Member Rating 4 out of 5 by billmoy on July 22, 2004

NEMO (the National Center for Science and Technology) is one of the newer landmark buildings in Amsterdam, a sloping greenish structure on the eastern harbor that is reminiscent of the bow of a large ship, or even a whale. The ship is perhaps a more appropriate image for Amsterdam, as a whale has probably never been spotted in the canals here. Debuting in 1997, NEMO was designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, with O. de Nooyer as the partner in charge. The name of the building is a reference to Jules Verne.

NEMO is a bit of a distance from the "main" part of Amsterdam, perhaps about a fifteen-minute walk east of Centraal Station. You will have to walk across some footbridges to arrive there. The stroll will give you ample opportunity to size up the seemingly floating building and soak in the scenery around you. The greenish copper is the dominant cladding of the building exterior, but the ground floor is primarily glass and there is brick used as well. Try to walk all around the monumental complex and appreciate its wonderful waterside setting before you enter. One day a jazz musician was plying his trade outside the museum, which added to the overall ambience.

This is a popular and festive science and technology museum that is designed for maximum interactive fun and learning for the kids. Most of the displays deal with scientific topics like energy, medicine and communication, but there is even an educational display on money. Skylights and staircases visually link the interior levels. The multilevels and spaces can lead to sensory overload for youngsters, but it is still a refreshingly good time. The store on the main level is filled with colorful gifts and souvenirs that hopefully will teach a thing or two as well.

The most exciting element of the design is its brilliant viewing deck on its sloping rooftop, which serves as an unofficial city plaza. Even if you are not visiting the museum itself, make the effort to climb the stairs or ramp to the top. There are some marvelous views of the buildings and canals of Amsterdam from the deck of NEMO. There is usually no charge to visit the rooftop, but in the summertime the deck becomes a "beach" so there is a cost then.

Oosterdok 2
Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1011 VX
+31 900 919 11 00

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