GOLD – Rijksmuseum Boerhaave by the Studio Louter / OPERA Amsterdam , Netherlands

Case Study


The Rijksmuseum Boerhaave needed a total refurbishment. The challenge in renewing the exhibition was to bring the visitor in contact with the stories and people behind the instruments. The exhibition had to appeal not only to people who love science, but also to dreamers and to people who rather act than analyse.




Studio Louter/OPERA Amsterdam used the Emotion Design method to develop an overall interpretive concept: how to see differently. The new Museum Boerhaave now offers visitors the chance to see the collection and the history of science differently, experiencing science through the eyes of scientist.




Instead of fighting the complex structure of the museum, we capita- lized on the singularity of each space to create atmospheric worlds tailored to the story. The ancient attic is transformed into a metapho- rical study of the Golden Age. A large, bright space is an infirmary with white curtains and bed-like showcases. Small rooms are cabi- nets of curiosities. The last vast and high space is a cathedral for the big question that scientist now are trying to answer.




The reviews were unanimously positive. NRC Handelsblad stated: “The new Boerhaave shows the people behind the instruments.” Nederlands Dagblad states: “New Boerhaave excites all senses.” The University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam undertook a visitor survey in Rijksmuseum Boerhaave and several other museums. Com- pared to the other museums, visitors were the most motivated to explore the complete exhibition and they felt more relaxed. Also they gave Boerhaave the highest average mark of all: an 8,3.