First Stop on a Gloomy Amsterdam Day Should be the Museum with the City's DNA
Can a museum take on the mammoth task of finding a city’s genetic code? Well, the Amsterdam Museum has done just that by launching its Amsterdam DNA permanent installation in 2012. It’s an interesting exhibit, yes, but on top of that, it’s really kind of cool.
The Museum has traced the city’s history over the past 1,000 years and figured out what has made the city tick over all that time of development – the good, the bad, and the ugly. What they’ve come up with is this: the city has four genetic markers that gauge its progression through time. The first is its indomitable spirit of enterprise, secondly tolerance and freedom of thought, then civic virtue, and, finally, creativity.
When you first head up to the ticket counter, you are given your own personal DNA code (which looks like a QR code). With it, you scan your code to start films in your own language, activate your personal DNA analysis, and make and view online after the fact your civic-guard photo.
As you wind your way through the separate rooms in the museum that represent different time periods, you learn about the city’s construction techniques that enabled the creation of something out of this mass of nothing swampland; its religious battles; its powerful Dutch East India Company, whose trading prowess made the city rich but also included the trading of slaves; its support of the Jewish people during the Second World War (we all learned about Anne Frank in school, right?); and its incredible artistic community (can you say Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Vermeer?).
As soon as you get to the city and the jet lag subsides enough to let you get out and about, head here first. The museum says it’s a 45-minute snapshot tour, and maybe we’re slow, but it took us a full afternoon to make our way through the exhibit, including a stop for a Heineken in the outdoor café.
[Photos: Janice Tober for Jaunted]