Cutting-edge History

1 April until 2 October 2016

Exhibition 'Cutting-edge History'Exhibition 'Cutting-edge History'
Collection of swords, on display in 'Cutting-edge History'Collection of swords, on display in 'Cutting-edge History'
Prehistoric sword, made between 800 and 500 BCPrehistoric sword, made between 800 and 500 BC

The exhibition Cutting-edge History revolves around one of the best-known weapons in world history: the sword. From 1 April 2016, all the exceptional swords in the collection of the National Museum of Antiquities will be on display together, in combination with loans from other collections. Nearly two hundred in number, they come from several continents, and their origins range from prehistory to the twentieth century. These marvellous, murderous weapons tell their own stories.

More than just weapons

The National Museum of Antiquities has the largest archaeological sword collection in the country. Loans from the Netherlands and abroad enrich the exhibition and bring the story up to the twentieth century. The exhibition shows how swords were made and what ritual and symbolic meanings they had. Because they come from different countries, they show a clear variety of forms, materials, and decorations. A few especially noteworthy swords are in the spotlight, such as the prehistoric sword of the Chieftain of Oss and a gilded sword from Dorestad. 

Swords with personalities

Swords are so much more than just weapons. For centuries, they have symbolized power, justice, and the art of war. They often have a special status and are seen as having personalities of their own. Swords still have a hold on the imagination, as do the people who wore them: warriors, knights, and soldiers.