Ram ship Schorpioen
When you enter the Navy Museum’s grounds, you can already see the proud masts of the ironclad ram ship Schorpioen from afar. The museum’s restaurant is located on this ship as well as several temporary exhibitions.
Zr. Ms. ram ship Schorpioen was taken into service in 1868. In the same year three sister ships were also taken into service by the navy; the Stier, the Buffel and the Guinea. This set of four formed an important modernization of the Dutch fleet at that time. They were meant to replace the wooden ships which had to defend the Dutch interests at sea by means of smoothbore cannons and a power combination of steam and wind. The most remarkable weapon on the Schorpioen was the pointed ram bow. Rams became very popular in the second half of the nineteenth century as a result of incidental successes by Austria and America. However, in reality the ram turned out to be strongly overrated. Out on the open sea it proved extremely difficult to hit one’s opponent with cannon-fire, let alone to ram them. Therefor the Schorpioen never travelled abroad much. The ram ship’s only journey across the border was a squadron trip to Belgium in 1871, in order to collect the human remains of Dutch soldiers who died during the Belgian Revolution (1830-1833).
The Schorpioen’s active service ended in 1906 when it was converted into an accommodation ship, a sort of floating barracks. From 1951 to 1971 the Schorpioen served in Den Helder as accommodation ship for the Marva, the Navy’s female department. The ship was fenced-off with hundreds of meters of barbed wire to keep curious men at bay. On board you can listen to the wonderful stories of the Marva’s in the exhibition space on the lower deck.