The Canon of Dutch history in Arnhem

Most of the museums that I have visited were educational and interesting but not impressive. The Canon of Dutch history has it all! It is the most impressive museum that I have ever visited. It is interactive, colorful, funny, informative and perfect for families. You can have a lot of fun there, believe me! It was opened in Arnhem in 2007 in the area of the Open-Air museum and became popular very quickly.

The museum shows us the history of The Netherlands from megaliths to the modern day’. It depicts the most important events of the Dutch history through people and particular events.

The educational part of this museum is appreciated by many schools as all the events are done in a playful way which is easier for kids to understand and remember.

LET’S START THE TOUR!

When you enter the Canon, you will find yourself in a dark room. There are just a few large screens with short movies. These movies show what people ate during various centuries. The only sound you hear is the sound of dripping water and the sound of spoon stirring the meals in wooden plates.

At the end of this dark room is a door that will lead you to the other part of the museum. This is the main part of the Canon.

It is very easy to follow as everywhere you have numbers showing you where you are. You will get a chip where you can upload any information that is interesting for you and check it out later at home. Unfortunately, everything is in Dutch.

The exhibition starts 5000 years ago. Here we can see various tools that were used for hunting and preparation of food.

At every stage there is a large screen. You stand in front of the screen, it will measure you, ask you some questions, such as your gender and how old you are, and it will transfer you back in the past. Then you can see on the screen how people of your age, gender or interests lived at that time. You will learn about their homes, work, free time and food. It is very interesting! I tried it at every single stage.

The most hilarious part that I cannot show you because it’s too embarrassing was the interactive tables with cameras. You made sure that you placed your head in the frame and took a photo. Then you could see how you would look like at various times. On the photos you would get a wick and traditional clothes and you could save these for the museum. We were laughing so much! Some of them were really creepy but we got a few that were quite good. I even looked great as a man!

Here we can see other tools that were used. These tools were found in large burial chambers dating back to 3400 years BC. This was the time when the north of The Netherlands was chosen as a permanent place to live for the first time. These people were buried with burial gifts, such as weapons, jewelry, food and at least 400 pots. Can you imagine how big those chambers must have been?

This part talks about the new religion and old habits. People in the north were originally heathens. Christians tried to convert them, and it was English monk Willibrord who brought many of them in the church. Some regions however didn’t want to convert and maintained their ancient customs and gods. Only later in the 8th century this would be changed.

These interactive colorful screens are all across the museum. We were trying them out too!

Some parts are built like old streets..

This part talks about shame and punishment. I would like to be there instead of this poor boy. These are short movies, but I didn’t understand what this boy did to deserved this.

This is the center of the museum. From here you can enter any part as the museum has a round shape. I preferred to follow the numbers as it makes more sense to me.

Willem van Oranje is also known as the father of the Netherlands. He was a noble man who showed resistance to the political situation and is also known as the founder of a new Dutch state. This part talks about him.

There are so many impressions here! You can watch short movies, read descriptions or touch the interactive screen and learn even more!

Here we can see the dark part of the Dutch history – slavery. The Dutch transported more than half a million people from Africa to America where they were enslaved. They were forced to grow mainly cotton, tobacco and sugar. They worked in inhuman conditions and wealthy Europeans earned a lot of money.

The slave trade was banned in 1814 with the help of the British Kingdom but it took almost 50 more years until the Netherlands stopped with the slave trade in 1863.

We are coming to the recent historical events…

Here we can see a wealthy man reading the newspaper during the crisis years before the World War II.

This short movie was emotional. They just found out that he has to go and fight for his country in the World War II. She was desperate and the movie ended with them crying and hugging each other.

This was hanging on the ceiling. The colors were changing like the real sky and those birds were flying from one circle to another.

Don’t stare at it for too long because it will hurt your neck 😊

In the second part of the main museum you can watch this movie about the origin of The Netherlands. This movie is also in Dutch but it is still nice to watch as you will understand the main events from the movie anyway.

Here is the hall that leads us to the last part of the museum..

And here we are!

You can touch each screen and read about any of the events that you’ve seen in the museum before.

It’s for people who are as excited as me and run from one place to another, realizing that they missed a lot at the end of the exhibition.

If you ever happen to be in Arnhem, do make sure to visit this museum. You will not regret 😊

Thank you for reading!

Cheers!

Martina

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