As a singular and emotionally-charged location, the National Holocaust Museum tells the history of the persecution of Dutch Jews during World War II. The museum consists of two buildings, the former theatre Hollandsche Schouwburg and the former nursery school Hervormde Kweekschool, which are located across the street from each other on Amsterdam’s Plantage Middenlaan.
The Hollandsche Schouwburg was the assembly point from which Jews were deported to the camps, and as such was already an established memorial site. The story of the ‘Reformed Nursery School’ is less well known: it was here where parents handed over around 600 of their young children to care families.
While preserving the buildings’ surviving historical elements, the museum will be a space for both remembrance and where history is told and passed on to future generations.
The design for the Hollandsche Schouwburg is based on Jan Leupen's original plan, but then updated to meet the museum's new visitor and safety requirements. The Hervormde Kweekschool will be the actual museum, with its former function as school being highlighted through the structures of the classrooms and corridors. The building’s historical contoured facade is also regaining focus – albeit in a more abstract manner. While the entrance will be in the adjacent new building, the rear extensions will house a large hall for temporary exhibitions, an auditorium and a separate memorial garden.