Discover the illustrious maritime history of Texel at Museum Kaap Skil. Our collection includes exceptional finds from centuries-old shipwrecks lying on the seabed along the coast. The Texel Roads were located here, upon which merchant vessels and warships once lay for anchor. Those days are recreated in the world’s largest maritime scale-model in the entrance building of the museum. Artefacts retrieved from shipwrecks tell us stories of faraway journeys, wealth, adventure and hardship. Outside, in the open-air museum, you can experience life on Texel as it was in the past. The museum is bustling with activities during the holidays. Museum Kaap Skil is a fun and educational day out!
Dozens of shipwrecks lie on the seabed along the coast of Texel. One wreck in particular is quite extraordinary. Divers have brought the most exclusive artefacts from the wreck, known as the Palmwood Wreck, to the surface. The ship proved to harbour the possessions of an immensely rich family. Unique finds were the textiles on board: a number of amazingly well-preserved garments were especially big news. A selection from the hundreds of objects retrieved by divers from the seabed can be seen in the Palmwood Wreck exhibition. Here you’ll see artefacts such as an almost completely intact silk dress of royal allure, a wedding dress with inwoven silver, a gilt-silver cup and an exclusive toiletry set.
In the broadest sense, Museum Kaap Skil is about life with, from, on and near the sea. The exhibitions in the entrance building highlight the role Texel played in global trade from the 16th to the 18th century. Alongside the artefacts from the Palmwood Wreck and the scale-model of the Texel Roads in approx. 1660, you will also find the exhibition World Voyage. Finds from various wrecks illustrate the trade once conducted with all corners of the globe. This global trade brought much wealth but also exploitation and hardship. Behind the entrance building you will find a number of mainly monumental buildings containing exhibitions about fishing, shipping and beachcombing, and also a working grain mill. You can experience how people used to live in the traditional fishing village of Skil.
Along the Skilsloot waterway you’ll find a number of authentically reconstructed fishermen’s cottages, a bakery and a smithy. Water comes out of a pump, heat from a wood-burner and there’s even a ‘bedstede’ (traditional Dutch cupboard bed) in the kitchen. Living and working was combined: the carpenter had his workplace at home. Craftspeople can frequently be found working in the open-air museum between May and October. Come and watch the net-menders, ropemakers, blacksmith and millers at work.
Museum Kaap Skil began as a one-off exhibition of finds which had been surfaced and found by divers and beachcombers. This was such a success that a permanent location was then sought. The Maritime and Beachcombing Museum was established in 1981, as forerunner of the current Museum Kaap Skil. Collaboration between divers and beachcombers has continued throughout the years. Themes in the museum have been continuously developed, with exhibitions including the fishing industry, crafts and traditional ships. The name of the museum changed when a new entrance building was built in 2014.
The name of the museum refers to both shipping and the location of the museum. A ‘kaap’ is a beacon for ships, an important navigational point on land. The impressive entrance building of the museum can rightly be called a beacon, a ‘kaap’. ‘Skil’ is the name in local Texel dialect for the village of Oudeschild, the fishing village where Museum Kaap Skil is located.
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