The thoroughly renovated department Archaeology of the Netherlands is a unique permanent exhibition. It opened January 2011 and is the only complete survey of the archaeological history of the Netherlands. Focusing on 75 major archaeological sites, it takes you through 300,000 years of history, as you follow the trail of discoveries through time. The journey begins in early prehistory, leads through the Roman period, passes through the early and late Middle Ages, and ends in the modern era.
300,000 years of history
The objects in the department span a vast period of time, illustrating a full 300,000 years of history. More than 2,000 items are on display, including classics from the museum's collection such as a rolled-up sword and urn from a 'royal' grave in Oss (700-550 BC), or a hoard of Viking silver from Wieringen (c. AD 850). But there are also many recent and unexpected finds on display. You will meet Krijn, the first Dutch Neanderthal. And you will see a hearth that last burned 11,650 years ago, a spiral of gold from the Early Middle Ages, a complete fifteenth-century ship, a Renaissance milestone, and a toothbrush used by a German army officer in the Second World War.
The timeline, meeting places, and dreams for children
Archaeology of the Netherlands features a strikingly original design. A large, white band curls all the way through the second-floor exhibition space like a ribbon, forming a 300,000 year timeline that incorporates all the display cases, labels, videos, and multimedia applications.
The department not only presents top Dutch discoveries, but above all, explores the places where objects were found. With Google Earth, you can travel back in time and see what the landscape used to look like. There are also interactive meeting places, where people from prehistory, the Middle Ages, and the sixteenth century talk about their daily lives. Children can crawl into five reconstructed sleeping places. As if in a dream, they will see and hear fleeting sounds and images of reindeer hunters, Bronze Age farmers, Romans, Vikings, and knights.
Group tours of Islands of the Gods with an English-speaking guide are available every day that the museum is open. The price is €75 per hour (max. 25 participants, museum admission not included). You can reserve a group tour online (webpages in Dutch) or by calling the museum's Service Desk: +31 71 5163 163.