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Projection test for the Names memorial, the room is still empty now. Our Colonial Inheritance

24.05.2022 at 15:17 by Wendy Snoek

Growing steel structures. Growth, what is that?

05.04.2022 at 14:00 by Lucandrea Baraldi


The ideal spot for the Herron. The Voice of Urban Nature

21.03.2022 at 10:33 by Herman Kossmann


Artist Celia Smith installing here birds warm sculpture. Groote Museum

23.02.2022 at 17:02 by Michel de Vaan

Slowly towards the opening on the 8th of February! Our Land

01.02.2022 at 17:34 by Remco Swart

Together with photographer Sander van den Bosch, we are measuring and photographing all floors of the palace. Visitors will soon be walking on 'invisible' carpets, in order to experience the original atmosphere of the rooms as fully as possible. Paleis Het Loo

26.01.2022 at 12:54 by Robin Schijfs


Carefully lifting a python snake skeleton. Groote Museum

24.01.2022 at 14:13 by Michel de Vaan

After all those days at home behind a screen, it is very nice to finally do some hands-on experimenting with projections and different layers of transparent fabrics... Nature

07.12.2021 at 17:33 by Pauline Fer

Work in progress for Museum Sophiahof. In progress…

02.12.2021 at 17:28 by Remco Swart


Work in progress for a children's tour Work in Progress

25.11.2021 at 09:35 by Annika Jacobs


Barefoot in an exhibition? Together with the Stapferhaus, we are looking at what this means for the perception of the visitors... Nature

24.11.2021 at 18:23 by Robin Schijfs

With a few kickoff days (and nights) in the mountains of Switzerland, we have firmly started the draft design for the new Nature exhibition at the Stapferhaus! Nature

30.09.2021 at 11:09 by Robin Schijfs


Cleaning out tree routs before they will be lifted to the ceiling Groote Museum

25.09.2021 at 12:29 by Michel de Vaan

Milling earth elevation minus water from a special foam. Here we show how little drinking water there actually is on earth. Groote Museum

30.06.2021 at 12:04 by Michel de Vaan


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

Celebrating Diversity

The Madhouse

Museum Het Dolhuys, Haarlem (NL)

The first Dutch museum for psychiatry emerged from five historical collections of psychiatric hospitals in the Netherlands. When the Dutch National Health Service vacated the former lepers-, plague-, and madhouse in Haarlem, there was also a museum building.

Haarlem (NL)
Museum Het Dolhuys
2015, 2005
2500 m2
Concept, Spatial design, Graphic design
Nienke van den Berg (lead 2015), Robert van der Linde (lead 2005), Herman Kossmann, Caspar Conijn, Martijn Sas, Sietske Sips, Remco Swart
AV hardware
VHS bv
Carel van Hees
Sound productions
Het 5e kwartier
Content development
Stichting Pandora
Computer animations
Interior contractor
Background Designs
Peter van Beek
De Aanpak
What is normal and what is abnormal?

Already after the first brainstorms with specialists it became clear to us that the boundary between normal and abnormal is not always clear. One in four Dutch people need psychiatric assistance. What is crazy or normal differs per person, per culture and per time period. It was clear that only displaying the collection doesn’t do justice in any way to the complexity and urgency of the subject. A visit to the museum should be more about personal stories and individual encounters and less about objects.

“We wanted to use the fact that the building itself has had a psychiatric history for 700 years in our story. One way of connecting it to the story, was by applying text directly on the walls and doors.”

Robert van der Linde

Designer at KDJ

Different perspectives

The perspective of the narrative is very important for a subjective topic like psychiatry. Who is addressing the visitor? The psychiatrist, the patient, or the caregiver? Instead of an omniscient storyteller, we asked many people who have a connection to psychiatry to tell their story. These new ‘residents’ of the Dolhuys thus became the protagonists of the museum. The psychiatrists and caretakers were also given a voice.

What about you?

Everything in the museum is ‘real’, fragile, and intimate. The distance between yourself and the residents has been made as small as possible. You can unlock stories by opening doors, looking in drawers or ringing someone. You can also check your own mental health on a computer. You are constantly confronted with the question: how normal am I?


Psychiatry is about scars and imperfections. Together with the restoration architect, we agreed to leave as many visible imperfections in the building as possible. The overarching theme is that no one is perfect and that you cannot define what is normal. We have implemented that in our design everywhere, even in the cash register, the restaurant, and the toilets. From the furniture to the staff, everything and everyone is part of the experience. Everything feels a bit odd, and that’s totally normal.

“The labyrinth-like building is an important part of the exhibition experience. Also in your head you can wander around and get lost, so it fits the subject well here”.

Floris Mulder

curator Dolhuys


Europen Museum of the Year Awards 2007

Honourable mention

De Nederlandse Designprijzen 2005

Exhibition and experience design – Winner