In my final post about our visit to the Science Centre NEMO in Amsterdam, I’ll take you on a little tour of the building inside and out.
Of course you’ve seen a few of the exhibits but the building itself is also amazingly built.
Firstly, since land is a scarce commodity in the Netherlands, back in 1968 they utilised space with usual Dutch ingenuity and built a highway in a tunnel called the IJtunnel under the sea to connect the centre of Amsterdam with Amsterdam Noord. Wiki tells me that:
The total length of the tunnel, including on- and off-ramps, is 1682 metres.(5518 feet). The covered part is 1039 metres long. (3408 feet) The deepest point of the tunnel lies 20.32 metres (66.8 feet) below sea-level.
Then they saved space even further by building the five story NEMO building in 1997 on top of the tunnel. From a distance the building looks like a ship, so it almost appears to float in the harbour.
The fifth floor of the building houses a Café, the food of which we were not particularly impressed with because we took a very late lunch at quarter to four (NIMO closes at 5 p.m.) and there was practically nothing left on offer. What we did have was mediocre at best, but the view from the top of the building was what really grabbed our attention.
Massive tiered steps slope down the face of the building, there’s a giant chess set to play with and best of all, views of central Amsterdam that take your breath away even on a grey rainy day like this. The kids of course don’t mind the rain and run up and down the steps in the drizzle, I venture out a little way to take photos, and muse that if you can marvel that there’s so much to see on a day like this, how magnificent it must be when the sun is shining.
The NEMO website says that it’s possible to get to this observation deck for free and I think if I was an Amsterdam worker, working nearby then this would be a wonderful place to come during your lunch break, just bring your own sandwich and enjoy the fabulous vista.
Inside the building there are not too many windows: the walls being filled with exhibits, but where there is a window, there are also stunning views over the harbour and central Amsterdam.
Finally, there were two exhibits that totally defied my attempts to photograph them. The first was an especially set up display Heath Robinson style, on the first floor where at a designated time Staff set off a chain reaction as balls, balloons, shopping trolleys and a myriad of paraphernalia set of a domino effect.
I tried static shots from a vantage point on the balcony as the various bits and pieces whizzed, popped, banged, bounced, skidded and fell, and managed to miss all of the dramatic moments completely (rather an achievement considering the amount of opportunity presented).
It appears I was always one step ahead of the action or one step behind it, so note to self: This kind of action is probably best left to a video camera or a camera that takes stills in slow motion (and probably with many retakes.)
The second was a moving light: to the human eye it made a complete circle of connected loops, but the camera couldn’t get even remotely close to what I could actually see in front of me: even the fastest setting, I could only capture the tiniest portion of the circle, proving indeed that no matter how amazing the science we have seen here today, that the magical miracle of the mechanics of the human body and brain still out-shines every single one of them.