Afrika Museum

To those among us who feel the need to get away without going too far, there is a way to see the world in a day. The Afrika Museum lets you travel around the continent of Afrika and back, with the ease of a day trip to Berg en Dal.

Afrika Museum is part of the National Museum of World Cultures, built in 1954. The indoor area is rich with various technologies that explain the trends across the northern parts down to the most southern tip. Poetry, artifacts, slavery, modernity, fashion, products – key moments of African revolutions are shown in screens and vitrines. 

Outside, above a wide field with all kinds of dwellings across, you arrive at the heart of the museum. The homes of different cultures are faithfully recreated to be entered and experienced. Some low and repeating, others cone-shaped, small simple windows, and blasts of colors. The homes have one thing in common – protection from blazing heat.

In jargon, this is African Vernacular Architecture, as explained by the massive database project by Jon Twingi Sojkowski. While across Africa modern developments are being built in the American and Europea style, this is a celebration of the knowledge and language of African architecture. It shows life in parts of rural areas today. Small communities rich with resources and ingenuity and homes naturally built with mud for walls and window frames, and wood for thatched roofing and support.

The intent is to keep fresh by staying low to the ground. Small huts for each room are often used by the village, who eat, wash, and sleep together. It made me wonder about facing global warming in tall skyscrapers made of glass.  

Mali’s Dogon tribe is one of the most challenging places to visit in the world, and here you can enter and embody the experience. Sit inside a Kusasi home from Ghana, or among the Baka Pygmies village. How special is Afrika Museum, and the feeling of returning home.

Afrika Museum
Berg en Dal

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