Micropia is the world’s first and only museum dedicated to microbes and micro-organisms, which actually make up two-thirds of all living matter.
Micropia opened its doors in 2014 at a cost of €10 million and is part of the Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo complex in the Plantage district of Amsterdam.
It is located in part of a monumental building called de Ledenlokalen (built in 1870) which is found on Artisplein, an attractive public square at Artis.
On entering the museum on the ground floor level, you take a slow lift ride up to the first floor – as you ascend look up to watch an animation about the mites living on your eyelashes and the even smaller bacteria living on those mites!
The first floor exhibition is in a darkened area and resembles a scientific laboratory with lots of microscopes and bubbling glass containers.
There are plenty of interactive displays on offer including:
• A body scanner which can show you what types of microbes live on your body.
• A Kiss-o-meter which can count the number of microbes transferred during a kiss!
• An impressive and colourful display of Petri dishes with various bacteria as well as everyday household objects and what is lurking on them – you will never think the same way about a hotel TV remote control again!
• A comprehensive collection of animal faeces and a preserved human digestion system. You will see films of different animals decomposing.
• There is a real-life working laboratory visible through a window where white-coated technicians undertake research projects and manage the exhibits.
• Various other displays and information on bacteria, viruses, fungi and algae. You are given a card on entry which you can “stamp” with microbes then check it later under a scanner.
Head back down the spiral staircase to the ground floor where there exhibition continues. A tall bank of screens show impressive images of microbes.
At the ground floor exhibit, you will learn how microbes are essential for life – how algae is used in various products from supplements to food; how microbes are used in the making of foods, biofuels and bioplastics; there are interesting displays of rotting food (and probably seen at many a student house!)
The Fungal Wall is a large artwork by Dutch artist Lizan Freijsen using woolen carpets ‘inspired by the beauty of the invisible life around us’. Finally there are glass model impressions of various viruses.
A visit to Micropia will certainly open your eyes to the hidden world of microbes. Whether you want to go immediately to lunch or dinner afterwards is another question…
You must book a ticket and timeslot online in advance.
Micropia Essential Info
|Opening Times||Daily 1100-1700.|
|Admission Prices (2021)||€16.00 for adults, €14.00 for children 3-9, €8.00 for students, free for children 0-2, Museumkaart and Iamsterdam City Card holders.|
Combined Artis+Micropia tickets are €29.50 for adults, €24.50 for children 3-9.
|Getting There||Artis/Micropia can easily be reached from the centre of Amsterdam on foot – head towards Waterlooplein and continue further east along the Plantage Middenlaan. From Amsterdam Central take tram 14 to the ARTIS stop. Metro lines 51, 53 and 54 serve Waterlooplein.|
Micropia, Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, 1018 CZ Amsterdam
T: +31(0)20 523 3671, micropia.nl
Last updated 17 August 2021. This article was first published in 2014 and has been regularly updated.