The history of the Tax & Customs Museum begins three years before the beginning of the Second World War; in 1937. The then director of the Direct Taxes and Inspector of Import Duties and Excise; Prof. Dr J. Van der Poel founded the museum. The initial aim was to familiarize the students of the Rijksbelastingacademie, of which Van der Poel was also head, with tax history through various objects and stories. In this way, a collection was created in the tax office. This did not last long due to the devastation in May 1940. Rotterdam lost not only the tax office but also the museum collection as a result of the bombing.
Van der Poel turned out to be a director of deeds because during, but especially after the war, the director managed to build up a new collection. The objects he collected can still be admired in the museum today. After the war, the museum moved from the Boompjes to Parklaan 14 in 1948 and is characterized by its innovations as a museum where visitors not only look passively but can also actively participate. The founder, Prof. Dr. van der Poel, left a personal video message for the visitors.
Tax and Custom museum
Historical collection with art historical highlights
The museum has more than forty-five thousand objects; from paintings to smuggling objects, in which official costumes, uniforms and also photographs will undoubtedly appeal to the imagination. Lieftinck’s suitcase is one of the unique objects; this suitcase tells the history of the ‘third Tuesday in September’ with which the State Budget and Memorandum of millions were presented by the then Minister of Finance, Mr Lieftinck, on Prinsjesdag. This first suitcase, which is a symbol of Dutch government finances, has a special place in the museum.
Lion in the Museum
The museum continues to develop and regularly shows new sights on offer. In other cases, the museum acquires remarkable objects to be able to present the public with the most original and diverse offer possible.
New items on display are a miniature silverware, a spice spreader and a small faucet jug. There is also an exhibition about Europe (z)under control, where the public can learn everything about the function of Europe through interaction. Another noteworthy sight is a stuffed lion, which has been confiscated by Customs due to the lack of the Cites import license.
Tax on luxury goods
In the sphere of finance, there is also a range of French banknotes. This is a symbol for the taxation of luxury goods; a measure of the French Napoleon Bonaparte, in the Netherlands. Both fans, wigs and powder boxes were considered luxury goods.
Education and activities for young people in the Tax and Customs Museum Rotterdam
The museum has several exhibitions with different themes and is worth a visit. There is also plenty to do in the field of education; in a light-hearted way, students can get to know the subject of taxes. The museum offers a range of lessons, also about the work of customs. The lessons are available for primary school students to MBO students, in which knowledge is transferred in various ways. This ranges from guided tours and workshops to tailor-made experiences about, among other things, the tax history of the Netherlands and what customs is responsible for. There is also a lot to do for children; especially treasure hunts and craft activities keep the little ones sweet.