When I was a kid, we used to visit the Teylers Museum in Haarlem as a school outing. I was fascinated by all the history and the weird and wonderful things the museum holds. A few weeks ago I took our toddler, who’s now 3,5, to visit the museum. He’s still a bit too young to fully appreciate it, but he enjoyed it nonetheless and was very impressed. He still talks about our visit now and wants to go back.
The Teylers Museum is the oldest museum in the Netherlands, dating back to 1784. It’s the only place in the world where you can see an authentic museum interior from the 18th century. The building is absolutely stunning and worth visiting even without the extensive collection of paintings, drawings, ancient scientific instruments, old coins, fossils and minerals and valuable books.
The history of the Teylers museum
The museum is named after Pieter Teyler van der Hulst (1702-1778), who was a rich cloth merchant and banker from Haarlem. He had a great interest in art and science. When he died in 1778 he left his collection of books, drawings and coins as well as his considerable wealth to the Teylers Foundation. In line with the ideas of the Enlightenment, the first directors of the Teylers Foundation decided to create a center for study and education. The Oval Room, designed by Leendert Viervant 1779 as an ‘art and book’ room, was meant for research and study. Over the years, the museum was gradually extended. The latest addition was in 2002, with a museum shop and a multimedia room.
Visiting the Teylers Museum (with a toddler)
The museum is absolutely fascinating if you enjoy history and as it had been a long time since I was there myself, I decided to give it a go. We spend about one hour inside. That doesn’t seem so long, but I was quite impressed by our tot. It’s a proper museum, without much interaction. There’s a lot to see, but not much to do for a toddler. They do offer activities for slightly older kids (from age 4), such as treasure hunts and workshops and educational programs for schools. I’m sure we’ll be back when he gets a bit older. There’s still a lot to discover!
Our visit in pictures
To give you an impression of the Teylers Museum and our visit, check out these pictures.