The island of Texel is the largest of the Dutch Wadden Islands and a popular tourist attraction, welcoming a million or so tourists each year.
In an effort to educate visitors about the island’s long and illustrious connection to the world’s sea trade, Kaap Skil, the new maritime and beachcombers museum designed by the Netherlands-based firm, Mecanoo Architecten, takes the public back in time to the Dutch Golden Age.
The museum features four playfully linked gabled roofs—a play on the rhythm of the surrounding rooftops, which, when seen from the sea, resemble waves rising out of the dyke. The wooden façade of the building makes use of recycled hardwood sheet-piling from the North Holland Canal, a reference to the island tradition of repurposing driftwood to build houses and barns.
The entrance and the museum café form a natural frontier between the basement, which houses an 18-meter long, 4-meter deep model of the Reede van Texel (the offshore anchorage of Texel), and the first floor, which features exhibits on underwater archaeology. On the upper level, the North Holland sky floods the objects on display with light. Movable showcases made of steel and glass create a transparent effect, making the objects in the collection appear to float within the space.