In 1916 the Vereeniging Nederlandsch Historisch Scheepvaart Museum ('Society for the Netherlands Historical Maritime Museum') was established by a number of individuals and companies, mainly from Amsterdam. The first museum board members and directors were very much interested in cartography, rare maritime historical books and instruments.
In those initial years, a major role was played by the director of the Frederik Muller auctioneering firm, Anton Mensing. A large part of his collection concerning maritime history is now housed in the museum. All in all he donated or sold 4.100 objects to the museum. Of the atlas collection, 245 now date from before 1800, one third coming from Mensing. The museum owns one of the most important collections of old globes in the world. Thanks to Mensing, half of the 72 globes had already been acquired before 1930. The museum owns about 970 valuable ‘single’ maps.
The excellent relationship with the Dutch navy also resulted in the a lot of old cartographic works being transferred to the museum during the initial period of its existence. These materials became more rare and valuable over time.
In the last decades of the last century the number of new objects acquired diminished. Nevertheless, in the last few years a number of spectacular purchases could be made, among them four seventeenth-century manuscript maps by Joannes Vingboons and a Zee-atlas by Janssonius bound and executed in the same manner as the Atlas-Van Loon, which was therefore added to that collection.