The Tropenmuseum (Museum of the Tropics) is one of Amsterdam's most intriguing and impressive museums.
Deriving from the Dutch colonial past and a part of the Royal Tropical Institute, this ethnographic museum contains fascinating exhibitions on many non-Western cultures.
The museum is located in the Plantage aan het Water neighbourhood of Amsterdam to the east of the city centre and close to Oosterpark. It is housed in a fine old building which dates from 1926.
The ticket desk is located in the basement level (-1). The exhibitions themselves are spread over 3 levels (0/1/2) around the Great Hall which is the heart of the museum and used for events and activities.
Tropenmuseum has a rich collection of items from many exotic parts of the world. Level 1 focusses on India, south-east Asia, New Guinea and Netherlands East Indies (the Dutch colony which became Indonesia). Sit in an Indian Bollywood cinema and discover what life was like for the wealthy Dutch colonial settlers in Indonesia.
Level 2 has exhibits on Africa (check out strange sculptures and the fish-shaped coffin from Ghana); Latin America and the Caribbean (see how Mexicans celebrate the all-souls day); Western Asia and North Africa (get the atmosphere of a North African souk).
There is also a World of Music exhibit where you can see instruments and listen to music from around the world.
Temporary exhibitions are held at the North Wing of Level 0 and the Park Hall on Level 2.
The museum is brilliantly presented and its reconstructions of local environments give a real atmospheric flavour of life and history from around the world. Labelling is in both English and Dutch.
Level 0 also contains Tropenmuseum Junior with plenty of hands-on exhibits. At the weekend there are creative activities organised for kids at the Kartini Wing.
There is an audio tour available (€2) in 4 languages: Dutch, English, French and German. Level 0 hosts the museum shop and the Tropenmuseum restaurant which serves some exotic drinks and snacks.
Tropenmuseum is a magnificent museum and its slightly out-of-centre location in the east means it probably does not get the visitor numbers it deserves. In our opinion it's one of Amsterdam's hidden gems and well worth the visit.
Tropenmuseum Essential Info
Opening Times: 1000-1700 Tue-Sun, closed Mon.
Getting There: You can reach the Tropenmuseum on foot by walking down Plantage Middenlaan and then crossing over the Mauritskade canal. By public transport, take trams tram 3 or 7 (stop: Linnaeusstraat), tram 9 (stop: 1e Van Swindenstraat), tram 10 or 14 (stop: Alexanderplein).
Linnaeusstraat 2, Amsterdam
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