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Oval Room
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The oldest museum in the Netherlands

1784 to present

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Teylers Museum

Everyone, Families

Step into a time machine! Teylers Museum is the oldest museum in the Netherlands. Since 1784, it has been continuously open to the public. Almost 250 years! Fossils, minerals, instruments, books, coins, medals, paintings and drawings: here, art and science were supported/encouraged, and the Earth and life were mapped out. The collections are displayed in the original, historic halls to this day. The monumental home of museum founder Pieter Teyler van der Hulst (1702-1778), which is adjacent to the Oval Room, is also part of your visit.



Pieter Teylers House

This unique historic building was the home of Pieter Teyler (1702-1778), the founding father of the Netherlands’ oldest museum, and the birthplace of Teylers Museum. Our aim is to be true to Pieter Teyler's Enlightenment ideals and to show the continuing relevance of these ideals to our own times. A visit to Pieter Teylers House (ground floor and first floor) is included in the entrance ticket to Teylers Museum.

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Pieter Teylers Huis
Archive photo Oval Room

Archive photo Oval Room

Oval Room

The Oval Room opened to visitors in 1784 and has remained virtually unchanged since then. The instruments with which Martinus van Marum conducted research into oxygen and electricity are displayed in the Oval Room. The mineral collection can also be found in the same room, still organized as in the eighteenth century.

More about Science

19th-century Expansions

Very soon after Teylers Museum opened, the Oval Room became too small for the new collections and the many activities. In 1826, a new wing opened, with two rooms for lectures and the geology collection on the ground floor, and upstairs, a Reading Room with library. The ground-floor rooms served, successively, as a palaeontology museum, demonstration room and picture gallery. These are now furnished as exhibition space for the Numismatic Collection and the Prints Cabinet.

More about the Building




Picture Galleries

In the 19th century, Teylers Museum expanded considerably. In 1838, a room for 'contemporary' art opened: all the paintings hanging here were made at the end of the 18th century and in the first half of the 19th century. The painting collection is growing so quickly that a second showroom is needed. The hall was completed in 1893. The works of living Dutch artists are given a place here, including those from the Hague School.

More about 19th-century Expansions

Fossil Rooms

The arrangement of the display cases and objects in these rooms is virtually unchanged since they were furnished in 1885. The fossils and rocks are still largely organized according to the system of that time. This collection was purchased at the time as source material for future research: on the origin and extinction of species and on man’s place in nature. In the original historical display cases, you can read back through the entire development of palaeontology – the study of the fossilized traces of living beings – as a science.

Archive photo Second Fossil Room, ca. 1900
Second Fossil Room

Archive photo Second Fossil Room, ca. 1900

Instrument Room

Ten large display cases hold scientific instruments once used in this museum building for experiments and demonstrations in the natural sciences. Packed closely together, as is customary in laboratory cabinets. These objects are tangible evidence of scientific progress through the centuries. How does one preserve sound? Can it be sent through the air? Can electricity be controlled? In the middle is the large electrostatic generator of 1784, moved here from its original location in the Oval Room a century later.

Instrument Room

Instrument Room

Lorentz at Home, at His Desk.

Lorentz at Home, at His Desk.

Collection AIP, Emilio Segrè Visual Archives.

Lorentz Lab

From its opening in 1784 until the early 20th century, Teylers Museum was a centre of active scientific research, the results of which a wide audience could see with their own eyes. Did you know Nobel prize winner Hendrik Antoon Lorentz had his own laboratory here from 1909 until his death in 1928? Important scientists, including Einstein, visited him there. With the refurbishment and opening of the former lab, Teylers Museum has brought Lorentz’s physics collection back to life. In the renovated Lorentz Lab, secondary school pupils carry out experiments with electricity. They use replicas of the original scientific instruments.

Visit the Lorentz Formula

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Opening hours
Tuesday until Sunday 10:00 - 17:00

Spaarne 16, 2011 CH Haarlem

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