Client: Rijksmuseum Boerhaave
Designer: Opera Amsterdam
Location: Leiden, The Netherlands
Surface m2: 1350
Realization: 15-12-2017
Disciplines: Interior, Showcases, Audio-visual and multimedia, Graphics, Museum lighting
Work fields: Museum
Themes: Icon NatureIcon Science

After a thorough renovation, the national museum for the history of natural sciences and medicine, Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, presented a new presentation of its collection in December 2017. It is aimed at a wide audience, connects with the world today and offers the visitor an exciting,instructive voyage of discovery through the world of science and medicine.

With microscopes by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, the oldest artificial kidney, the fountain pen by Albert Einstein, the first breeding citizen and much more, Rijksmuseum Boerhaave owns a top collection. In order to bring the objects to life they are given extra company in the new presentation. This is how researchers are attachted to the exhibition and patients who underwent treatments with exhibited devices. Movies, audio clips, animations, digital magazines with extra information, games, replicas you can sit on: the visitor will be invited to be involved in the museums‘ story.

Rijksmuseum Boerhaave offers young and old a peek into the intriguing world of science and medicine. The world-famous collection and the new interior show what it is all about in science: curiosity, courage, creativity and perseverance. In the words of Robbert Dijkgraaf, ambassador of the museum: ‘You see it all with your own eyes, you get a feeling for the history, for the challenges, for the adventure, but also for the romance of this great scientific discoveries.‘

In the new Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, the earlier chronological layout has been replaced by a layout with five themes. In ‘Golden Age’ it is about new ideas about discovering heaven and earth. ‘Disease & Health’ shows innovations in health care, from bloodletting to blood transfusions and from amputations to complex transplants. Here, too, medical-ethical questions come up for discussion: is the design of customized babies a good idea? The theme ‘Mighty collections’ is about beautiful collections from distant regions that scientists built in the eighteenth century and about cheerful physics to do themselves. In ‘Water, Electricity & Data’ you step into the world of the engineer. How do we dry the polders? What can be done with electric power? How ultra-fast is the quantum computer? And in the concluding theme ‘Big Questions’ it is about Einstein’s search and about high-profile researchers from now on who are occupied with our brain, our place in the universe and the functioning of our DNA. Also here are the Dutch Nobel Prizewinners, from the paper molecule models from Van ‘t Hoff to the children’s clogs from Ben Feringa.

Distinctive in the new presentation is the presence of external parties with innovations of today and tomorrow. In addition, you are face to face with the discoveries that have changed the world and the researchers who were behind it. Because in the end, in Rijksmuseum Boerhaave, it is all about your own life, just like in science.

Photography: Mike Bink

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