Nan Mungard (Germany):
On the occasion of our WHS get together in Rotterdam, I decided to visit Teylers Museum in Haarlem. My parents recommended visiting Haarlem in general. And the logistics were good, as Haarlem is well connected with both Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
Teylers is a museum named after Pieter Teyler, a wealthy citizen of Haarlem. He died childless and donated large parts of his estate to the founding of the museum in 1778. The topics of the museum range from natural science to the arts and fit well into the age of enlightenment.
The very original (18th century) presentation of items is the key feature of the museum. I hope the linked image gives a bit of an impression.
While this may have historical or cultural value, it makes it very hard to access and enjoy the collection as a visitor nowadays. You receive very little visual guidance (where to look, what is important, some explanations). And the cabinets feel cluttered with too many objects on show. I do feel that how we present objects in museums has significantly improved since the 18th century.
The Dutch argument for inscription rests on the role of the institution in fostering science in the Enlightenment, the civilian origin of the museum and the original state of the museum. They claim this to be a first.
Personally, I found myself greatly reminded of the Franckesche Stiftungen in Halle, a civilian foundation by a childless merchant itself. The Stiftungen house the oldest civilian museum in Germany. While the exhibition in Halle is smaller and served a different purpose (school instead of science with a clear religious bent), it's still about natural science and presented in similar 18th century manner using large cabinets. Finally, Halle is older (80 years or so). Knowing that Halle is up for decision soon, the Dutch should possibly rework their nomination file a bit to strengthen their OUV claim.
* There are plenty of regular trains from Amsterdam. Then it's a 15min walk from Haarlem station.
While you are there:
* Haarlem itself is quite nice and worth a visit. Small streets, canals, .. very Dutch and less crowded than Amsterdam.
* The Grote Kerk and the Grote Markt are images you will know if you have seen any Dutch Masters.
* If you get off the train at Haarlem Spaarnwoude you can visit three fortifications of the Amsterdam Fortification Ring. Fort Liebrug is quite accessible as it nowadays houses shops.
Date posted: August 2015
Have you been to Teylers? Share your experiences!