Visit the Louwman Museum in The Hague to see the large collection of vintage automobiles, and historic, sports, and racing cars from the late 19th century to the mid-twentieth century.
The Louwman Museum in The Hague is one of the best historic car and motoring museums in the world. It is famous for its large collection of early veteran and vintage cars but also has a magnificent collection of elegant interwar automobiles, racing cars, interesting automobilia, and fine art. The oldest car in the museum is from 1887 but all eras, genres, marques, and countries are covered to around 1960 (with a few newer racing cars). Buy timeslot reservation tickets online to skip the queues and enter the museum directly.
Visiting Amsterdam or the Netherlands in 2023?
The largest Vermeer exhibition ever will be in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam from 10 February to 4 June 2023 when 28 of the known 35 paintings by Vermeer will be on display. Buy Rijksmuseum Vermeer exhibition tickets online and well in advance with timeslot reservations -- some dates have already sold out.
Cars Exhibition in the Louwman Museum in The Hague
The main reason to visit the Louwman Museum is of course to see the amazing collection of cars. More than 250 are on display. Furthermore, the museum has a large collection of art, posters, model cars, trophies, mascots, and automobilia — some in dedicated galleries with many more scattered throughout the large museum.
The museum is spread over three floors. Some of the visually most interesting cars (and special exhibitions) are in the grand hall used for both entry and exit. From here, use the elevator to the top floor where the history of the car is mostly explained chronologically with special themes covered on lower floors.
Some of the highlights are briefly described below roughly in the order that visitors to the museum will see them. Definitions of veteran, antique, vintage, brass cars and eras vary from region to region but all cars are well described in both English and Dutch with the year of production prominently displayed.
Top tip: reserve time and energy for the magnificent cars in the final few rooms of the museum. A break in the café is a good idea, especially if traveling with non-enthusiasts.
Veteran Cars in the Louwman Musuem
The Louwman Museum has one of the largest collections of veteran cars (up to 1904) in the world. The exhibition starts with a few pre-automobile transportation methods such as carriages and a sedan chair but then follows a stunning selection of very early cars, including the steam-engine 1887 De Dion-Bouton et Trépardoux — widely considered the second oldest surviving car in the world.
Many of the veterans are in running order with some frequent participants in historic races including the popular annual London-to-Brighton run in which Genevieve, famous from the movie, is a regular participant.
Car Collections in the Louwman Museum
Some of the highlights in the Louwman Museum include:
- Some of the oldest surviving cars in the world and the largest collection of pre-1910 cars.
- Many late 19th and early 20th-century cars from various brands including many by Benz and the Dutch brand Spyker.
- Many interwar cars — the finest are at the end of the tour on the ground floor near the entrance — but the selection on show on the top floor is very interesting too.
- Post-war European microcars.
- Vintage steam cars (needed around half an hour to get going) and electric cars (some with mileage range not far off what was available in cars sold before 2020).
- People’s cars from the 1930s and 1940s — the VW Beetle was just one of many attempts to mobilize the masses.
- Cars of famous people, including the Humber of Winston Churchill and a customized Cadillac of Elvis Presley.
- Movie cars including Genevieve, a Lincoln Continental Coupe and a Desoto Taxi used in The Godfather, and an Aston Martin DB5 modified for James Bond’s use in Goldfinger.
- A fine selection of Italian sports and racing cars including several Ferraris, Alfa Romeos, and Maseratis.
- The oldest Toyota car (1936 Toyoda AA) in the world and the only one surviving from before the Second World War.
Racing Cars in the Louwman Museum
The racing cars collection is also vast, including amongst others:
- Some very early racing cars, including a 1903 Napier (the first racing car in British racing green) and a 1910 Benz Prinz Heinrich.
- 24 Hours of Le Mans race winners — 1935 Lagonda M45R and 1957 Jaguar D Type — and many further notable participants including a 1939 Lagonda Works, a 1985 Mazda 737 Wankel, a 1993 Toyota Le Mans, and the 2019 Toyota TS050 Hybrid.
Prestige Cars in the Louwman Museum
Arguably the most interesting cars in the museum are in the final halls on the ground floor:
A large collection of Dutch Spyker cars — the firm went bust in 1925 despite being innovative with long guarantees. The 1903 Spyker racing car was the world’s first six-cylinder car with four-wheel drive and four-wheel braking.
Several large cars from before the First World War to the 1950s including such prestigious brands as Pierce-Arrow, Hispano-Suizo, Isotta-Fraschini, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz, Talbot-Lago, Bugatti, and the Americans (Packard, Lincoln, American Underslung, Duesenberg).
Oddities include the 1955 Daimler Golden Zebra Coupé with zebra hides and radiator mascot, the 1910 Brooke Swan Car, and the small 1920 Cygnet (sometimes seen as the first Indian car).
Three magnificent Mercedes-Benz cars — a 1929 SSK, Kaiser Wilhelm’s 1933 Nürburg 500, and the super elegant 1936 500K Spezial Roadster.
French designs that took elegance to another level such as the 1931 Voisin with an art deco interior, and several Talbot Lagos with illustrious coachwork including a magnificent Teardrop Coupé by Figoni & Falchi and further Talbots with coachwork by Saoutchik and by Capron.
And finally the classic Bugattis including amongst others the 1913 Bugatti Type 18 Sports of First World War ace pilot Roland Garros and later raced as Black Bess by Ivy Cummings, a 1932 Bugatti Type 54 Bachelier Roadster, the 1934 Bugatti Type 57 Roadster Grand Raid by Gangloff, a 1932 Bugatti Type 50T Coach Profilée, a 1929 Bugatti Type 35C, and a 1927 Bugatti electric child car.
Over 250 of the cars in the museum are described in English and Dutch in the online catalog of the Louwman Museum.
Louwman Museum Den Haag Visitor’s Information
Opening Hours and Tickets
The Louwman Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00.
The museum is usually open too if a national or school holiday falls on a Monday. The museum is closed on King’s Day (27 April), Christmas Day (25 December), and 1 January.
Admission tickets are €17.50 for adults, €7.50 for children 5 to 12, and €9.50 for children 13 to 18. Buy tickets online with time-slot reservations to skip the queues.
The Dutch museumkaart is accepted (and sold) at the museum.
The average museum visit is around three hours and car lovers could easily spend much longer here.
The museum cafe, resembling a town square with historic facades, is useful for a break.
The best times to visit are on weekdays outside school holiday periods. Weekends are also busier.
Transportation to the Louman Museum
The Louwman Museum, Leidsestraatweg 57, 2594BB Den Haag, is on the outskirts of The Hague near the American Embassy and the Haagse Bos park area. It is easily reached by car or public transportation.
Bus lines 90 and 385 stop near the museum at the Louwman Museum bus stop — traveling time from the Central station is less than 10 minutes but do note gaps in the timetable. Cycling is a great option — it takes around 15 minutes from the Mauritshuis in the heart of historic Den Haag. Walking would probably take around 45 minutes to an hour with much of it through the Haagse Bos park and forest area.
The Louwman Museum generally receives very positive reviews on TripAdvisor, although many complain about the cost of the underground parking (even before it increased to €7). Alternatively, arrive in any car older than 40 years and park for free on the square directly in front of the main entrance. (The same goes for disabled parking.)