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Super exiting moment discovering the panels of the « 4 visions on the Anthropocene » box we made for the Vienna Biennal 2021! Work in Progress

12.05.2021 at 12:00 by Lea Chenot


A big empty space, right before installing all exhibits at WeTheCurious! Project What If

01.02.2021 at 12:19 by Ina Meininghaus


Safety vs. functionality: looking for the best headphones to use in a factory Expedition HVC

07.01.2021 at 17:39 by Roel Bolhuis


The new temporary exhibition in House of European History is 'under construction' Fake (f)or Real

07.01.2021 at 17:32 by Tsur Reshef


The last steps before the Coronel Pavilion at the Portuguese-Israeli Cemetery Beth Haim is opened! Coronel pavilion

29.11.2020 at 14:30 by Remco Swart


All in good hands with Fiction Factory Museum of the Mind

07.11.2020 at 17:32 by Femke Bijlsma


"Who Cares?" The first model for a personal story in the upcoming exhibition on the Mind Museum of the Mind

20.08.2020 at 11:45 by Robert van der Linde

Visiting Paleis Het Loo together with Ina, to get an impression of the new exhibition spaces that are currently under construction. Het Loo palace

22.06.2020 at 14:08 by Robin Schijfs


Last trip before Corona Lockdown: Usomo from Berlin calibrating their audio tracking system in the Polder of Texel next to the bunker. Torn Island

22.06.2020 at 10:32 by Michel de Vaan

How to become invisible? Prototyping together with WeTheCurious at Bruns Project What If

17.03.2020 at 15:33 by Ina Meininghaus


Prototyping a rainbow crystal sphere for one of the new exhibit constellations at WeTheCurious. Project What If

12.03.2020 at 09:51 by Ina Meininghaus


Workshop at IJsfontein together with the Museum of the Mind - Work in Progress Museum of the Mind

06.02.2020 at 12:26 by Julia Meyerrose


Typo test for Museum of the Mind Museum of the Mind

23.01.2020 at 09:19 by Sietske Sips


Julia sketching for the new permanent exhibition at the Museum of the Mind Museum of the Mind

22.12.2019 at 15:43 by Lieke Ketelaars


Walk-in interactive sound space demonstration by Usomo in our office in Amsterdam... Torn Island

16.12.2019 at 15:10 by Mark de Jong


David Vroom is taking new portrait images for our new website... In progress…

10.12.2019 at 15:10 by Lieke Ketelaars


This is the Introduction pavilion for the Beth Haim cemetery in TAPE Coronel pavilion

10.12.2019 at 10:05 by Herman Kossmann


Doing some research for a new project ;-) In progress…

19.09.2019 at 09:50 by Maaike Sips

On view

the Invisible


Artis, Amsterdam (NL)

They’re everywhere. Every human being carries two kilos of bacteria on them. And so do you. On and in your body. That’s a good thing because you can’t do without bacteria. They are essential for us, but also for the rest of life on earth. In Micropia you step into a new world, an invisible world that is present in and around you. You need microbes to digest your food but they can also make you sick. In this world you will encounter intriguing inhabitants such as the paramecium, extremophiles, leafcutter ants, water bears, and lots of viruses.

Amsterdam (NL)
850 m2
Concept, Spatial design, Graphic design, Creative direction
Michel de Vaan (lead), Mark de Jong, Niels de Jong, Jelte van Abbema, Pauline Fer, Sietske Sips, Valentina Rafaeli, Andreas Tscholl, Wiebren Schilstra, Britte Hietkamp (intern)
Media design
Simon Corder
Film and animations
Bind en Sterk, HollandCentraal, PlusOne, Temponaut, Wim van Egmond
Photo material
Artis, Wim van Egmond, ANP, Dennis Kunkel Microscopy Inc., Shutterstock, Stephen Gschmeissner
Sound and soundscapes
Peter Flamman
Build and realisation
Bruns BV
Sprenger von der Lippe
Real and alive

As Micropia is located in a zoo, we wanted to show real, living microbes which you can see moving and changing. There are microbiologists working there, who take care of the microbes and can explain everything. This turned out to be a huge challenge, but it is also what makes Micropia unique and timeless. Using electron microscopes you can operate yourself, spectacular animations and interactive exhibits we made the invisible visible.


“We created a body scan that you control by moving your body where your own microbes are the subject.”

Michel de Vaan

Chief designer – KDJ

All eyes on microbes

The only light in Micropia comes from the exhibited objects. It’s an inverse laboratory: not white and sterile but dark and mysterious. All eyes are automatically on the microbes. For example, you discover how many bacteria you exchange with a French kiss. On a life-size screen you can see how many microbes ‘live’ with you. And on a collection of cultures taken from everyday objects – such as a toothbrush and a mobile phone – you can see the countless bacteria on them.

“The soundscape is an essential element connecting the story”.

Mark de Jong


Good commissioning

Micropia was created through a cooperative process between many parties. The building, the spatial design and all media were developed in a fully integrated way. In order for this project to succeed, there was a lot that needed to be figured out on a microbiological level; there was a big risk whether this would succeed. Good commissioning proved once again to be essential here. Gaining trust, being on an adventure together to create something new, ultimately paid off in a very special project.

“I never thought I’d find microbes this interesting.”


Medical student at the University of Amsterdam.


The Best in Heritage 2017

Project of Influence

DASA Award 2016

Most Innovative European Museum – winner

European Museum of the Year Award 2016

Kenneth Hudson Award – winner

German Design Award 2015

Special Mention

Museums+Heritage Awards 2015

International – Highly Commended

SBID International Design Award 2015


FX International Awards 2015

Interior Design – Shortlisted

Best of Year Award 2015

Interior Design – Honoree