Great Hall - Tropenmuseum - Amsterdam
Permanent exhibition

A building full of stories

The Tropenmuseum is housed in one of the most beautiful purpose-built museums in the Netherlands

It took more than ten years to construct, due in part to a series of setbacks. The building was officially opened by Queen Wilhelmina on 9 October 1926.

Impressive Lichthal

Our visitors are often very impressed by our huge central atrium, or Lichthal (literally ‘Hall of Light’), which affords a good view of what the museum has to offer.

A building full of stories

During the construction of the building a special ‘symbolism committee’ was established to ensure that the sculptured features in the building referred to the country’s colonial ties with the Netherlands East Indies. Images associated with this relationship – men of the United East India Company, Buddhas, mythological animals, proverbs, religious references and important products – can be seen on pillars and walls, above doors and windows, and even on doorknobs.

During the Second World War the Germans occupied the majority of the building adjacent to the museum. At the same time, there were Jews in hiding in the part of the museum that now houses Tropenmuseum Junior. Many items were concealed in the numerous hiding places throughout the building, from radio equipment to important documents, some of which were even hidden in hollow statues.

The building is made of:

  • 7.5 million bricks
  • 4,400,000 kg of cement
  • 330 m3 of granite
  • 1100 m3 of limestone
  • 6600 m3 of gravel
  • 6000 m3 of sand
  • 750,000 kg of steel
  • 6,111 piles

Like to know more about our building?

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A building full of stories