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Tropenmuseum - Logo zonder tekst.svg
Tropenmuseum is located in Amsterdam
Location of the museum in Amsterdam
Established 1864
Location Linnaeusstraat 2, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Coordinates 52°21′46″N 4°55′21″E / 52.362692°N 4.922517°E / 52.362692; 4.922517
Type Anthropological museum
Collection size 340,000 objects and photographs
Visitors 197,000 visitors (2010)
Director Jan Willem Sieburgh
Public transit access Alexanderplein
GVB tram lines 9, 10, 14
Website www.tropenmuseum.nl

The Tropenmuseum (English: Museum of the Tropics) is an anthropological museum located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and established in 1864.[1]

One of the largest museums in Amsterdam, the museum accommodates eight permanent exhibitions and an ongoing series of temporary exhibitions, including both modern and traditional visual arts and photographic works. The Tropenmuseum is owned and operated by the Royal Tropical Institute, a foundation that sponsors the study of tropical cultures around the world. The museum had 176,000 visitors in 2009.[2]


The opening of the Colonial Institute by Queen Wilhelmina, 1926
Interior of the museum

Frederick van Eeden, father of the writer Frederik van Eeden, and secretary of the Maatschappij ter bevordering van Nijverheid (English: Society for the Promotion of Industry) established the Koloniaal Museum (English: Colonial Museum) in Haarlem in 1864,[1] and opened the museum to the public in 1871.[3] The museum was founded in order to show Dutch overseas possessions, and the inhabitants of these foreign countries, such as Indonesia. In 1871 the institute began research to increase profits made off the colonies. This included attempting to develop improved means of producing coffee beans, rotan and paraffin. The museum came under the influence of ethnologists, who added information on the economy, manners, and customs of the inhabitants. In 1926, they inaugurated the current building in East Amsterdam. At the time, they had 30,000 objects, and a sizable collection of photographs.[3]

Following the independence of Indonesia in 1945, the scope of the museum changed from just the colonial possessions of the Netherlands, to that of many undeveloped colonial states in South America, Africa, and Asia. In the 1960s and 1970s the Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken English: Ministry of Foreign Affairs encouraged the museum to expand its scope to more social issues such as poverty and hunger. In the early 1970s a new wing for children was added. This wing is now called Tropenmuseum Junior.[3]

The Tropenmuseum has now started to use semi-permanent exhibits that focus both on domestic and foreign cultures.


The original building, built in 1926, was designed by J. J. van Nieukerken and M. A. van Nieukerken. It was richly decorated for the time, and took 11 years to build due to World War I and various labor strikes.[4] All of the artwork in the building was created in the first half of the 20th century. In 2003 it was listed as a historical building in Amsterdam.[3]

Clove model of a two-wheeled horse-drawn coach with coachman.


The museum houses 175,000 objects, 155,000 photographs and 10,000 miscellaneous drawings, paintings, and documents. It inherited 15,000 of these from the Ethnographisch Museum Artis. These objects are split up into many collections. The museum houses collections for many geographical areas such as Southeast Asia, South Asia, West Asia & North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. They also have several collections in storage that fall outside of their scope. These include collections for China, Japan, Korea, and Europe.

The photography collection consists mainly of historical photographs of the former Dutch Colonies from 1855–1940. The museum released a large number of photographs under a Creative Commons licence to the Wikimedia Commons.[5]

A theatric collection is housed at the Tropenmuseum as well. The collection houses 5,500 musical instruments as well as various other theatrical objects such as masks and puppets. It also features 21,000 textile artifacts, a majority of which are from Indonesia. Tropenmuseum Junior is a sub-museum. It features interactive exhibits, and draws 30,000 children a year.[3]

The Tropenmuseum announced in May 2013 that because of budget cuts (subsidies from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were cut completely) the library will close and sell off its holdings, some 900,000 books, maps, and other items. The public library had already closed and other library services were to follow, with the loss of all but one of the 33 library staff.[6]

International activities[edit]

The Tropenmuseum is the most visible part of the Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (KIT) (English: Royal Tropical Institute). The Colonial Institute and the Colonial Museum merged in 1910, to form KIT.[4] KIT is an organization meant to increase public awareness of other cultures, and communicate between cultures. The Tropenmuseum, as part of the KIT, works with foreign exhibits to exhibit and catalog their collections.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Tropenmuseum – Tropical Museum Amsterdam". Amersterdam.info (in Dutch). Retrieved January 27, 2010. 
  2. ^ "176.000 bezoekers voor het Tropenmuseum in 2009 – Tropenmuseum". Tropenmuseum. 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2010-04-11. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Tropenmuseum. "Tropenmuseum vroeger en vandaag" [Tropenmuseum Past & Present] (in Dutch). Amsterdam: Tropenmuseum. Retrieved 2010-04-11. [dead link]
  4. ^ a b "History". Royal Tropical Institute. Retrieved 12 April 2010. 
  5. ^ "Tropenmuseum in collaboration with Wikipedia". Netherlands. 2009-10-21. Retrieved 11 April 2010. 
  6. ^ Heijmans, Toine (24 May 2013). "Tropeninstituut ontmantelt boekencollectie wegens bezuinigingen". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). Retrieved 24 May 2013. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropenmuseum — Please support Wikipedia.
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157 news items


Mon, 14 Jul 2014 16:26:15 -0700

sipho mabona has taken over the great hall of the tropenmuseum with larger-than-life origami birds that hang high above visitors. the master in the japanese art of paper folding has constructed the entire flock out of large sheets of square paper that ...
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:56:15 -0700

Tientallen mensfiguren met trommels en wapens, motoren en paarden ontmoeten elkaar in het midden van een groot plein in de Lichthal van het Tropenmuseum. Deze ontmoeting zorgt voor veel spektakel van licht, geluid en beweging: trommels beginnen te ...


Thu, 10 Jul 2014 08:23:56 -0700

Die heeft het beeldje onlangs teruggegeven aan het Tropenmuseum, waar het vanaf nu weer te bewonderen is in de vaste tentoonstelling Nieuw-Guinea. De sculptuur maakt deel uit van een beeldengroep van tien goden- en voorouderfiguren die afkomstig ...
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:07:30 -0700

OOST Stadsblad De Echo belicht de komende weken in de serie 'De Straat' opmerkelijke, bekende straten in stadsdeel Oost. Deze week: Linnaeusstraat. Het Tropenmuseum is één van imposantste gebouwen van de Linnaeusstraat. Wie vanaf de ...

Al Jazeera America

Al Jazeera America
Thu, 03 Jul 2014 13:37:20 -0700

Tropenmuseum. Zwarte Piet Black Peter. The tradition holds that Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet arrive by boat. Catrinus van der Veen/AFP/Getty Images. Zwarte Piet Black Peter. A man playing Zwarte Piet after arriving by boat in Hoorn, Holland. Peter ...


Fri, 04 Jul 2014 16:03:45 -0700

the project includes works from the galleries of het nieuwe instituut, the canadian centre for architecture, delft university of technology, rilksmusem, tropenmuseum, and museum boijmans van beuningen. thus, aldo bakker, charles & ray eames, ludwig ...


Mon, 14 Jul 2014 12:51:31 -0700

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