The History of the Zwaanendael Museum


The Zwaanendael Museum was built as a museum by the State of Delaware in 1931 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the 1631 Swaanendael settlement. The design is a careful adaptation of the old statdhuis (City Hall) in Hoorn, the Netherlands. Architecture of the building is typical of the Dutch style step-gable buildings that can be seen in cities and towns in the Netherlands and the roof is constructed of terra-cotta (baked clay) tiles. The very top of the front of the building features a sandstone statue of David Petersen DeVries. The face of the building is decorated with intricate sandstone carvings, such as the Coat of Arms of Hoorn, the Netherlands.


Zwaandael Museum contains exhibits that tell of Southeastern Sussex County’s exciting maritime history. Visit and learn stories about the ill-fated Swaanendael Settlement; the H.M. Brig DeBraak; 1767 Cape Henlopen Lighthouse; Bombardment of Lewes during the War of 1812; and Pilots of Bay and River Delaware.


Admission is free. A division of Delaware State Museums’ History Store features items for sale that relate to Delaware’s heritage