Science Center NEMO

Michiel Buchel


Science Center NEMO

Oosterdok 2, 1011 VX Amsterdam

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2010 Montblanc Museum Award as best Museum for Children

About NEMO

NEMO is part of the foundation National Center of Science and Technology (NCWT). Our foundation makes science and technology accessible to a broad variety of target groups. NCWT connects the public to science and vice versa through activities that inform, interest and inspire. Besides Science Center NEMO, NCWT consists of NEMO Science Learning Center and the NEMO Science Communication Center.

Science Center NEMO

In 1997, Queen Beatrix opened the Netherlands' largest science center. In doing so, she opened a unique place in Amsterdam comprising of five floors packed with scientific and technological presentations and activities to do and discover. Since then,  NEMO has continiously been proving that science is captivating and fascinating. Science Center NEMO is the place to discover science and technology in a fun and educational way. Lively, colourful and active. It is the place to visit for anyone with an interest in science and technology.

NEMO Science Learning Center

The Science Learning Center is a center of expertise with regard to informal science learning. It offers knowledge on education to relevant intermediates in the working field of science and technology and works together with universities and the international network of science centers to develop this knowledge. The generated expertise is used and tested in NEMO. A great deal of the activities concern professional development of primary and secondary school teachers. Amongst others NEMO has a Teachers' Club with currently 1,500 members.

NEMO Science Communication Center

The Science Communication Center is initiator, organizer and facilitator of activities and projects for other organizations in the field of science and technology communication and promotion in the Netherlands. For instance,iIt organizes the ls"October Knowledge Month'. This biggest science and technology event in the Netherlands is  held annually during the month of October. Each year more than 800 public activities are organized and 300.000 people visit the various venues throughout the country. A great variety of institutions take part in an unique event to bring science and technology closer to the public. Universities, research institutes, observatories, companies, museums and libraries open their doors to young and old. The Science Communication Center also hosts a variety of digital platforms, for example, a website a website with scientific information for the general public.

Funding structure

The foundation National Center of Science Technology is a not for profit organization. NCWT has the following funding structure (2010):
29%     Structural national government grants (for NEMO, Science Learning Center and
Science Communication Center)
57%      Ticket sales, museum restaurant, museum shop and events in NEMO
14%     Sponsoring, project grants
The success of Science Center NEMO
In 2010 NEMO received 508,000 visitors and became the 5th largest museum in The Netherlands. Everything in NEMO is connected to science and technology; interactive and multi-sensory.  Exhibitions, theatre, films, workshops, demonstrations et cetera. After a visit to NEMO, you will for instance know why bridges are so strong, what you will look like in 30 years, why you look so much like your parents, how to purify water, what happens when you kiss, how lightning and satellites work and much more. In other words, a day at NEMO is a pretty smart thing to do!

We want every visitor to return home with a feeling of satisfaction, with an (even) greater fascination for science and technology than before and -perhaps- interested in choosing an education or career in science or technology. We aim to inspire people rather than to teach them - we encourage fascination and wonder, rather than the accumulation of facts.
We try to achieve this by creating interactive exhibitions which fire the imagination, by developing educational products, projects and games, and by developing programmes as lectures, demonstrations, workshops and science theatre.

Our philosophy

•    We encourage people to actively explore, experiment and to experience things rather than to passively absorb information.
•    Our institutions provide experiences that are self-motivating rather than obligatory -they don't impose a body of knowledge to be mastered.
•    Ironically enough: by not being didactic, we often promote learning! Our visitors learn by doing, but do not do it in order to learn!
•    But perhaps most important of all: our playful and approachable way of presenting and experiencing science means that our institution has a unique opportunity for awakening curiosity: by making it come alive and making it tangible; making people feel the thrill, excitement and wonder of science in a personalised manner, and in embedding it into our culture, where it belongs.

Who visits NEMO?

People of all ages are welcome to visit NEMO . The primary target group is children aged between 6 and 14, with or without their parents and grandparents. However, NEMO also wants its adult visitors to learn about science and technology. We try to cover all levels of education.

NEMO is a popular destination for school trips. 85,000 students and their teachers visit NEMO every year to experiment and discover. They often use the educational material NEMO has developed or they visit NEMO as part of a school project. NEMO also organizes competitions aimed at schools. Through projects, events, educational competitions and course material, NEMO aims to be the home base for science and technology education. As a result, more and more projects are being set up that bring science and technology to schools.

NEMO is also popular among the broad public with a focus on the target group children between 6 and 14 years. 80% of NEMO's visitors are (national and international) tourists of which 31 % children until the age of 12. Schools as well as the general public appreciate a visit to NEMO with an average rate of 8.

NEMO proves that it's possible to present difficult subjects in a nice, easy accessible, inspiring and interactive way. Moreover research shows that our way of presenting(hands-on, brains-on, body-on) creates a bigger learning result than traditional ways of presentation.

The Montblanc Museum Award

It is thanks to this approach that NEMO won in 2010 the first Mont Blanc Museum Award as best Museum for Children and is invited to be part of the Best in Heritage.
The Mont Blanc Museum Awards is a public event. The idea behind the Montblanc Museum Award is to increase public awareness of the many important contributions museums make to society as well highlight the value of these contributions made possible by the hard work of thousands of dedicated and knowledgeable museum professionals. Museums preserve our history and spread culture to the masses. By attracting national and international tourists who will spend money at hotels, restaurants and other businesses to their cities, museums also play an important role in stimulating the national and local economies and consequently, in creating jobs as well.

NEMO is very proud that the public acknowledges it's valuable contribution. In the coming years, NEMO plans to develop even more temporary and thematic exhibitions. In addition, it is our explicit intention to expand the programme for the youngest visitors and to broaden and deepen our current vitsitor experience in such a way that an increasing number of (young) adults will enrich their knowledge at NEMO.