Abel Tasman Museum

Join us on our quest

Start your journey at the Abel Tasman Museum where people of all ages learn about the European who discovered the Lands Down Under. Abel was a farmer’s son from Lutjegast who – thanks to his knowledge of maritime areas – became Commodore of the expedition that was ordered to ‘find the large Southland’. In 1642-1643, Tasman put New Zealand and Tasmania on the map, followed by parts of North Australia in 1644. The museum reveals information about the treasures the VOC traded in. The expedition naturally includes the Tasman Sea – the sea that guarantees Tasman’s eternal fame. This is also where children can try various musical instruments, experience what it was like to spend months on a ship or pet a kiwi. 

Incredible stories

The enthusiastic volunteers of the museum are happy to share Abel Tasman’s special adventures with you. Their stories bring the surrounding paintings and objects to life and provide an idea of what life was like on board the ship. Also take in the scale model of the Heemskerck flagship. An exceptional item from the museum collection – the large stone of green jade that’s only found in New Zealand – is linked to one of its most important stories. In 2017, descendants of the Māori tribe Tasman met in 1642 presented the stone as a reconciliation. At that time, Tasman answered the Māori sounds of their trumpets with friendly sounds from their own trumpet, entirely oblivious to the fact that the signals by the Māori were a warning that they would defend their people and land with might and main. The Dutch cutter with scouts was attacked, resulting in casualties. Today, the bonds of friendship with New Zealand and the Māori are very strong, as is symbolised by this stone. It has great spiritual meaning; just put your hands on it to feel the connection with those you are thinking of.