On view

Material emotions

Things that Matter

Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam (NL)

Things That Matter is a permanent exhibition in the large central hall of the Tropenmuseum about important things and the importance of things: objects of great personal significance that are at the same time closely linked to social issues of today, such as migration and ancestry.
 Based on ten questions, objects from the museum’s collection are shown. For each someone – from the Netherlands or far beyond – shares his or her personal story. For example, Jörgen Raymann talks about the different religions within his family and activist Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner expresses her concerns about rising sea levels and the effect it will have on her culture.

Amsterdam (NL)
900 m2
Concept, Spatial design, Graphic design, Art direction
Robin Schijfs, Wendy Snoek
Light design
Kloosterboer Decor, VHS b.v., Com Creative
Portrait photography
David Vroom
Studio Louter, YiPP
Architecture of the Central Hall

The central hall must remain suitable for other activities such as an opening or event. There was also a desire to restate the original architecture of the 19th-century building. That is why we have used our design to leave the large central space open and to remove all the panels in front of the windows so that daylight can once again flow freely into the hall. The monumental bisj poles from Papua New Guinea are sometimes up to 5 meters long. They can be shown nowhere else in the building but here. We mounted them at height, on the columns of the large trusses where they now give the hall a magical feel.

Different worlds

Under the existing arcades on two sides of the hall, we have designed spatial installations of different sizes that are completely separate from the architecture of the building. Upon entering these boxes you step into a different world each time. With always a different atmosphere, setting and collection and encounter with a person and his or her story. On the outside are large light boxes of a large number of Dutch people, where you can listen to their stories on the same subject.

What do you believe in?

For many people the interpretation of their faith is a personal matter. They choose from which religions they adopt elements. In search of profoundness, connection and inspiration, more and more people mix elements from different spiritual traditions. Rituals are more important than dogmas. Here Jörgen Raymann talks about different religions within his family.

When is culture yours?

Here you will find numerous examples of cultural appropriation: using elements from another culture for your own purposes or profit. Symbols, clothing, hairstyle, dance, music or language. Give your opinion on actions of people that sparked debate.

How do you create new life?

Doctors and specialists are increasingly capable of solving fertility problems. Yet not everyone who wishes to have children succeeds. That is why there are rituals, customs and objects all over the world to help create new life.