The NEMO Science Museum is an interactive museum where everyone can enjoy learning about science and technology. Pre-pandemic, the museum attracted anywhere from 500,000 to 600,000 visitors each year. In 2020, it received nearly 250,000 visitors, making it still one of the most visited museums in Amsterdam.
So, if you’re interested in everyday science and technology and like going to museums where you can touch and interact with what you’re seeing, then the NEMO Science Museum is a great place to go.
What is the NEMO Science Museum?
The history of NEMO started in the 1920s when the Museum van den Arbeid (Museum of Labor) was opened by Dutch painter Herman Heijenbrock. Although originally a landscape painter, Heijenbrock became interested in industrial centers and started painting industrial workers while they were at work. Soon after, he began to gather different pieces of industrial and technological equipment. Some of these were the first items to be displayed at the Museum van den Arbeid.
In the 1950s, the museum was renamed the Nederlands Instituut voor Nijverheid en Techniek (Dutch Institute for Labor and Technology). In the late 1990s, the place was again renamed to newMetropolis before it was finally called the NEMO Science Museum in 2016.
Today, the museum is also popular for its building, a not-to-be-missed copper green structure designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. Built on top of a tunnel, the NEMO museum is shaped like a ship and features a “green roof” boasting 17,500 individual plants.
What to See at the NEMO Science Museum
The NEMO Science Museum comprises five floors, each with a specific theme.
The first floor is called Fenomena, where visitors discover how science works and how it has evolved throughout the years.
Technium is on the second floor. It shows how different kinds of technology have changed people’s lives over time. For instance, the Dutch have always been admired for how well they know how to utilize water. So, this is where you can learn all about the power of water, water treatment, and how to keep the Netherlands from flooding.
On the third floor is Elementa, where you learn about the cosmos. Discover what happened during the Big Bang and how it shaped planets in our galaxy.
Humania is on the fourth floor. Here, you’ll find out everything about the human body. Discover how your brain functions; know about your senses, learn about health and the factors that influence it, and more.
On the fifth floor is the open-air exhibition called Energetica, where you learn about energy. Discover the different sources of energy (e.g., wind, water, air, sun, etc.), how to harness energy, and how we use it then and now. Note: This rooftop square is not accessible in bad weather, during special events, at New Year, and on King’s Day. So if you’re keen on reaching the rooftop (and you really should because it offers fantastic views of the city), check the weather before you go and don’t schedule your visit during the mentioned holidays.
The NEMO Science Museum has a collection of about 19,500 pieces of historical technology. And as mentioned, it isn’t just a place to view things. On each floor, people can participate in different activities, workshops, and even “experiments.”
Plan Your Visit
Get the most out of your NEMO visit with the following tips!
Admission and Tickets
As of this writing, tickets are priced at €17.50 for adults (4 years old and above). Note that you need to make a reservation as no tickets are sold at the entrance. You must also book a specific date and time to enter the museum. However, once inside, you’re free to explore as long as you want.
Did you know that entry to the NEMO Science Museum is free with the I amsterdam City Card? So, if you plan to visit other museums and top attractions while in Amsterdam, we highly recommend you get the city card because you can save a lot on entrance fees. Check out our I amsterdam City Card review.
NEMO Science Amsterdam is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:30. The museum is also open on Mondays during school holidays.
How to Get There
The NEMO museum is easily accessible by car or public transport.
Address: Oosterdok 2, 1011 VX Amsterdam
- Car. NEMO does not have its own parking facilities. And since parking in Amsterdam is expensive, visiting it by car is not very cost-effective. But if you prefer to drive, we recommend you use any of the city’s P+R (Parkeren en Reizen, which means Park and Travel) facilities. Check out our article about Parking In Amsterdam.
- Public Transport. From the Amsterdam Central Station, take Bus 22 and get off at Kadijksplein.
- On Foot. If you feel like it and have the time, the museum is just a short 15-minute walk from the Central Station. (Our Tip: Exit the Central Station’s main entrance (cityside) and turn left.)
Food and Drinks
Food and drinks are NOT allowed inside the museum. But if you really want to have something, there’s a coffee bar by the ticket inspection point, a café on the second floor, and a restaurant on the rooftop.
Except for the Energetica exhibition on the rooftop square, NEMO is very easy to get around in a wheelchair.
As with other museums, dogs are not allowed inside the museum apart from registered service dogs.
How Much Time Do You Need at the Nemo Science Museum?
Most people stay about three (3) hours at the NEMO Science Museum. But, if you have other Amsterdam museums you want to visit, then about one hour will do. It’s enough to visit all the floors and see the highlights.
NEMO at Schiphol
If you run out of time and need to fly out already, you can still get an idea of what the museum is all about at NEMO at Schiphol. It’s a lot smaller, but it offers nine interactive installations on display. Entrance is free, and it’s just behind passport control on the first floor between Piers E and F.