About the Tropenmuseum
The Tropenmuseum is one of Europe’s leading ethnographic museums, renowned for its collection. The permanent and temporary exhibitions display (art) objects, photographs, music and film from non-western cultures.
The beautiful and historic building in which the Tropenmuseum is housed provides space for eight permanent exhibitions and an ongoing series of temporary exhibitions, including both modern and traditional visual arts and photographic work. The permanent exhibitions are Southeast Asia, Oceania, Western Asia and North Africa, Africa, Latin America, Man and Environment and Music, Dance and Theater.
The reconstruction of local environments and attractive displays of exhibits drawn from the museum's huge collections draw visitors right into the daily lives of the people of the tropics and subtropics. Exhibitions are increasingly seen as an opportunity to organize supplementary activities such as lectures, films, guided tours, music- and theatre shows, often in collaboration with other Institute departments. The museum offers (family)activities on a weekly basis.
For some years now, the museum has been designing its exhibitions with a broad approach to both content and concept. The perspectives of different generations and different ethnic groups are represented in the exhibitions and activities. Leading public figures from the multicultural communities in the Netherlands assist in shaping and defining the museum.
More than just a museum
Being part of the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), the museum is more than just a museum. Experts assist museums around the world in capacity building and other activities, for example in collecting and preserving local cultural heritage.
Other activities include innovative initiatives in the field of museums and of preserving and exhibiting cultural heritage. Take for instance the Museum Bus in the West African state of Benin: With the support of the Tropenmuseum and KIT Development, Policy & Practice, this project created a museum in a bus to reach people in remote areas.
Building on earlier work by the Getty Information Institute, the museum has started a project in fourteen developing countries aimed at cataloguing and describing museum collections using a computer programme. This contributes significantly to countering the theft of and illegal trade in art treasures.
For over 35 years, Tropenmuseum Junior has been a strong advocate of interactive exhibitions and programmes for children of 6 to 13 years of age. It was founded in 1975 as a part of the Tropenmuseum, which itself is part of the Royal Tropical Institute. Every two and a half years the museum develops a new exhibition. More about Tropenmuseum Junior.
The Royal Tropical Institute
The Tropenmuseum is part of the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), a knowledge institute for international and intercultural collaboration. In view of its historic roots as a colonial institute and museum and given its expertise in the field of culture, cultural preservation and exchange is one of KIT’s key tasks, both domestically and internationally. The Institute carries out cultural programmes across the world, aimed at protecting cultural heritage and enhancing cultural exchange. These programmes focus on institutional and capacity building, and on advice with regard to cultural policy. In the Netherlands, the emphasis lies on contributing to the knowledge and understanding of different cultures, and on increasing public support for international and development cooperation. In this respect, the Tropenmuseum, Tropenmuseum Junior and the Tropentheater are key departments.