Yesterday, on 8 September 2018, Het Scheepvaartmuseum (The National Maritime Museum) opened the doors to its new exhibition MS Oranje | Changing course, putting the spotlight on the passenger ship Oranje. Today, eighty years after it was launched on 8 September 1938, this iconic ship with an eventful history still inspires awe.
The Oranje has a fascinating story, having taken on various roles and guises during its lifetime. It was originally built as a luxurious passenger liner in the late 1930s, sailing between the Dutch East Indies and the Netherlands. It later served as a hospital ship during the Second World War. After the war, thousands of people travelled from Indonesia to the Netherlands on board the Oranje, making their way to a new home and a new life in Europe. The two-part exhibition sheds light on both the history of the ship and the personal stories of those post-war migrants. MS Oranje | Changing course is open until 18 July 2019.
After the Japanese surrender and the ensuing Indonesian National Revolution leading to independence, the first of thousands of migrants set sail from the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia) to the Netherlands. An estimated 300,000 people made the voyage to their new home between 1945 and 1965. A few thousand of them travelled on the Oranje, the ship that changed the course of their lives. Especially for this exhibition, television program maker Coen Verbraak spoke to ten people who travelled from Indonesia to the Netherlands on board the Oranje. These personal stories about leaving the land of their birth, their time on board, and their new lives in the Netherlands are told in a moving film. The film is screened as part of the exhibition, and portraits of the individuals concerned – taken by me – are also on display.
As from September 8th, 2018
The exhibition ms Oranje | Changing course Koers is on show from September 8th 2018 up until July 18th 2019 in Het Scheepvaartmuseum (the National Maritime Museum) and is being made possible by het Mondriaan Fonds and the BankGiro Loterij.