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ARTIS Groote Museum: add it to your must-see list

The new ARTIS Groote Museum definitely deserves to be on your must-see list of fantastic museums in Amsterdam. The Groote Museum is a fun and interactive experience that engages all the senses. Once you step inside you go on a journey of discovery into the past, present and future to find answers to life’s big questions. There is so much to learn here about humans, animals and plants.

Groote Museum at ARTIS.

Scent tunnel

One of the most extraordinary features (and my favourite ) of the Groote Museum is the scent tunnel. As you walk through the tunnel you are exposed to a range of pleasant and very unpleasant smells.

Some scents are instantly recognisable while others might be more obscure. What I enjoyed is how some of the scents sparked memories of a place or past event. It is a fascinating experience!

Scent tunnel at the ARTIS Groote Museum
Scent tunnel at the ARTIS Groote Museum

A perfect blend of art and science

The curators have done an excellent job of blending a vast collection of impressive historical material with many experiences, installations, interactions, videos and photographs. What I also appreciate is that the museum isn’t so big that it becomes overwhelming to experience in one visit.

There are two large interconnected halls with galleries on the upper floor. Each zone focuses on a different part of the body and how it relates to the wider world. Find out how hands work, how dolphins find their way using echolocation, what emotions are and what is intelligence.

Groote Museum Amsterdam
Find out how hands work at the Groote Museum.

See a giraffe ankle and lungs of a pig, how the spine has evolved and see real earthworms at work in a compost heap. And there is so much more! It is a wonderful blend of art and science.

Find out how the spine has evolved at the Groote Museum at ARTIS.

Building with a story

The Groote Museum building itself is an extraordinary space. The museum first opened in 1855 and closed in 1947. Now, 75 years later, a completely revamped museum is open again to the public.

The main 19-century building underwent drastic restoration but what I love is that the interior was left largely intact. Think of original wooden floors, ceilings, eaves, balustrades and the original butterfly staircase. Look out for all these details when you are there.

Original butterfly staircase at the Groote Museum at ARTIS.

Oh, and I must mention the museum shop. It is fabulous! So many books, botanical products and quirky gifts!

Tone socks for sale at Groote Museum in Amsterdam

The frequently asked questions

  • Access to the museum is free with a Netherlands Museum Pass (get one if you don’t have one already!)
  • The Groote Museum is on Artisplein which is accessible to the public. You don’t need a ticket to ARTIS to see the museum.
  • The Kleine Lokaal is a small café in the museum building. Here you can buy light meals, good coffee, drinks and cake. For a more budget-conscious visit, take your own snacks, buy some drinks at the Kleine Lokaal and relax at one of the tables next to the fountain (this is a hit with young children, even on cold days!)

And while you’re at the Groote Museum, why not buy a combo ticket to also visit Micropia? It is the world’s only museum of microbes. Free access with a Netherlands Museum Pass.

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