Het Poëzie Museum
Het Poëzie Museum

Do drink, do sleep and do run in our museum.

Het Poëzie Museum virtual museum

initiative International Silence (the two-man collective of Twan Janssen and Johannes Verwoerd. Under this flag they realize projects at the intersection of art and design)
curator Anna Enquist
programming iVorst
pr Schoondenboer PR
media partner I Amsterdam / Amsterdam Marketing

made possible with the generous support of
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Creative Industries Fund NL
Conservatorium Hotel

The Poetry Museum marks Twan Janssen and Johannes Verwoerd’s first collaboration as International Silence. After a beer on a terrace and an exchange of previous work and experiences, the idea was born: to squat Museumplein and add a new – virtual – cultural destination. Two years later, Het Poëzie Museum was born. Together with Amsterdam Marketing, a campaign was launched that reached millions of people through news websites, newspapers and even the radio.

Curator Anna Enquist selected ten poets, who each provided six poems. ‘Visitors’ download the app to their phones and wander through the virtual museum – a space for their eyes only. When you tell people about a virtual museum at a physical location, people don’t know how to respond. The mobile website, therefore, had to provide some initial clarity. It functions as a virtual space in which you can look around, while the mobile device’s gyroscope reacts to movement.

The logo references the design wars that surrounded neighbouring museums such as the Stedelijk, whose rebranding generated much critique. The space between the words ‘poëzie’ and ‘museum’ is a tongue-in-cheek take on the gap between ‘Rijks’ and ‘Museum’, which was also a first-class design debacle.

The idea was born: to squat Museumplein
digital invitation

Aside from the logo, all typography in the museum is slightly spatial. Letters are part of a three-dimensional experience, complete with lighting and reflections that create a theatrical effect.

The architecture of the poems strengthens the content; some demand lightness while others are better suited to the dark. For a Little Girl by Annie MG Schmidt, for example, towers over the reader, diminishing her size. She becomes the little girl in the poem.

gyroscopic mobile website | open
screenshots on location
The pavilions

Pavilions or follies were created using deconstructed parts of 3D Ikea models. Together with the poems, they shape unfinished architectural sentences. Virtual wallpaper featuring cloudless skies gives each folly its own colour and atmosphere. The app also includes an overview of all of the pavilions that serves a way-finding tool. Each pavilion is in the same location. You might see other museum visitors, but they may be visiting a completely different space. It’s like a silent disco for poetry.

Several articles were published before there was proof of the museum’s existence
visitors of the museum

Weeks before the opening of the museum news sites and local papers announce the coming of the new museum. For most people the idea of a poetry museum was already a fair reason to write something about it. Like poetry a virtual museum is something that in the first place exists in our minds. A museum for the Dutch speaking citizens of Amsterdam.

Print campaign

The Poetry Museum has received an overwhelmingly positive response from both visitors and press. The project has been mentioned and reviewed by Volkskrant, Het Parool, NRC, NOS, Uitkrant, Museumvisie, Museumtijdschrift and Het Financieel Dagblad, among others.

Visit the museum to experience it for yourself.

The app is free and can be downloaded here:

please like the Facebook page:

Visitor information:

Read an interview on Vice’s The Creator here (Dutch only).

International Silence is currently developing another virtual museum.
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