Nemo Science Center – Amsterdam
Nemo is a science center in Amsterdam and one of the most popular museums in The Netherlands.
Founded in 1923 as the Labour Museum, Nemo (National Center for Science and Technology) is housed since 1997 in a five-story building located in Amsterdam’s Docklands.
The oxidized copper-clad iconic house of NEMO was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano to resemble a ship at anchor in the middle of the old port.
Piano also conceived a constantly-sloped building roof to give people easy access to the museum’s terrace, through a stepped walkway (elevators for disabled people were also added).
Both the building’s shape and structure (made in concrete and steel) were conditioned by, almost tailored around we may say, a large vehicular tunnel the museum sits upon.
Photo by Martijn de Valk (CC BY-NC 2.0).
Photo by tim_d
NEMO Science Center, transverse section, drawing courtesy of RPBW
NEMO Science Center, south elevation, drawing courtesy of RPBW
NEMO, view from the south, photo by Heather McNabb (CC BY-NC 2.0).
Night view of Amsterdam’s docklands, photo Steve Hunt (CC BY-ND 2.0).
Unlike other museums designed by Piano, NEMO does not rely much on natural lighting; its windows are mostly small in size and aimed to provide views over the city of Amsterdam, rather than to light the museum’s rooms. The entrance hall and the main exhibition gallery make an exception since both are equipped with large windows, which, along with overlooking the docklands area, generously pour daylight into those spaces.
Exhibition and activities
Nemo is a typical science center that features a large number of “hands-on” exhibits, interactive installations, and learning experiences especially aimed at children, families, and schools.
The museum presents various science-related subjects sorted into – currently eleven – semi-permanent galleries entitled Miracle of Science, Phenomena, Machine park, Amazing constructions, Water world, The joy of science, Water Power, Teen facts, Laboratory, Journey through the mind, and Smart Technology. The exhibitions feature interactive and multimedia exhibits, 3D reconstructions and models, and a large ensemble of specimens.
NEMO’s exhibition, installation views, photos by DigiDaan, courtesy of NEMO.
One of the most popular features of the center, the Nemo panoramic roof terrace is an outdoor space, overlooking Amsterdam’s historic center, equipped with seating spaces and fountains, which also features an open-air exhibition, entitled Energetica, composed of installations aimed to demonstrate how energy is conveyed by wind, water, and sunlight.
NEMO’s panoramic roof and the “Energetica” exhibition, photos by DigiDaan, courtesy of NEMO.
NEMO also hosts temporary exhibitions, workshops, and educational programs.
The museum’s building, fully accessible to people with disabilities, includes two cafes, one situated on the panoramic terrace and open in summer, and another located in the museum’s lobby.
Cover photo by DigiDaan, courtesy of NEMO.
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