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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: July 27, 2011 @ 8:36 am

    A hidden gem in The Hague

    Michael McAleer

    We tend to associate The Hague with war criminals and despite being the seat of government and the place where the Dutch Royal family resides it is very much the lesser-known city of The Netherlands. Put it this way, you probably won’t be heading there on holidays any time soon.

    The Louwman Museum

    But if you do and if you are a petrol head (which we will presume given you are reading this Blog, you might want to check out the Louwman Museum, which I did on a recent Opel Ampera event.

    The Bubble Car Collection

    It is one of the world’s largest and most famous collections of historic cars and the museum building, which was designed by American architect Michael Graves, houses over 230 cars, but is also home to the world’s largest collection of automotive art.

    There is a huge automotive art collection

    The museum contains the private collection of Dutch car importer Evert Louwman, and almost all of the vehicles are preserved in their original, often unrestored state. Most of you will know what the oldest car in the world is, but do you know what the second oldest is? Well jot it down for your next table quiz, because it is a De Dion Bouton & Trépardoux from 1887 and the example in the museum still shows its original wear and tear.

    The Alfa Romeo Room

    There is a very broad spectrum of cars in the collection, including bubble cars, steam cars, electric cars and historic racing cars. Other noteworthy vehicles include the eccentric Swan Car from 1910, a hybrid Woods from 1917, the Jaguar D-type 1957 Le Mans winner and James Bond’s original Aston Martin DB5.

    Mr E.V.M Louwman - the owner of the collection

    Piet Louwman, the father of the present owner, began building the collection in 1934. The first automobile was a 1914 Dodge, which still has pride of place in the collection. In 1968, the museum opened in Leidschendam and was known as the Nationaal Automobiel Museum (Dutch National Motor Museum), but moved to Raamsdonksveer in 1981. The Hague was chosen as the site of the new museum.

    The museum contains more than just cars. The collection of automotive art, which includes paintings, sculptures and posters, forms an additional and unique attraction. This collection of automotive art, the largest in the world, has never before been on public display and is being exhibited in a specially designed room.

    It is a beautifully designed museum and the fact that you can walk around most of the cars means that it doesn’t have the often stuff atmosphere or motor museums. If you are in The Hague, hopefully for all the right reasons, then we would recommend you check it out.

    Mercedes-Benz SSK

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