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The Tropen (Tropical) Museum

The Tropenmuseum is the largest anthropological museum in the Netherlands. This huge, unique museum showcases the art, life, history and ecology of the tropical regions of our planet. Three floors of exhibits highlight the cultures found in these regions from aboriginal peoples to agricultural societies to industrial cities.

The museum, which was built during the late teens and early 20s, is an architectural gem, in itself. The Tropenmuseum provides space for eight permanent exhibitions and an ongoing series of temporary exhibitions. The permanent exhibitions are: South-East Asia (including Textiles in Indonesia), Oceania, Western Asia and North Africa (The culture of Islam), Africa, Latin America & Caribbean, Man and Environment, Music, Dance and Theatre.

Inside the Tropenmuseum you can stroll around the courtyard of a Javanese house, roam through noisy Arab streets, or find yourself in a thunderstorm in the middle of the African savannah. You may also relax to the authentic music of a South American jukebox - or listen to the gripping life story of a tropical rainforest-dweller.

Recreations of streets, markets, farms and homes provide a glimpse of life in these distant lands. From tribal villages to middle eastern cities, they've captured something of the essence of each society, and the interpretive displays, most of which are in both Dutch and English, add to your understanding of life in these countries.

Interesting use of technology including stereoscopic 3D slide displays, dioramas, collages, music and video jukeboxes, even computers with Internet access add to the fun of learning about these fascinating cultures. Eerie displays of fetishes, shrunken heads, shamanic costumes and accessories are some of the more bizarrely riveting items in the collection.

Our visit coincided with the Batik exhibit showcasing the art form's techniques, history and styles through the ages. Hundreds of examples of fine Batik, antique photos and dozens of displays showcase the regional origins of patterns, the different uses of Batik cloth, and more modern interpretations using the batik method.

I really appreciate the attitude of the museum and many exhibits, which review the negative impacts of human development upon these regions, and offer useful suggestions for preserving and restoring these ecosystems. This museum is highly recommended for tourists, students and children. In fact there's a Children's (Kinder) Museum too!

The Tropen Theater has excellent productions, showcasing ethnic music and culture from around the world, but like the museum, highlighting the former Dutch colonies of Indonesia, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles. Currently there's a weeklong musical extravaganza with Yo-Yo Ma performing at the Concertgebouw and the Tropen Theater as part of the Silk Road festival.

More Info:

Address: Linnaeusstraat 2
City: Amsterdam
Postcode: 1090 HA
Phone: 020 568-8215
Fax: 020 568-8331
Added: December 31st 2001
Reviewer: Martin Trip

Hits: 3941


Posted by welsh_katherine@hotmail.c on 2004-04-07 15:31:05
My Score:
My husband has an extensive collection of modern and not so modern very good batik kains and we are looking for an institution which would like to accept them. He is quite ill and would be glad to know that the things he has treasured could find a home somewhere. I would be happy to hear from you. Kate Welsh

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