In 1934, the Dutch car importer Pieter Louwman bought a 20-year-old Dodge, which marked the beginning of his legendary car collection. Since 2010, his collection is part a museum that bears his name and features more than 200 historic vehicles. Read more about the automobile world here: new and classic cars.
ALFA ROMEO. 6C 1500 Super Sport Works Team Car. 1929.
The Louwman Museum houses the world’s oldest private car collection open to the public. The old Dodge acquired in 1934, is now accompanied by dozens of cars. The biggest increase of new collectibles took place in 1969 when a second private collection was bequeathed by Pieter Louwman to the museum´s current owner, his son Evert.
Today, 250 historic cars are on display on the halls of the Louwman Museum, which gives an idea of the breadth of this private collection deserving of World Heritage status. But this museum is not only important for the number of relics on view. The wide range of backgrounds and ages—the oldest is an 1886 Mercedes-Benz — the good condition in which the cars are preserved and their inherent beauty, are also important reasons to connoisseurs, who consider it one of the most comprehensive, beautiful and valuable private collections in the world.
The cars themselves are more than exceptional machines: each has its own story and can tell us much about those who produced it, about the historic moment in which they were conceived and driven and, of course, also about their owners. Although they may look somehow similar, a car manufactured before World War II differs from a car from the postwar period: the users tastes and needs change depending on the region and time, and that is also reflected at the Louwman Museum.
This unique car temple is located on the outskirts of the Dutch city of The Hague, near the town of Wassenaar, in a stunning building designed by American architect Michael Graves that successfully combines modernity and tradition. For $18—the price of admission—car and history lovers can admire pieces that have been described as “jewels on wheels.”
This collection travels and many of the cars are regulars at festivals, competitions and other events featuring classic cars. Therefore, those who are primarily interested in seeing up-close a particular car should ask in advance if it would be on view to avoid disappointment. However, there is always the opportunity to visit the online museum catalog on their website, for an equally exciting experience. ■