Tropenmuseum — Tropical Museum Amsterdam — is not at the top of the list for tourists visiting Amsterdam, which is unfortunate since it’s an amazing place holding many cultural treasures. But then, if one decides to visit, they will feel like Indiana Jones discovering hidden artefacts right in the heart of the city. Tropenmuseum is one of Europe’s leading ethnographic museums, exhibiting many objects, photographs, music and film from “non-European” cultures: Southeast Asia, Oceania, West Asia, North Africa and Latin America are some of the permanent ones on display. The presentation is modern, using multimedia, light, sound, beautiful décors and even smell to convey not just the images and sounds but also the feelings and emotions of being there. It’s a rich and colourful collection, a must-see for everyone who enjoys learning about different cultures.
First created in 1864 as the Colonial Museum in Haarlem and later moved to Amsterdam, the Tropenmusem is now owned by Royal Tropical Institute, a foundation that studies tropical cultures worldwide. Located in the Amsterdam Oost (East Amsterdam) district, right next to the beautiful Oosterpark, the museum is hosted in a beautiful historic building. It is a good place to visit together with your children of all ages — they will be fascinated by all the exotic objects: the masks, the costumes and the musical instruments. There are always some activities designed specifically for children and there is even a special part of the museum dedicated to them — Tropenmuseum Junior, which is running programmes and exhibitions for children between 6 – 13 years old, teaching them about the world and its various cultures by involving them in all sorts of entertaining projects.
The inside of the museum is quite an airy, large space, the collections are neatly organised and the recommended way of visiting is starting at the second floor and going down, region by region, until the ground floor. After buying tickets and leaving any “big luggage” at the wardrobe (they insist you have to do this, so be prepared not to get insulted if the security guard will consider your beloved purse as being part of the “large bags” category), get the lift and start your journey through the world. I can guarantee you will be transported for a few hours in a different space and time and you’ll forget about any day-to-day trouble. Perfect for a relaxing Sunday afternoon and not only 🙂
For useful information in planning your visit, check out the dedicated page on the museum website.