The Dutch Empire once spanned four continents, thanks to the robust trade of the Dutch East and West India Company; while this dwindled down just to colonies in Indonesia, Suriname and the Antilles by the early 20th century, these tropical locales still piqued the interest of Dutch scholars, who formed the Royal Institute of the Tropics (KIT) in 1910.
Since then, the Tropenmuseum (Tropics Museum) has been the public front of the KIT, and celebrates all tropical cultures with its vast permanent collection, which boasts 340,000 artifacts from the Americas, Africa and Asia. Exotic artifacts from Indonesian batik cloths to Haitian voodoo paraphernalia transport visitors to destinations far and wide within the space of a few exhibition rooms; walk-in replicas of a Philippine minivan, a Yemeni tearoom and more enhance the sensation, and are excellent fun for children.
What's to See at the Tropenmuseum:
Permanent exhibitions include areal focuses on sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, the former Dutch colonies, New Guinea, India, the Middle East and North Africa, and Southeast Asia; thematic exhibitions treat man and the environment, world music, and travel via literature. Special topics and individual artists are showcased in the museum's temporary exhibitions; check the Tropenmuseum web site for past, present and future exhibits.
With so much variety, the Tropenmuseum is an excellent museum for world-curious adults and children. Located in culturally diverse Amsterdam East, it can be nicely combined with a stroll in the adjacent Oosterpark (Eastern Park), a visit to the multicultural Dappermarkt (Dapper Market, an open-air food market), or even a trip to the nearby Artis, Amsterdam's natural history museum.
Tropenmuseum Visitor Information:
- Daily, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- December 24 and 31, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
- Closed: January 1, April 30, May 5 and December 25
- Adults: € 9
- Children up to 5: Free
- Children 6-17: € 5
- Adults 65+: € 7.50
- Family day-pass (two adults and max. four children): € 25
- "I amsterdam" card holders: Free
Museum Restaurant Ekeko and Cafe-Restaurant Het Soeterijn
Two restaurants serve visitors to the museum. Museum Restaurant Ekeko is accessible only with a valid museum ticket, and open daily, 10 - 5 p.m. Het Soeterijn welcomes non-visitors, and is open Tues. - Fri., 12 - 8 p.m., and Sat. from 4 p.m.
- Tram 3, 7, or 9 to Linnaeusstraat/Wijttenbachstraat
- Bus 22 to Linnaeusstraat/Wijttenbachstraat
Call the information line at +31 (0)20 568 8200 or see the Tropenmuseum web site.