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 suprisingly 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?
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 and you can take your bike, and will only take you 3 minutes.
Just enough time to get your mind in place for some mesmerizing movie experiences.
Eye’s Architecture is awesome
You’ve got to admit that the architecture of Eye Filmmuseum is really something. It’s been open now for 4 years, but it already feels its been there for ages. The building was conceived by a Vienna based firm called Delugan Meissl Associated Architects and it perfectly hits that fine line between impressing and imposing and still being inviting enough for you to go in.
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 expositions they have going on:
Eye Filmmuseum exhibitions
Being home to the museum of the moving picture, Eye can almost always boast having 2 exhibitions going on at the same time: the 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 and could have easily spent a day there (if you’re a student with nothing to do, go there right now and spend the day there).
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 – English and Dutch are used just as often to explain stuff.
Besides all of this there are tons of classic camera’s, projectors and devices with names as the phenakistoscope, the praxinoscope and the thaumatrope on display.
Eye also has some kind of temporary exhibition going on for 50 weeks of the year. There’s an exhibition about Béla Tarr starting next week, and when we visited there were some serious machines projecting all kinds of different images on the walls.
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 than there are the different screensizes 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 Hatefull Eight in the intended 70mm version.
That bar is must-visit
Did I mention already that the building for a large part 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.
Exit through the giftshop!
Yes, normally the giftshop 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 giftshop 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) for the non-tourist as well to be found there.
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?! Feel free to comment!