National Heritage Museum, Arnhem

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National Heritage Museum, Arnhem

The Netherlands Open Air Museum (Dutch: Nederlands Openluchtmuseum) is an open air museum and park located near Arnhem with antique houses, farms and factories from different parts of the Netherlands.

Museum History

The museum was founded in 1912 and is situated in the woods near Arnhem. The museum park is 44 hectares in area and includes buildings from various places and historical periods.

In 1987, the Dutch government was primed to shut down the museum, but in a demonstration of solidarity for the historic museum, Dutch crowds flooded the museum's doors, hoping to view the exhibits before they closed. The museum was allowed to remain open due to its unprecedented success during this time and was given greater autonomy over its organization. The museum also has a collection of historical clothing and jewellery. New indoor exhibition space was built in 1999–2000. The museum won the European Museum of the Year Award in 2005.


On site at the museum there are many reenactors demonstrating the old way of life. Among these demonstrations are paper production, linseed production, and beer brewing, which are all demonstrated in the old way. All of these products are sold under the museum's name in the gift shop.

The heritage tram line opened in the museum in 1996. The line is 1750 m long, standard gauge. It has classic electric trams from Amsterdam, Arnhem, Rotterdam, and The Hague. The pride of the museum's new line is a recreation of an Arnhem tram from 1929, the GETA 76, which was constructed by the museum.


Much research is done on-site at the Open Air Museum for the dating of materials acquired. The Multimedia Library of the museum contains thousands of pictures, slides, diagrams, videos, and audio recordings documenting Dutch folk life. They also work in tandem with the Foundation for Historical Farm Research (SHBO), the Working Party for Farmyards Foundation (SWB), and the Centre for Documentation and Information on Regional Dress (SDI) in their research on folk culture.

Mission statement

The museum's website advertises its mission as,

"To share experiences...

To tell true stories about real people to a broad range of visitors through vivid, interactive presentations using authentic buildings and objects and to encourage visitors to share their own experiences with us – and with each other"


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Building Activity