Real seamen

Michiel de Ruyter gathered acclaim on account of his glorious victories. Karel Doorman’s met with an altogether different fate, as he perished in the Battle of the Java Sea. The life stories of these heroes emblematise the uncertain fate of seaman in times of war. In the exhibition, we take visitors on the journey of Thijs Thijszoon and Joris Janszoon, who sailed on De Vreede, and people get to experience the Battle of the Java Sea through Alex Moorman (medical orderly on the HNLMS De Ruyter) and Ru Crommelin (the oldest officer on the HNLMS Kortenaer).

Ship's bell of Dutch cruiser De Ruyter

The exhibition commemorates the 918 crew members of the Dutch Navy ships who were killed in action in the Battle of the Java Sea. On 27 February 1942, the cruisers HNLMS De Ruyter, HNLMS Java and HNLMS Kortenaer were sunk. A large number of the crew perished.

As part of the commemoration, the names of all those who lost their lives are projected, with the ship’s bell of HNLMS De Ruyter being sounded every half hour.

The website has the names of all those who died. Every 30 minutes, we pause to reflect for a moment, with our thoughts going out to one particular victim.