The National Heritage Museum is an open air museum, founded in Arnhem at the beginning of the twentieth century to preserve memories of rural culture and traditional crafts in Netherlands.
The landscape was considered as the starting point for the design. In addition, materials with a history have been employed. A path built of recycled cobblestones leads one past something that looks like a huge boulder, 13 metres high and without any visible entrance. Cutting across the countryside is a wall, 143 metres long, made of old cobblestones and bricks with different bonds and joint methods. Through the museum gate in this wall one comes to a large airy hall with an outlook to the open air part of the museum. The hall floor undulates with the changing levels of the landscape. The exhibition galleries are situated in the lowest floor level. From it a tunnel leads visitors to the interior of the boulder. This is the ‘HollandRama’, a rotating panoramic theatre where a multimedia show brings historic objects to life.
The entrance hall forms the central area of the museum and includes facilities such as toilets, the café and the museum shop. It is a link between indoors and outdoors and it also houses the knowledge centre and auditorium, both of which are in keeping with the current trend in museums. The layout of the changing exhibitions and the semi-permanent display of costumes and jewellery from the museum’s own collection also reflect current trends.