About the exhibition
(Exhibition ended 2018)
Across the centuries, what has brought people in Europe together?
What traces can we find of these past interactions in our lives today?
"Interactions" reveals stories about people moving and meeting, about travelling ideas and goods, about encounters and exchange, into a kaleidoscopic view of Europe's cultural history.
“Interactions” is a meeting place: It invites you to interact in different ways, just as previous Europeans did, when they were trading, fighting, or negotiating. Come and interact with the exhibition, play games with other visitors!
“Interactions” invites you to discover using all senses: You will see beautiful objects, play musical records, listen to stories of people meeting, smell perfumes, touch cloths and discover the history of pizza and croissant!
Tracking my Europe
The Kitchen, the Living Room and the Bedroom - Exchange
Although the things to be found in this part of the exhibition might look quite familiar and ordinary, every object tells a story – often unexpected – of human contact across borders. Many things that are part of our daily life became so only through a unique process of cross-cultural influence within Europe and with the rest of the world. Doesn’t this make our everyday environment much more fascinating?
The flow of people, goods, practices and ideas that characterises human history ensures change within all cultures. Sometimes words of foreign origin that we find in our languages give us a hint of that reality, sometimes it is more hidden. This room is an invitation to discover the culturally mixed nature of many of the things that surround us.
The history of cooking, drinking and eating in Europe is maybe the best theme for illustrating the fertile and impactful contacts that have existed between different regions, nations and continents. Various ingredients, recipes and utensils you likely have in your kitchen today have crossed borders in the hands of cooks, sailors and other travellers, evolving and influencing each other.
The Cotter’s Saturday Night circa 1885 Kodak Collection, Science and Society Picture Library, United Kingdom © Getty Images
Writing, reading, drawing, playing or dancing: all attitudes and activities that convey a multitude of thoughts and ideas in the form of messages, methods, models and motifs that are being constantly exchanged and changed. A number of inventions are the result of the way people from various origins learned from each other and influenced each other throughout history.
Woman Writing a Letter Frans Van Mieris the Elder (1635–1681), 1680 Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Netherlands
The bedroom is dedicated to the tales and legends that mirror the fruitful encounters across space and time. Cross-border dynastic marriages but also military conquests played a leading role in the introduction and diffusion of new fragrances, textures, techniques, styles, and habits in Europe.
Hans Christian Andersen reading to the painter’s children Elisabeth Jerichau Baumann (1819–1881), 1862 H. C. Andersens Hus, Odense, Denmark © Getty Images