future.

What were the deliverables?

• Multi-player immersive endgame for 7 players
• Transshipment game
• Game about economical impact
• Live data visualisation of ships in the port
• Interactive word quiz
• Animation ‘birth of the city'

The experience

A visit to Amsterdam Port City is a journey through time that begins in the 13th century. Various games can be played amongst the centuries-old models, paintings, and ship ob-jects on show. An interactive game asks visitors to purchase supplies for a large VOC ship in historical Amsterdam. It’s a playful way to discover the connection between the city and shipping, and recognise the origin of street names such as Brouwersgracht (brewers’ canal).

Arriving in the present, visitors can marvel at wall-to-wall, razor-sharp projections of the gigantic ships moored in the port today. Getting these giants to the right place from where their cargo will continue its journey is quite a job. Touchscreens guide visitors through the experience as they map out the routes for the ships. Is the cargo perishable? Or very expensive? Everything is taken into consideration to determine the onward route.

As they continue on, luminous water routes across all the walls and floors clearly mark that visitors have arrived in the future. Two life-size projections of people invite visitors of all ages to interact. They present the kind of dilemmas facing the port today. Visitors can vote using discrete buttons in the futuristic furniture. What will others choose? The result can be seen immediately.

Would you like to know more about Amsterdam Port City or have a similar project in mind? Please get in touch with Anna Heimbrock (anna.heimbrock@yipp.nl)

Photography by Amy Kouwenhoven
Video by Brechje de Koning for Het Scheepvaartmuseum.