Museum of the 20th Century

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The 20th Century. A period in which our parents sat surrounded by orange and brown wallpaper around a fondue set, listening to ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA. In contrast, our grandparents decorated their living rooms with lace doilies and rubber plants. The Museum of the 20th Century (Het Museum van de 20e Eeuw) in Hoorn shows how daily life looked in the last century through hundreds of items.

  • Museum with a fantastic location in a former prison on Oostereiland.
  • Regular temporary exhibitions with themes especially for children.
  • Hundreds of original objects from the 20th century.

This museum awakens memories

Whoever visits the Museum of the 20th Century with Gran and Grandpa will hear happy cries of: ‘We had that radio in the living room at home! And I bought a tape recorder like that for my 40th birthday! We had the same blackboards and wooden desks in school!’ The museum in Hoorn promises a short time traveling trip to those years when telephones didn’t have touchscreens, but dials.

A glimpse into the daily life of the last century

Using hundreds of objects from the period between 1900 and 1980, the visitors dive into times gone by. They enter an early classroom, wander through an Aunt Emma store, take a look at their grandparents’ kitchen and living room and marvel at gramophones and old-fashioned televisions. Many rooms are in their original state and – from the curtains to the table decorations to the furniture – are kept in the style of the respective period.

Once a prison, now a museum

The imposing building, which is located on the island of Oostereiland between Hoorn harbor and Markermeer, served as a prison in the 19th and 20th centuries. The inmates had to carry out light work, for example, sorting raisins (krenten) which is why the prison bears the nickname ‘Raisin Garden’ (krententuin). Following three years of renovations, the Museum of the 20th Century moved into the former prison in 2012.

Pretty town on Markermeer: Hoorn

Hoorn is impressive – next to the Museum of the 20th Century – with historic monuments from the 17th century when the town was one of the most important centers for commercial shipping and experienced a period of prosperity. How wealthy Hoorn was then is evidenced by the magnificent buildings of the Old Town and the valuable art objects in the Westfries Museum. In contrast to the Museum of the 20th Century, the Westfries Museum is dedicated to the 17th century which in Holland is known as the Golden Age.

Staying in Hoorn

Combine a visit to the Museum of the 20th Century with a long weekend in Hoorn and its surroundings. Recommended is a trip on the historic narrow-gauge steam railway which takes you leisurely from Hoorn to Medemblik with a lot of steam and snorting. From Medemblik you can take a – equally historic – ship over the IJsselmeer to Enkhuizen so that you don’t have to go home after such a full day on the steam railway and in the Museum of the 20th Century (Het Museum van de 20e Eeuw) you can even stay in the cells of the former prison on Oostereiland!

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Museum of the 20th Century
Address: 
Krententuin 24
1621DG Hoorn