The collection – Wassenaar Museum of Fire fighting

“De Paauw “ The Museum of Fire fighting can be found in de the basement of the old Town Hall of the town Wassenaar. This town is located in a green oasis situated in the area called the Randstad – the densely populated and business rich area of the Netherlands along de west coast of the country between Leiden and The Hague.

This museum houses a unique and complete collection of historical material covering a period of more than 300 years in the fire fighting history of Wassenaar. This unique collection was originally located on the Pieter Twentlaan in the former Coach House belonging to the country house “De Pauw”, and in 1991 became permanently housed at its current location.

This is an exceptional reference to the rich fire fighting history of Wassenaar which is run and supported by the modern-day fire department of Wassenaar.

The collection gives a good impression of the techniques and material used in fire fighting from its origin upto the end of the 80’s, and is definitely worth a visit.

Unique Collection

The Museum was established In October 1923 by the former Fire Chief G.J. van der Mark.img 3738

This was a period of dramatic modernisation with mass introductions of mechanical and motorised equipment. This meant that the old material would be thrown out as scrap, but luckily this Fire Chief recognized the historical value of the old equipment and managed to salvage most of it.

In particular the early hand pumps and nozzles and other equipment used in over 200 years of firefighting, have remained intact – indisputably a treasure trove of exhibits.

Collection – What can you see

In particular the leather buckets from the late 18th century which were used for small, but also large files in that time, later followed by the hose wagons. Also you can find a series of masks, unusual hoses and a pump built onto a wheel barrow. The manually operated pumps and nozzles, carries by the fire-fighters or by horses, and countless accessories and attributes from breathing apparatus, to clothing and of course not te forget the prestigious ensign from 1923.

In this way we are continually reminded of the fires that took place in this region.

The impressive collection of manually operated hand umps and other machinery – large and small equipments – you can find everything here that was once used to douse the flames.

Due to the space limitations we are unfortunately not able to exhibit the motorised vehicles and equipment.


This museum periodically receives gifts in the form of rediscovered artifacts and antiques – which the staff of the museum is extremely grateful for. However, we are img 3742
continuously interested and curious to find out – particularly among the senior citizens of Wassenaar – if there are yet more things to be discovered in a forgotten attic or cellar, whether in the form of documents, objects or old photos – everything related to fire fighting (WAF or TA) in this region is welcome!

A visit you won’t forget or regret!