Museum Zaanse Tijd
‘What is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is.’
St. Augustine of Hippo
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Time is life, time is money. Time heals all wounds and in time a solution will be found. The word ‘time’ appears in many expressions and sayings. It is a basic concept in philosophy as well as in economy. Nearly all devices and machines are designed to win time – the computer being the latest example.
With modern communication methods we seem to be able to manage time. However, the more time we gain, the less time we appear to have.
‘The clock, not the steam machine, is the key machine of the modern industrial age.’
Time Measurement: the Clock
One way of relating to time is to measure it. Time is considered to be a continuous stream of moments. We can measure a specific moment in this stream by means of a clock. Furthermore, we can measure the length of a certain time frame within that stream: seconds, minutes, hours.
Mechanical clocks began to be built around about the 14th century. These were geared engines with weights and a balance. The more accurate pendulum clocks were invented in the seventeenth century. Zaanse entrepreneurs played an essential role in its further development.
‘Increasingly subtle measuring devices led us often to believe, mistakenly, that time itself is equal to the instruments with which it is measured.’
The invention of clocks influenced society in general. For example, the development of railways during the nineteenth century proved to be an important breakthrough in the synchronization of clock times between various areas. The clock has become dominant in modern times: clock time is the reference point for our social and business lives.
Scroll down to see how time changed per century.
Timekeeping througout the ages
Apart from actual moments, timekeeping can cover longer periods, such as a certain period or a century, as you may experience by clicking on the centuries below.
You can read more about the Dutch clock and especially the Zaanse clock on our site and savour the experience in our museum at the Zaanse Schans: Museum Zaanse Tijd.
Click below to discover how timekeeping has developed over the centuries.
Click on a century and get to know what society was like in a certain century and what kind of timekeeping devices existed during that period. You can also learn more by clicking on links to extra information and to our collection.
We’re sorry that this information is only available in Dutch.
Museum Zaanse Tijd
1509 BT Zaandam
075 – 61 797 69
Free entrance with Museumkaart, I Amsterdam City Card and Zaanse Schans Card.