Art storage with vulnerable nitrate film collection flooded with water


The fire brigade arrived on site to pump the water out of the bunker

NOS News

An art storage in the dunes near Castricum with thousands of probable films was flooded tonight. The fire brigade had to arrive on site to pump out the water. The damage to the films appears to be not too bad, says the collection manager.

The stacks of unique films are the property of the Eye Film Museum in Amsterdam, writes regional broadcaster NH. It is the most vulnerable part of the museum’s collection. The material of the films is flammable: nitrate is highly flammable and sometimes even explosive. The film archive was therefore not allowed to be located near residential buildings. Due to its protected location, the bunker in the Castricum dunes was chosen.

For some unknown reason, one of the pumps in the bunker started, allowing water to flow in. The power may have gone out, causing the pump to stop working.

The fire brigade took longer to pump out the water than expected, says one worker. “They couldn’t get to it properly due to the high water level. Ultimately, a mobile pump was installed and the water was removed. That took quite a while, at least an hour and a half.”

Damage appears limited

Collection manager Frank Roumen says that they are now working hard to inventory the damage. It looks like you’re falling, he says with relief. “To be on the safe side, we have placed the films on the lower shelves a little higher. As far as I can see, there is not much going on yet.” Roumen interpretation that it will take a few days to figure that out exactly.

Further research is also being conducted into how the bunker could be flooded. “Whether water came in because the power went out, or whether the power went out because water came in, we don’t know.”