What is Micropia?
Micropia is a science museum in Amsterdam that is the World’s first to be dedicated to micro-organisms.
Guilhem Vellut, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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Bigger than perhaps its name suggests, this museum opened its doors in 2014 and is on a mission to close the gap between public and scientific knowledge on the world’s smallest organisms, and to provide a positive account of much-maligned microbes. Micropia provides an original experience offering visitors young and old a chance to learn something new. It fills a significant knowledge gap which puts us at a disadvantage: a better understanding of microbes means a better understanding of increasingly urgent issues such as water purity and disease. Micropia has taken great steps to make visits as engaging as possible and you’ll find a range of stimulating interactive experiences.
For example, on arrival a scanner will confirm just how many microbes are inhabiting you and your fellow visitors’ bodies, and also give you the chance to find out what they mean. For the romantics, you can learn about how bacteria can be shared through a kiss and perhaps be charmed by the sweet thought that the more you kiss someone, the more similar the bacteria in your mouths will become! If you’re more medically minded, the museum also has a section on antibiotics and vaccines – suddenly a topic of universal interest. Here you can find scientific answers to questions bandied around by politicians and keyboard warriors: what exactly is a vaccine? How does an antigen work? And how effective are vaccines?
If all that talk about bacteria has got you a bit queasy, you can also head toward the fungi exhibition to learn about these fascinating organisms, how they grow and share resources and information across entangled networks. You’ll not only find out how they thrive in extreme conditions, but how they live in tandem with the live ants you’ll see on display inside the exhibition.
Every day at 1pm and 4pm a lab technician is on hand to explain their work at ‘The Lab Talk’. After your visit, you can admire the beautiful Artisplein next door or have a spot of lunch in the exquisite greenhouse of Café-Restaurant de Plantage.
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