Thursday, 8 June, 2023

Read this in: German

What about art and culture when, in times of social media, the only issue is who has the prettiest feed? And what has the WONDR Experience in Amsterdam to do with this topic?

Social media changes our lives. Our breakfast is suddenly served like in a star restaurant according to food styling rules. Our apartment also serves as a photo studio. We don’t travel to a place because of museums or the beach, but because there are many instagramable places and people travel to Instagram cafes or museums through half of Europe. Okay, admittedly, I am part of this world as a travel blogger. I have currently marked 500 places worldwide that are good and nice for photos. From the Porsche Pavilion in the Wolfsburg Autostadt to cute Kawaii cafés in Mexico City or colorful rocks in front of the gates of Las Vegas.

But where is art, culture? Who is still looking at the old masters because you have to see it? I have a lot of friends who have worked or are working in the field of art and culture. And many keep addressing the above question, sometimes condemning and demonizing the new media. I don’t think it has to be. Because art can go new ways. The WONDR Experience Museum in the north of Amsterdam shows how.

A small spoiler warning

If you still want to visit this museum, you can read my blog post about Amsterdam in bad weather or Instagram museums. Both blog posts do not show in detail how all rooms look. Here in this blog post I will show more and explain why this museum is so worth seeing and why it is breaking new ground with art without being just a backdrop for photos.

Place to be for instagrammers? Yes and no!

How did I find this museum? Of course via Instagram. But is that why it is such a Mecca for Instagram users? In my personal opinion, this concept is a little different in Amsterdam than you know from the currently existing museums in Germany. It starts in the entrance area. Both the Cali Dreams in Düsseldorf and the Super Candy Museum in Cologne-Ehrenfeld both have changing rooms in the entrance area and the opportunity to put on make-up and style. In Amsterdam, however, lockers await you, everything except your cell phone and / or camera stays outside. Even our camera bag was not allowed, so whether you can partition in more than one outfit is difficult because the tour is not intended to run back. In addition, the museum and its lockers offer no space for suitcases.

The rainbow takes you on a tour that not only offers beautiful backgrounds, but also numerous experiences with all your senses.

Through the rabbit hole

The tour begins with a rainbow of neon colors. After registering in an anteroom, there are several places in the museum where you can create small gifs of yourself. And you have to admit: My husband and I notice that we are very meticulous when it comes to taking photos and videos and not just doing a chic selfie or a boomerang.

After the next one on the right, everything is suddenly pink and countless telephones hang from the ceiling, old-fashioned telephones on the walls. What does the artist want to tell us? This is more than just a beautiful backdrop, could you symbolize the constant availability or the problem that you always send 8 minutes long voice messages back and forth or that you no longer make calls? You can set the language on the telephones and receive all the instructions again. On a wall it gets a bit touristy. Greetings from Amsterdam are in English. We turn the corner and here you can find simple photo walls. But a bit like in the Cali Dreams or Supercandy Museum, I think sobered. But then …

The sky is full of pink handsets. Instagramable Place is just a label. What is art? What is beautiful? Aren’t those questions we’ve been dealing with since ancient times?

A sky full of blue clouds

In the next room a new world, full of people and their selfie sticks or cell phones, all diligently taking pictures in our case. A professional photographer photographs a blonde young woman in a white suit with white lips. Every now and then they crouch in the corner to see how the pictures turned out. So even the photographers among you will probably have to submit to normal opening hours.

If you look at it very matter-of-factly, you could say that this is a room made of pretty everyday things. There are pillows on the walls, there is stuffing or something and fringe curtains hang from the ceiling, which will probably always remind me of the To Act collection from the past Diversity Fashion Days in Hamburg. And also color changing lights. Yes, you could do it at home. But still it feels like in another world, like dreaming. It’s not just a painted backdrop. If you walk through the individual curtains, the threads tickle your skin. The pillows are so soft that you are almost tempted to fall asleep while standing.

We all know the individual elements that are installed in this room. Color changing lamps, cotton wool, Franconian curtains, pillows. And yet this results in a very exciting mix that you have never seen before.

Between Vincent and the magic ball

The next room after heaven is a room that looks like you’ve landed in a painting by Van Gogh. The piano works similarly to the Cali Museum and I try to teach my husband the flea waltz again and probably for the 10th time, but he continues to be more resistant to learning. But at least the photos are nice. Too bad that my husband is not so good with the arts, he has great hands to play the piano, I always had difficulties with my stubs at the tender age of 10.

And then went into the magic ball. I mean, as I imagine the magic ball from the mini playback show from the inside. Everything full of mirrors and this mystical red light … somehow very atmospheric. There is also a corner here, you have to be quick with the photos or wait a bit if you want to be calm.

Where will this walk take us? The mirror walk is twice around the corner. Just in Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, you are entering a completely different world.

Next level Karaoke

The room that follows now blows up everything, really everything. Because it is so diverse. It starts with the fans. A wall is full of fans in different shades of pink and delicate violet. And these work and run. Opposite a small platform with a partition wall, covered with a Holo tinsel curtain and a microphone. There is one of the boxes where you can create your own GIF. Then there are boxes in the room, covered with pink faux fur. Fluffy rooms in the room. On the other side of the quite large room, Bluetooth headphones, on which you can listen to music, a different taste depending on the color. One sings 90s Brittney, the other roars a house. About us: disco balls, many of them. And at the end of the room: a shopping basket filled with disco balls as a photo motif.

Capture all of these experiences for Instagram? Impossible. Because what I am describing to you is only a fraction of what I have remembered in this place. And reading about it and experiencing it for yourself are of course two very different things. In the meantime, my man has also revealed the secret of the pink fleece rooms. They are not quite as soundproof karaoke boxes. We smash “Let it Go” in a version that we don’t know, but of course we don’t embarrass ourselves, because we are among ourselves in the mirrored room.

A wall full of running fans, blowing hair included.

Jungle camp with funny games

Wow, that was a really nice trip. Unlike in an instagram museum, where you only rush from place to place and quickly try to get all the outfits shot at the desired location, this museum is where you have pictures on Instagram that you can influence. But you don’t know when what is coming to you and how. And so I’m standing in the middle of a jungle.



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“Life is full of banana skins. You slip, you carry on.” Daphne Guinness [Werbung] es ist Januar und alle reden über gute Vorsätze… Und bei manchen guten Vorsätzen, die ich höre oder lese, bin ich echt überrascht. Aber ich glaube, dass ich einfach in meiner eigenen Blase aufgewachsen bin und meine Eltern waren halt schon in den Neunzigern ziemlich Öko und haben alles mehr oder weniger gemacht, was heute Teil vom #Nachhaltigkeit und #plastikfrei Trend, der #lesswaste Bewegung oder wie man es auch immer nennen mag, ist. Ich verrate euch jetzt eine unglaubliche Sache, die ich selbst kaum glauben konnte. Wir waren ja gerade in Amsterdam und gestern gucke ich in meine wunderschöne @bonjour_ben_ Tasche und sehe, dass Jona den gesamten Papiermüll aus unserer Wohnung in Amsterdam mitgenommen hat. Weil er das gerne in Deutschland recyclen möchte ? dass ich bei einem solchen Umfeld und einem solchen Ehemann mich wundere, dass andere Menschen Vorsätze haben wie weniger Lebensmittel wegschmeißen oder weniger Plastiktüte nutzen, ist glaube ich verständlich, oder? Bei @derbettinaihremudda gab es nie Tüten, wir hatten immer eine Kühltasche und 2 Körbe und wehe, du hast die Einkäufe nicht richtig einsortiert! . . . . . Kleid @zizzifashion Location @wondr.experience . . . . . #plussizefashion #zizzifashion #amstergram #nachhaltigleben #sinnfluencer #umweltbewusst #unterwegs #curvyconfidence #curvyblogger #reiseblogger #amstergram #visitamsterdam #visitnetherlands #wondrexperience #wondrexperienceamsterdam

Ein Beitrag geteilt von travel & plussize blogger ? (@bettinaviolabarth) am

I actually have to admit that this room was not so much to my taste, because there were so many little things like the slot machines and the gripper arm machines, which I stupidly screwed up by the way. There is a swing on one side and of course my husband can not help making a GIF. And then he comes: The Flamingo Throne. Somehow it looks a bit smaller and less majestic than on Instagram, but it looks pretty decorative.

This jungle looked a bit like a playground for adults with its gripper arm game and arcade game machine.

Between marshmellow und confetti

I think the most beautiful room for children is the confetti room. And at the same time also the one that you, dear reader, can best recreate for your offspring. Of course, I don’t want to keep you from building a marshmellow pool, but a lot of artificial marshmellows, even with an authentic scent, just cost their money and was of course one of the most popular places in this museum. In the wall you could leave your shoes and cell phone or camera, there are enough staff on site to check that everything is going right and to advise you from time to time what is not possible.

I have to confess one thing: the signs for what came after the Marshmellow bathing area could already be seen a little scattered here and there throughout the museum. But it is such a little thing that gives pleasure: colorful walls and confetti. It was irrelevant that there were shower heads upstairs and that you could take a shower in confetti.

This king size bed can of course only be entered without shoes. If this is too boring, you can play a round of pink plush billiards.

A little disappointment in the Café

As nice as the café is and the sweet treats look magical – unfortunately there is nothing vegan. Of course I don’t know what the proportion of vegan people in the Netherlands looks like. But basically it would be nice if there were at least a small alternative for vegans and allergy sufferers, something simple like brownies or banana bread.

What we also noticed is that there was no information anywhere about whether you can enter the café in advance or as an external person without a ticket. the weather was terrible when we were there. So I can say: No, the café is at the end of the tour and therefore cannot be entered by someone without a ticket or in advance.

The café of the WONDR Experience is at the end of the tour and you have the opportunity to linger a little longer after the tour.

Would we recommend this museum?

Absolutely. Basically, this museum cannot really be compared to Instagram museums. Because instagram museums are of course perfectly illuminated and offer great backdrops, but are also somewhat sterile and functional on the other hand. WONDR Experience is deeper there. The places are not just a backdrop, but worlds that stand for themselves.

So this museum would be more comparable to the Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg. Only that one observes these very detailed worlds. It’s part of it. This activity is probably only for solo travelers if you find yourself in a group through social media. Because in a group or with the family this museum is the most fun.

In the Café of the WONDR Experience

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