Initially, the purpose of Zuiderzee fishing was to feed the population in the surrounding areas. From 1850 onwards, the market increased in size and Zuiderzee fishing became economically important to the Netherlands. Around 1900 there were about 2000 fishing boats, mostly small businesses with one boat per family.
During the same period, substantial companies were on the rise in North sea fishing, threatening to outstrip the Zuiderzee fishermen. The increasingly serious plans to close off and partly impolder the Zuiderzee discouraged the fishermen to make investments and modernize their ships. When in 1920 the Zuiderzee Works started, this spelled the end of Zuiderzee fishing.
There were many different types of fishing boats. Fishing methods, local sailing conditions, and local ship building traditions determined the appearance of the boats, of which the most well-known is the 'botter'.
Paintings, picture postcards, traditional costumes and personal objects give an impression of fishermen at home and at work. The equipment used by the fishermen is on view, including the various types of fishing boats. Implements and paintings give an idea of fish processing and winter fishing.