Tour of a Dutch Gun Collection

One of the collectors who offered me access to video some of his guns during my recent trip to Europe said I should do an overview of his whole collection. There is a misconception in both the US and Europe that European governments ban gun ownership. The truth is more complex – different countries have different laws, but all of them allow gun collecting if you are willing and able to get the required permits. This collection, for instance, is every bit the equal of many of the best collections in the US.

Thanks to this anonymous collector for letting me film both his whole collection, and also a number of specific guns!


  1. I saw a Johnson at the 4:20 minutes of the video. Ian Great Video, but having just returned from living 28 years in Germany as an advisor to the US Army in Heidelberg (before they moved to Wiesbaden in 2013) you forgot to mention that you have to have really deep pockets as well as having good connections to own such a collection. Not just for the cost of obtaining the weapons but for the permits to own and purchase along with the special security requirements of owning them. I know a German collector that specializes in FG42’s and he had to have a security system installed in his basement that would rival a large bank. For my meager collection (note the US Army personnel had to go under German registration system if I remember correctly in the early 2000’s up to then we had our own system). Since my collection was mostly semi-auto military weapons I had to apply for and received a special permit that no-one thought I would get. But since I had testified in German courts for the German Police on various weapons systems and knew lots of folks in the proper places I was given the permit. It helped that the Police that reviewed my permit were ones I had helped trained. I still had to install a modern safe for both the guns and ammunition. Just before I left they started a no-notice compliance inspection program for everyone with any type of weapons permit. Since I had my stuff in order it was no problem other than explaining to the inspector why I had so much ammo. Glad to be back home in Tucson. Harry

    • Actually it is much cheaper to have a collection like this in europe then in the us. That’s because full auto’s are way cheaper then semi autos here. For instance, a full auto ppsh41 will only cost you around 250-300 euro while it would cost you 15000 in the us.

  2. Do the Dutch laws allow shooting the guns or are they just for display? I remember some European countries explicitly forbid shooting any full auto guns in a collection, but I can’t remember which ones those are…

  3. I guess “going Dutch” after so many years allows you to amass a collection like this gentleman’s!

    Looking forward to the videos of the guns you selected for posterity, in particular the Swede 37/39 sporting the coffin magazine!

  4. An extraordinary collection indeed. It is interesting to see the Austen gun there – but they are not uncommon in museums here in Australia. Note that in WW2, Dutch troops involved in the later fighting against the Japanese were equipped with Austen guns, but they were not popular with Australians, who preferred the Owen. If you ever visit Australia Ian, consider visiting the museum of the Brisbane branch of the Military Historical Society. I saw it about 15 years ago, it is very impressive (hopefully it has survived our draconian laws).

  5. Hope you did a video on the marlin m42.. Also I believe the “th” in Berthier is pronounced as a hard “T”.

  6. This collection could easily rival state military museum in Prague, as I remember it. There must be phenomenal value in it.

    • Museum in Prague has basement that has much, much more than it is on regular exibition.
      5 x Serbian Mauser-Milovanovic-Djuric M.80/07, that is most probably about 10% of the total survivors. And Serbian Mauser 1910 artillery carbine, one of the 200 ordered (no other survived that I know of)…

      • It may be, as you say, that depositories carry the bulk of what is out there – which public does not see. What I remember is old location in Schwarzenberg palace, Hradcany. I was not in the new location in Zizkov memorial.

        That location in Hradcany (castle hill) had carried several unique artillery pieces from WWI. Long time gone….. who knows where they are now. Probably somewhere in ‘depositories’.

  7. Serbia
    Class A – automatic weapons, explosive projectiles etc. Forbidden, except for “historically significant pieces owned by cultural institutions” – hence most guns in our museums are not deactivated.

    Class B – regular guns, semi auto or manual, required licence and registration and yearly 20-50 euro tax depending on the type.

    Class C – guns made before 1945, modern replicas that don’t use centerfire or rimfire ammo, bows/crossbows over some draw weight, high power air rifles. Free to buy provided you are over 18, requires registration at police (about 7$ one time tax). Those that used methalic cartridges you can not own any ammo for, but can shoot them in a gun club/range with club ammo.

    Class D – low power air rifles, bows/crossbows under some weight, “non-functional” replicas using metalic caps etc – free to buy for anyone over 18.

    In class B you can practically own anything – there is no law against shortened shotguns, SBRs etc, but modifying guns yourself is forbidden (you can engrave it yourself, or replace non-functional parts (functional parts – barrel, slide, cylinder, receiver), but can not eg. replace barrel – you need to go through licensed gunsmith.

    If you want to reload ammo (or acquire BP and caps for cap and ball Class 3 guns) you need to pass tests about it (they are easy, being mainly about proper storage and handling of those and proper reloading procedure, ie, which powder type can be used for what kind of weapons)…

    Oddity of the law – some of the blank firing pistols are Class B, hence need licence and registration like real guns.

      • The entry for Finland is misleading. Black powder weapons made before 1890 do not require a license only if you keep them in a collection or in a museum display. If you want to shoot them, even antique muzzle loaders require a license. Needless to say, this also applies to modern replicas of muzzle loaders.

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