One of the world's largest and most famous collections of historic automobiles will be on public display in the new Louwman Museum in The Hague. The museum building, which was designed by American architect Michael Graves, not only houses over 230 historic cars, but is also home to the world's largest collection of automotive art.
The museum contains the private collection of Dutch car importer Evert Louwman, which experts have described as unique. The museum aims to provide the clearest and most fascinating illustration possible of the development of the automobile since 1886, when the very first car was built. Pioneering automobiles from the late nineteenth century sit alongside racing cars, sports cars and luxury limousines.
The Collection Contains a Broad Spectrum of Automobiles
In the Louwman Museum almost all the vehicles, most of which are rare examples, are preserved in their original, often unrestored state. A prime example is the second-oldest automobile in the world - a De Dion Bouton & Trepardoux from 1887 - complete with original signs of wear. The contrasts between the magnificent luxury cars of the 1920s and 30s and some of the first attempts at affordable family cars are stark, as are the differences between the American, Japanese and national European cultures and the cars to which they gave rise. The collection also contains a broad spectrum of other vehicles, including bubble cars, steam cars, electric cars and historic racing cars driven by such legends as Tazio Nuvolari. 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.
An Extensive Display of Previously Unseen Automotive Art
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.
Landscape architect Lodewijk Baljon, who has won many international accolades, designed the park that surrounds the new Louwman Museum. Housed in a monumental building with its own surrounding parkland, the new Louwman Museum has the look and feel of a grand estate.
One of their architects, Robert van der Horst, produced a contemporary design for the park which incorporates elements of our cultural history. The landscape that has been created ensures that the new museum building sits harmoniously alongside the adjacent Marlot and Reigersbergen estates. The lines and proportions of the gardens and building reinforce the architectural design of the whole, says Van der Horst.
Majestic trees and extensive hedges have been planted, forming a frame for the Louwman Museum that will mature with the passage of time. The banks and flower-strewn lawns that form part of the design provide a nature-friendly habitat that will enable the flora and fauna seen in the parkland surrounding Marlot and Reigersbergen to thrive in the grounds of the museum as well.