The Teylers Museum in Haarlem is the first and oldest museum in the Netherlands. Since 1784, the museum has been open to the public. Its historical presentation of collections made the museum unique. In general, the museum and its collections are a monument to a cultural history created within two centuries.
Teylers Museum was founded in 1778 as a center for modern art and science. A neoclassical Oval Room was constructed behind the house of banker and cloth merchant Pieter Teyler van der Hulst. In Pieter Teyler’s will, he stipulated that his collection and a portion of his wealth must be used to make the foundation Teylers Stiching that will promote them.
The legacy of Teyler in Haarlem was divided into Theological Society or Teylers First meant for religious study and Teylers Second Society focused on poetry, physics, numismatics, drawing and history.
The directors of Teylers Stitching executed Teyler’s will. They decided to develop a center for education and study. This center would be home to all kinds of artifacts like scientific instruments, books, minerals, fossils and drawings. The idea came up while considering a revolutionary ideal about the ability of people to discover the world on their own, thus without state or church coercion.
What to Expect
A visit to Teylers Museum allows tourists to experience a voyage through time to discover amazing things in the world of science and art. A walk through the museum will take visitors from minerals and fossils to drawings and prints as well as paintings, from medals and coins to scientific instruments.
The museum obtained items from former Haarlem summer estates. For instance, a lot of the fossils come from a collection of a Groenendaal owner. A number of the coins and medals come from Johan Enschede mint.
The Oval Room, the oldest part of Teylers Museum, is a fine example of the Netherlands’ neo-classical architecture. In the 19th century, Teylers Museum was expanded with a couple of Painting Galleries. The upper gallery boasts of twelve built-in bookcases with encyclopedia. The center’s showcase exhibits a great 18th century mineralogical collection. The two pyramidal showcases were built in 1803 to exhibit stones and rocks. The museum’s ground floor cupboard hold scientific instruments from the 18th century in the fields of electricity, chemistry, mechanics, optics and magnetism. There are also free-standing models and instruments that include George Adams’ celestial and terrestrial globes.
The museum has a collection of over 10,000 master drawings (including the works by Rembrandt and Michelangelo) and around 25,000 prints. The collections reflect the interests of wealthy men like Teyler who kept curiosity cabinets.
How to Get There
From Haarlem Station, visitors can reach the museum within minutes by bus or ten minutes by foot. For the first option, catch bus 300 at the Centrum/Verwulft stop. Go south to the Gedempte Oude Gracht and then turn left into Grote Houtstraat. Next, turn right into Anegang and turn left again into Lange Veerstraat. Take another right into Korte Veerstraat and finally a left into Spaarne. Here you will reach the entrance of the museum.
By foot, follow the Jansweg from the Haarlem Station as it goes to Jansstraat then turn left into Riviervismarkt. Next, turn right into Klokhuisplein which will turn into Lange Veerstraat. Turn right into Korte Veerstraat and take a last left turn to Spaarne to reach the museum.