March 31, 2002
The ground floor exhibit, People and Environments, talks about four different ecosystems and the inhabitants of each. These are: tropical rainforests, the savannah, the city, and the seashore. In each exhibit, visitors are shown how problems of erosion and of soil, traffic congestion and pollution, can negatively impact these environments and what can possibly be done to save these ecosystems.
The exhibits of the first floor feature Southern Asia, Oceania and Southeast Asia. I particularly enjoyed the Music, Dance, and Theatre exhibit that shows a variety of oriental musical instruments, set up as though a concert were about to start.
The second floor visits Western Asia, North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Visit a model of the Arab city of Aleppo, or an exhibit called The Last Judgment, which talks about the afterlife, a central idea in the religion of Islam.
A special exhibit when I visited was a fantastic display called Kites of the World. Many of these brilliantly colored kites are owned by the museum, while private Dutch collectors own others. Ranging in size from perhaps a foot square to more than 5 or 6 feet high, these were displayed on the walls and hung from the ceiling of the 3-story central gallery. There were multi-dimension kites, as well as kites formed into the likeness of sailing ships, birds, snakes butterflies and other shapes.
The Tropenmuseum has a small gift shop with a fabulous selection of world music, travel books, language books, and books about all facets of the cultures the museum illustrates. It’s worthwhile visiting just to check out the wealth of books and music available. From Rembrandt Square, take either the 9 or 14 tram and get off at the Tropenmuseum stop (just a bit past the zoo).
From journal Springtime in Amsterdam