A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Yes, we all know that Leiden is a small town and although I still amaze myself with the little surprises the city presents me every week I find refreshing to take a train from time to time to go somewhere else. This time I felt I was missing a bigger and more urban city that somewhat reminds me of the São Paulo back home- not really, but some of the urban feel is there =)- so I decided to join my fellow ISNers on a trip to Amsterdam to check the Museum Night- that Amsterdammers call n8-.
What is the Museum Night you might ask. Well, every year various Dutch cities host one and Amsterdam usually hosts its Museum Night on the first Saturday of November when it opens the doors of around 50 museums after their opening hours. Which means that with the same ticket (this year it costed 17,50 euros and included the entrance to all the participant museums + free transport in Amsterdam + free entrance to one of the after parties + entrance to one of the museums in another day) you can check as many museums as you want from 19:00 to 02:00. If that wasn´t cool enough they even put a cherry on top of that cultural sundae and every museum has a super cool special event- workshops, concerts, special performances, tastings, tours etc. – which makes the visit even more special. The tickets are sold out pretty quickly and you can check the night programme and get them on their website, so keep an eye on http://museumnachtamsterdam.nl/ for next year´s event!
I was super excited to go since last year I wasn´t in the Netherlands to enjoy it. But little did I know how hard it was to decide which museums to go. So many cool things were happening that I felt lost while planning it. Luckily my more experienced ISN colleagues came up with a cool schedule for us. Some of us from the board plus 35 students took the train to A´dam and went for a budget friendly pizza dinner.
After that we went to start our museum visits on the Van Gogh museum. I had been there already a few months ago, so I was not particularly excited. But they had these very cool image projections on their large walls that were just mesmerizing! I think I spent more than 10 minutes just contemplating it. Besides that they had this ‘Red Light District’ Radio playing cool loungy music, this cool installation to show Van Gogh´s painting technique and they had this cool bar away from the crowds on the underground floor where I had a drink with a friend while checking on the big screen how full were the other museums.
After that we went on to Stedelijk (right next to Van Gogh) and the overall theme for that museum was ‘space’ although there were not a lot of references to it. I´m really into contemporary art so I loved it, but I know some were disappointed with the lack of ‘special events’ etc…However they had a woman graciously playing the harp with a lot of people watching it from pillows on the floor, and -again on the underground floor- had this dark room with space like sounds and this cool/ weird asteroid installation. They also had this room where you could draw on a post card and take it with you to send a loved one.
After Stedelijk we visited FOAM- the photography museum- and it was PACKED!!! Besides their regular exhibition, which is already worth the visit, they had two places where people could have photo shoot, one cool Jameson bar that besides serving awesome drinks also gave people a polaroid souvenir that also served as a discount for a drink. On the top floor there was this cool/ weird (best combination if you ask me) installation representing the sky with plastic balls ‘floating’ on the ceiling while lights were projected upon them, very relaxing. But the coolest thing was this exhibit inspired by the African Space Project. I didn´t have the opportunity to take pictures, but they were so beautiful and in the same room they created a space for open debates and put some very comfy pillows on the floor.
Following FOAM we had aquick snacks pit stop and then headed towards the Joods Historisch Museum– Museum of Jewish History- and I hadn´t been there before. I have some orthodox Jewish friends in Brazil and I loved to read and see more of their history. The museum is really great for anyone interest in social cultural aspects of other people and I loved it. They also had the best music on this clubby room they put together! They also offered activities for kids and this cool digital graffiti workshop.
Last but not least we went to the Science Center Nemo and the place is AMAZING. Awesome for all ages! Their overall theme was sweetness or something like that and they had SO MUCH going on that it was hard deciding which floor to explore first. The live candy- making right by the entrance made that decision easier.
After that sugar boost some of us ran for the popular test ‘how sweet is your test’ and to experience the smell of the oxytocin hormone, however we got there too late (around 12:45am) and they were no longer accepting new people to do those experiments. Not to worry, there was enough to be done in the massive building! They even had a party going on the upper floor with an amazing scenic view of the city for those that didn´t mind the cold while standing outside.
At 02:00 sharp they announced that the Museum Nacht was officially over and it was time to start the after parties. I did want to go, but we were just by the Central Station and the idea of being under my duvet after an exciting but tiring night got the best of me.
I will most likely not be here for next year´s Museum Nacht but I guarantee you will not regret going! Take your time choosing your route through the Museums and cater the night to your preferences.