The glass facade of the institute, part of it with a corner as seen from below
museums,  Netherlands

A Visit to the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

We love visiting museums, our son loves it especially when they’re interactive and have screens. The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision fits right in. A museum fun for both parents and kids. We visited in October 2020, just before the second lockdown in The Netherlands. For Paul and me it was a trip down memory lane with the old tv shows and commercials they showed. For Yuri it was fun due to all the technology, things from his childhood such as YouTube and the interactiveness. We visited just before the museum closed its doors for 2 years to rebuild.

Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision Architecture

The building of the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision (in Dutch Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid) is remarkable. The building alone is worth paying a visit. It stands out through the colored glass façade. The inside is inspiring because of its atrium and canyon shape.

The architects of the building are Willem Jan Neutelings and Michiel Riedijk from Neutelings Riedijk. The designer of the glass façade is Jaap Drupsteen. Glass company Saint Gobain helped him. The building is 26 meters/85 feet high plus 16 meters/53 feet below ground. It was built in 2005 and ready in 2006.

The glass façade is constructed with 2244 glass panels that contain 768 abstracted images from the collection of sound and vision. Each is in relief and has its own color pattern. The glass panels have been placed in a spiral shape from the top of the building around it. This way it creates the effect of stained glass. The outside is simply beautiful and really stands out against the other buildings.

The glass facade of the institute
The glass facade of the institute

The atrium is the central hall which connects every part of the institute: the museum, the offices and the depots. It’s a space with lots of room and light. The museum climbs up like stairs and seems to float in the atrium.

The canyon are the depots of vision and sound, which is below ground. They’re both literally and figuratively the fundaments of the organization. You can see down 5 layers inside the building. The collection of the museum houses here.

There’s a Wall of Fame inside the building. A glass dividing wall which is a monument to Dutch media producers. Each year new people that have won a lifetime award are added with a glass portrait.

Location

There are 2 separate building for the institute. The institute for sound and vision Hilversum the Netherlands and a dependance in The Hague. In Hilversum is the iconic landmark building described above, on the Media Park, in the province of Noord-Holland.

Entrance to the institute
Entrance to the institute

Address:

Media Parkboulevard 1

1217 WE Hilversum

What to See and Do

The museum is closed right now, they’re rebuilding it. Below I will first discuss the old experience, which we did and then what they’re building right now.

The Old Experience

From 2006 till October 2020 the museum had an interactive media exhibition. Through different sections with each its own theme, you got to experience the development of the audio visual media and the 20th century Dutch history.

The rings, one for an adult on my hand, and one for a child on Yuri's hand
The rings

At the entrance each visitor got a ring with a chip inside it. When you activated this ring you got to choose which virtual guide you got. You could hold the ring near several points with screens. This way your guide explained the subject you were at.

The host at the entrance to the museum, a white robot, with a Ipad on it with a picture of a tie
The host at the entrance to the museum
V, the robot is showing Yuri on his screen that Yuri is wider away than 1.5 meters
Practicing the 1.5 meters distance

Throughout the experience you could all do sorts of things yourself, which was fun. Think of making an entrance as a show host or making your own soap series and so on. All these shorts could be saved with your ring and sent to your email.

Theater with a presentation
Theater with a presentation
Yuri at an interactive presentation, Yuri is sitting down and touching a screen, a large screen
Yuri at an interactive presentation
An experience just for kids, acolorful dispaly with lots of lights. Kids can go inside
An experience just for kids

Lots of old and new clips can be viewed in the museum, from old tv series to present day YouTube videos. There are also props from tv series and other objects related to media present at the museum. Which gives it an extra vibe. Learning about the radio and seeing a 1940s radio gives the story more body.

The New Experience

In Fall of 2022 the museum is planned to re-open its doors. It’s going to be the first museum in the world that is going to be continually adapting to what the visitor is doing.

The idea is that each visitor gets to see his own story. Upon entrance of the museum you’ll make a profile with your age, gender, media preferences and interests. On your tour through the museum this gets further specified since you like, dislike and choose things. This way you’ll get a vision of what you do with media and what media does with you. The whole tour will feel as if it’s especially produced for you.

This is what they want to achieve in the new set-up of the museum. I’m curious how it will look and feel, so will check it out once it opens.

An overview of the Old Experience
An overview of the Old Experience

What Else is There to Do

Since the museum part is closed right now, what can you still do to experience media and sound?

The whole year there are the so-called Hillywoodtours on set times on Saturday and Sunday. On a small train you’ll make an hour long tour with a guide through the Media Park, the decors and the props depot.

There’s also on Fridays till May 1st this year a tour called ‘Rondleiding achter gesloten deuren Media & Geluid’ (a tour behind closed doors) on which you get to see places in the building which are normally not open to the public, such as the treasure chambers of the archive in the canyon.

You can still access the enormous archive on all media related items the institute manages: they’re one of the largest archives in the world with several types of media. Such as radio and television programs, video(games), written press, political prints, gifs, podcasts, YouTube-videos, websites and objects.

There’s a giftshop near the museum.

Right now because the museum is closed you can enjoy the collection online.  

The museum building in The Hague can still be visited. Next to that workshops and lectures are being organized in Hilversum but also in the library in Utrecht.

Yuri at a Tv tycoon presentation
Yuri at a Tv tycoon presentation

History

The institute is an audio visual archive with museum functions. How did this come to be?

In 1995 the Dutch government decided to erect a nationwide institute and founded this in 1997 that was tasked with preserving, availability, conservating and the presentation of the Dutch national audio visual heritage. Several organizations fused into one foundation under the name Nederlands Audiovisueel Archief (Dutch Audio Visual Archive). In 2006 the name changed to Beeld en Geluid (Sound and Vision). At the same time the new building in Hilversum was opened, bringing together the museum, archive and knowledge function. In 2017 the Press museum fused with the institute for sound and vision.

How to Visit

The museum is reachable both by car and public transport. The institute in Hilversum is across from train station Hilversum Media Park. Which is about 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam central station and 40 minutes from Schiphol Airport train station. By car it’s 32 kilometers/20 miles from Amsterdam to Hilversum, about 35 minutes driving. It’s 43 kilometers/27 miles from Schiphol Airport, which is some 40 minutes driving.

At the back of the building is the parking garage. Which costs €1.50 per hour, with a max day tariff of €9.00.

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is the closest international airport. Rotterdam The Hague Airport is 85 kilometers/53 miles away, about 1 hour and 10 minutes driving.

Renting a car for visiting this museum or as part of a road trip can be done at either airport. We have good experience with Hertz, Alamo and Stern.

A ticket for the Hillywoodtours costs €3.50 per person. Kids till 4 are for free if they sit on your lap. A family ticket (4 persons) costs €45.00.

Tickets for the tour behind closed doors cost €2.50 per person.

We recommend a visit of 2 hours, based on the old exposition.

A sideways view of the Old Experience
A sideways view of the Old Experience

Where to Eat

Inside the institute is a Grand Café. It’s in the atrium and is on the descending stairs part. It serves as a quiet area, and is arranged as a terrace.

Further there’s an outside terrace surrounded with water.

Where to Stay

Amrâth Hotel Lapershoek Arenapark in Hilversum is a good hotel to stay at for several nights. We loved that there was a park across the hotel and that they had a nice restaurant with a sunny terrace.

A little further but close to Schiphol Airport is NH Hotel Schiphol Airport, Corendon Village Hotel and Van der Valk Hotel Schiphol A4. Rather close to Hilversum and beautifully situated at the lake is Fletcher Hotel-Restaurant Loosdrecht-Amsterdam.

The hotels in Hilversum and Oud-Loosdrecht are also perfect when you want to drive the Tulip Route Flevoland, which isn’t that far from Hilversum.

So That’s All You Need to Know for A Visit to the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

The collection of the institute is ever growing and already contains over 1 million hours of audio visual material.

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