Just before the lockdown I went to the Louwman Museum with my boyfriend and his father. The Louwman Museum is a car museum. I am not really a car person, I am that person that says “It was a red car” when someone askes me what type of car someone has, but I do really like this museum, even for the third time visiting. It is a nice combination of architecture and an interesting collection.
A funny thing is that this museum is easiest accessible by car, as it is located along a road but outside the city center, surrounded by woods and grass land. The big red brick building, u-shaped with a typical triangle volume at both sides, is designed by American architect Michael Graves and built in 2010. After entering in the foyer, you immediately arrive in the big hall, my favourite space of the museum. This hall is 90 meters long and 15 meters high, and has a beautiful curved CLT roof structure. This is where the “showcase” cars are and temporary exhibitions.
Then you go two floors up with an elevator to visit the regular exhibition, that spirals downwards throughout the building. The first part is a chronological overview of the development of the car, for example how the design derived from carriage design and that the first cars actually looked like carriages without horses. Quite logical, because the form language for the type “car” didn’t exist yet as it was a completely new thing. The word “carrosserie” actually comes form the French word for carriage!
Also, the different types of engines and fuelling were tested: next to gasoline, also steam engine cars were built and even electrical ones. There is an electrical car from 1918 on display that had an action radius of 100 km! So actually, electrical cars are not new at all… Personal favourites of mine are the old and sometimes crazy car designs, for example grand cars with embroidered seats in which I can imagine myself sitting with a fancy dress and gloves being driven around by a driver with a top hat, but also futuristic cars with two seats behind each other of doors that open upwards. There are also famous cars on display, for example a car that belonged to Elvis. For the art lovers, there is also a big exhibition of posters, paintings and drawings about cars, with for example beautiful art nouveau style advertisements that almost make the car appear like a miracle sent to us from above. During this whole exhibition, darker corridors, focused on the cars, are alternated by big windows that relate outwards to the countryside and some pavilions attached to the building that are completely surrounded by windows. The building was built for this specific museum so it is perfectly suited for the display of cars, sometimes with a staged environment around it.
After an artificial town square with old fashioned shops, a bit cliché but cute, the route ends back in the main hall. Here you can get a last glimpse of the beautiful roof structure, and get back to your car to drive home (or take the bus). This museum gives a nice overview of the history of cars, situated in a beautiful building well suited for this goal. After visiting, all cars on the road seem so similar!