The Dutch Pinball Museum in Rotterdam

Europeans who love Americana seem to be more passionate about their hobbies than we are. The Dutch Pinball Museum in Rotterdam confirms this general observation. I asked Gerard van de Sanden, the founder and collector, why he closed at 6 pm. “All of the American pinball collections stay open until midnight and sell as much alcohol as possible, which is how they make their money.” He replied that the late-night crowd didn’t treat the machines well and preserving the machines was more important to him than making a higher profit.

Compared to arcades in the U.S., the Dutch Pinball Museum is as quiet as a church. All of the machines have had their volume turned down low so that it isn’t deafening when the museum gets crowded. Visitors are friendly and enthusiastic. I talked to one couple where the husband has 11 machines in a backyard shed. They’d driven 3 hours from the farthest corner of the Netherlands to spend a Saturday here. The wife wasn’t an enthusiast, but joined nonetheless. On the way, they picked up friends, a couple where both husband and wife play. They have 5 machines inside their house.

For the Dutch lover of pinball, here’s the ultimate machine:

It’s made in Holland by the Dutch Pinball company. Despite the obscurity of the manufacturer, the owner says that the machine is not difficult to maintain (though metric tools are required).

Unlike the typical “play all you want” arcades that call themselves museums, this one makes an attempt to educate:

The collection includes an unusual modern game, a 40th anniversary Elvira’s House of Horrors (#31 out of just 199 made):

This is a great machine for playability, but I don’t love the theme, perhaps because I am not a horror movie fan and have never seen the Elvia TV show.

It’s Europe, so the collection must include a soccer game:

If you love space, the collection includes Black Hole and Stern’s fascinating innovative Orbitor 1:

With five technicians working in the background, the collection is quite strong on playable older machines. Example:

When you’re done, take the water taxi back to the city center.

Then hit the Markthal:

Where else can one experience great pinball in Europe? The owner suggested Krakow, Poland.

Separately, Rotterdam itself offers a mixture of Western debauchery and Islamic rectitude. A strip club is close to Halal Fried Chicken, for example:


12 thoughts on “The Dutch Pinball Museum in Rotterdam

  1. “Big Lebowski” is the “ultimate” machine? Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man

    • D: Sad on the Oshkosh crashes. The T-6 crash in the lake is a mystery, though it has a reputation as a tough airplane to handle. The pilot was only 30 years old, but she supposedly had a fair amount of experience with warbirds. I have heard that the other crash was caused by the gyrocopter (Mad Max-style) running into the Rotorway (kit) helicopter. This was in the pattern at the uncontrolled ultralight runway. The gyrocopter supposedly was doing a 360 turn for spacing and then came up to hit the Rotorway from behind/below. Neither crash would surprise a member of the general public, probably. A 70-year-old taildragger and the ultralights with no ATC. The mass arrivals to the runways and taxiways via the NOTAM and under ATC control went smoothly, at least.

    • @Deutschman, F35 A Lightning II can not be all bad. Israel originally ordered 50 F35 I, which are based on F35A, and just recently ordered 25 more F35 I for total of 75. 36 of them has been already received and many of them have used extensively against Iranian and Syrian targets.

    • European women haven’t yet caught up in size/thickness to the American women. Slowly though, they are catching up (the British seem to have caught up already!). What happened to the women of the 70s and 80s? Even the 90s didn’t have so many fatties. Today’s women – too chunky for my monkey!

    • You seem to be assuming that the young ladies pictured are employees of said club. Perhaps Philip asked them…

    • SN: Indeed, I have no reason to believe that the pedestrians in the photo are in any way related to the club. They could simply be on their way to Halal Chicken!

  2. > They’d driven 3 hours from the farthest corner of the Netherlands to spend a Saturday here

    The Netherlands is smaller than Vermont and New Hampshire combined.

    > have never seen the Elvia TV show

    Elvira’s TV show was only on Channel 9 in Los Angeles where she hosted a weekly horror movie. Beyond that she is mostly famous for being famous and starring in commercials.

    > the 1,700 games could be $7 million

    The missing word is “worth”.

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