Although Damen views itself as a no-nonsense shipbuilder, the company has a ‘thing’ for the arts. For example, it sponsors the largest Dutch contemporary dance company, and also arranges in-house and external exhibitions that always attract a fair amount of interest. At Damen’s headquarters, both the reception area and the main hall of the new building offer ample space for hosting various exhibitions several times a year. Dina (l) and Josien Damen (r) explain.
The exhibitions have their origins in Dina Damen’s private collection. She has always been a collector and saves everything, from old devices (for example the first Apple Macintosh) and tools to recent photographs and films or simply her father’s old cash account books.
Dina set up the Exhibitions Department together with Josien. “Each exhibition is meant to give people a different perspective on the company.” The exhibition themes are chosen with great care. One special point of attention is variety, with the topics ranging from social issues to business results. For example, the exhibition “After work” focused on employee hobbies. Another was “Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding”, which covered Damen’s naval shipyard, its development, designs and ships, including the SIGMA frigates, corvettes and Logistic Support vessels for navies worldwide.
“These exhibitions offer visitors and guests a fresh perspective on the company they are doing business with. Besides, it’s a nice diversion when people are waiting at the reception desk,” say Dina and Josien.
According to Josien and Dina, Dutch museums often take the exhibitions on board, for example the muZEEum in Vlissingen, which adopted ‘Floating Capital’, an exhibition about Damens’ superyacht yard Amels. Ferry operator TESO adopted another exhibition depicting the design and building process for the ferry between Den Helder and the island of Texel. Other partners are the Towage Museum in Vlaardingen, the Dredging Museum in Sliedrecht and the Old Town Hall Museum in Urk. “Of course, when an exhibition ‘goes public’ we supervise the entire process in order to guarantee a consistent quality of design, concept and content.”
Damen Down Under
On 14 December, H.E. Neil Mules, the Australian Ambassador to the Netherlands, presided over the official opening of ‘Damen Down Under’. The exhibition focuses on the relationship between Damen and Australia and was motivated by the recent conclusion of 16 contracts with Australian clients and the fact that Australian customers have ordered almost 60 vessels from Damen since 2000. Since that time, Damen has become more closely involved with the continent, as highlighted in the Australia Special of this magazine.