Culture is future » Territorial attractiveness and social cohesion


The Ij is pronounced Eye in Amsterdam

The Eye Film Institute, the new film museum of the Dutch capital, opened its doors on the north edges of the Ij – pronounce “eye” – in April 2012, in presence of Queen Beatrix. From the choice of its localisation to the promotion of its archives, this museum shows a creativity beyond compare.

The Eye Film Institute distinguishes itself by its geographic situation choice. Formerly set up at the heart of the city, the Dutch Historic Film Archive decided to move to the North part of Amsterdam. This decision could have been disastrous: the north city, which is divided in two by a stretch of the sea, is still a very bad-served district. Fifty years ago, it used to be an old shipbuilding industry zone. Nevertheless, this part of the city of Amsterdam is being rebuilt only now, old warehouses and construction buildings are re-used in cultural purposes. The Eye Film Institute is the result of a nice initiative in a city where most of the museums are gathered around the Vondelpark.

The rebirth of this museum was also made of a complete reinvention of its exterior aspect. This bet was also successful thanks to the Austrian architect agency Delugan Meissle Associated Architects, known previously for the construction of the Porsche museum at Stuttgart. Through a daring design, the building was created in order to be seen differently depending on the place from where we admire it. The perspective we have from the Eye Film Institute can change entirely. It alternates between fiction, reality and illusion. [1] A bit like at the cinema, actually… The external aspect of the building shows the Eye Film Institute’s desire to recreate a dynamic and innovating urban landscape in North Amsterdam.

The politic driven inside the museum is not less ambitious. With 1200 m² dedicated to exhibitions, four theatres, a roof restaurant and an interactive ground floor, the museum holds 46,000 Dutch and international movies, 35,000 posters and 450,000 cinema pictures. The permanent exhibition is free for everyone and the temporary exhibitions have competitive prices compared to the other Amsterdam museums.

In a will of always improve its ways to preserve the national and international cinema patrimony, the Eye Film Institute has recently begin an innovating process of archive digitalisation, in partnership with IBM and Thought Equity Motion. This project enables the museum to digitize and store more than 150 million of DPX files (Digital Picture Exchange), without any audiovisual quality loss. This joint effort will help to offer a better access to the movies, combined to a better preservation of it, while cutting down on storage costs.

The Eye Film Institute did equip itself with an interactive website, where users can extend their museum experience, or enjoy the online movie bank.

Since only 6 months, the new cinema museum innovates and re-creates the cinema universe in all its forms: that may inspire some.


A contribution of the University of Avignon, by Joséphine Dusol.