There’s a big chance that you’ve already seen Eye Filmmuseum, it’s that eye-catching building right across the river IJ north of Amsterdam. Over 700,000 people per year visit the architectural highlight, but surprisingly there are still some people who have not paid a visit to the iconic building.
Is it a movie-theater? A movie museum? A bar? What’s happening there and should I visit?The answers to those questions are: yes, yes, yes, tons of stuff and here are six reasons why you should definitely take the time to visit Eye Filmmuseum.
#1 It begins with a sweet ferry ride
For the regular Dutch folk who have to make the trip everyday it can be a bit of a nuisance, but if you’re new in a town it’s always a great experience to hitch a fare on a free ferry. Exit the Central Station, walk up to the river and take any of the two ferries on the right (do not take the farthest left one, that take you to the NDSM-werf).
It’s free, you can take your bike, and it only takes 3 minutes. That’s just enough time to get your mind prepared for some mesmerising movie experiences.
#2 Eye’s Architecture is awesome
You’ve got to admit that the architecture of Eye Filmmuseum is really something. It’s only been open since 2012, but it already feels its been there forever. The building was conceived by a Vienna based firm called Delugan Meissl Associated Architects and it perfectly dances that fine line between impressing, imposing and inviting.
On the inside it’s equally impressive with loads of great use of glass, wood and cinema-references. Check out their view of the IJ, not only is it very nice but they also did a play on the black bars of the movies. See?
And all that nice architecture really plays well with those kick-ass exhibitions they have going on.
#3 Eye Filmmuseum has awesome exhibitions
Being home to the museum of the moving picture, Eye can almost always boast having 2 exhibitions going on at the same time: a permanent one and a temporary one.
The permanent one has a whole bunch of nice features. There was one set where you can have yourself star in a few short films thanks to the movie-magic that is the green screen. What makes it really special is that Eye will, without significant cost or effort, mail you a link to the movie. Free souvenir!
Here’s a pic, the movie was too embarrassing for me to share:
Or chill in one of the mini-cinema Pods and watch a movie from the EYE’s fantastic collection (their curating is really classy). I can really recommend some of the Haanstra movies on the better old days in the Netherlands.
I also watched a movie of Rotterdam before the bombing in 1940, really breathtaking. It would have been easy to spend a day at this museum (if you’re a student with nothing to do I would highly recommend it!)
There’s also a bit of a rather hypnotic room where they project all kinds of movies from iconic genres on the walls. This 360 degrees room brings you some of the best classic scenes in an original way, and no worries for the non-Dutch speakers – both English and Dutch are used to explain everything.
Besides all of this there are tons of classic cameras, projectors and devices with names as the phenakistoscope, the praxinoscope and the thaumatrope on display. Try pronouncing those names after going to the bar!
Eye also has some kind of temporary exhibition going on for 50 weeks of the year. Check their website for their latest and greatest!
#4 You can see a movie
This one is a no-brainer. Eye has 4 in-house cinemas, ranging from a large +300 seater to a classy old-timey movie theater. It’s more appealing than visiting the regular cinema in the city for a variety of reasons. Loads of movies which are screened at EYE are art-house movies or classics, so some movies aren’t to be found anywhere else on the big screens in the city.
A sizeable amount of the (Dutch) movies are also shown with English subtitling, so you can finally see a Dutch movie and catch all the lines! Here’s their schedule, better bookmark it 😉
And then there are the different screen sizes for the purists among us. They try to get it all the variables right at Eye, such as that time when they showed Tarantino’s Hateful Eight in the intended 70mm version.
#5 That bar is must-visit
Did I mention already that the building is mostly is free of admission? And that’s a good thing because it has an iconic bar-restaurant with just the best views of the IJ and all it’s river-life passing by.
During the more sunshiney-periods in the Netherlands their terrace is open for business, perfect for grabbing a beer and just sittin’ on the dock of the bay watching the tide roll away.
#6 The gift shop is to die for
Yes, normally the gift shop is that annoying place where you just end up buying something ridiculous for your mom which is actually made in China. But you will get lucky with the gift shop here because the merchandise that comes with the field of classic movies is just epic. I’ve browsed the shop for a good half an hour, and just so many original and nifty items are sold there. Perfect gifts (for yourself) and for the non-tourist as well can be bought here.
More on the opening hours, tickets and all that jazz can be found here.
Have you been already to Eye Filmmuseum? What did you think of it?! Let us know in the comments below!
Feature Image: Eye Filmmuseum Netherlands/Supplied This article was originally published in January 2017. We updated it for your reading pleasure in September 2019.