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Onderzeeboot Tonijn bij het Marinemuseum in Den Helder

Submarine Tonijn

Submarine Tonijn is the showpiece of the museum-fleet. It is the only submarine in the Netherlands open to public and a popular film location.

The Tonijn is a three-cylinder submarine of the ‘Potvis class’. Between 1960 and 1992 three-cylinder submarines formed the heart of the Dutch submarine department. Their primary duty was to combat Soviet submarines. Due to their invisibility and noiselessness, they proved extremely suitable for collecting data on ships of the Warsaw Pact. For this purpose secret patrols were carried-out frequently on the Arctic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

The Tonijn was constructed at the Wilton-Fijenoord shipyard in Schiedam. The Dutchman M.F. Gunning developed the principle of the three-cylinder submarine. This construction improved the boat’s stability, allowing it to dive deeper than other submarines of its time. The crew consisted of 67 members: a commander, six officers, thirteen petty officers, 20 corporals and 27 members of crew. Depending on the journey the crew could be increased to a maximum of 71 persons.

The Tonijn is still in its original state. Crawl through the hatch and get the feeling the boat might depart any moment. Peer through the periscope and listen to the exciting stories told by our museum attendants. Many of them have served on a submarine of this class!

Minesweeper Abraham Crijnssen

The steel minesweeper Abraham Crijnssen was constructed in 1936. Only few Royal Navy ships have such a heroic past as this one.  During the Second World War it escaped the Japanese by camouflaging itself as a tropical island. On board were 11 officers, 48 crewmembers and a nurse. After 9 tense days the ship safely arrived at Geraldton in Western Australia.

From 1938 onwards, the Crijnssen was stationed in the former Dutch East Indies and afterwards served as a training vessel, anti-submarine escort and served the Sea Cadet Corps. It was added to the museum-fleet of the Navy Museum in 1997.

Explorer our exhibitions

Zr. Ms. ram ship Schorpioen

When you enter the 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.