Another post from my 2012 archives for you whilst I head back to bed.
Last May the kids had school holidays and most days it rained. After organising some weekday play-dates by the weekend we were all looking forward to going out to a morning appointment in Amsterdam.
After the appointment we sat thinking about something that might be nice to do here in Amsterdam with the kids and this is how we ended up at “NEMO”. On their website I got the following information:
NEMO is the Netherlands’ largest science center and opened in 1997. It consists of five floors packed with scientific and technological things to do and discover. Science Center NEMO is the place to discover science and technology in a fun and educational way.
The name NEMO has been used throughout history by many famous authors to describe events and people who find themselves on the border between fantasy and reality. In Latin nemo means ‘no one’ and indicates a world between fantasy and reality.
Visitors to NEMO Science Centre can become a scientist, technologist or technician for a day. Suddenly dreams are real.
The name “Nemo” is already very well known:
The most famous Nemo – written here with small letters – is the mystical captain of the famous 19th century book ’20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ by Jules Verne. In his submarine Nautilus, Captain Nemo travels through the murky underwater world, having amazing adventures.
In 1910, the American cartoonist Winsor McCay created the dream boy Little Nemo. In his dreams, Little Nemo has many adventures, in which fantasy and reality are so intertwined that it is no longer possible to distinguish one from the other.
The oldest use of Nemo to mean ‘no one’ can be found in the Latin version of Homer’s Odyssey. After the Trojan War, Odysseus sets off home, crossing the land of the Cyclopes, the one-eyed giants.
One of them, Polyphemos, takes Odysseus and his crew captive. Odysseus begs Polyphemos to let him and his crew go. When Polyphemos asks his name, Odysseus replies ‘Nemo’.
Instead of letting him and his men go, Polyphemos eats two of the prisoners. Odysseus then thinks of a clever way to escape.
He gets Polyphemos drunk on wine and while he is sleeping off the intoxication, Odysseus sticks a glowing pole in his eye. Polyphemos screams. The other Cyclopes hear the noise and come running. They ask if someone is trying to kill him.
Polyphemos cries: “No one is trying to kill me, friends.” “Then deal with it on your own,” the other Cyclopes think and Odysseus is able to make his escape.
Nemo, the famous fish from the Walt Disney film, captured the world’s imagination in 2003. Since then, many young visitors have asked the director why his science centre is named after a clown fish.
Around 500,000 people visit the green building above the IJ Tunnel in Amsterdam every year.
From the very beginning where they discover an orange shell-like structure that echoes back sound, or the orange and red cylinders what revolve the faster you spin them the more lights light up, or the machine blows bubbles or sand rises in a chamber, to using a magnet to make a TV work, or playing with light and colour: this place is as hands-on as it gets and both children and adults present are having fun having a go… … and there’s still so much more to see!