Nationaal Militair Museum
Felix Claus Dick van Wageningen
Soest, Verlengde Paltzerweg 1
Last year we had a museum card in the Netherlands. We have visited many museums, and one of them was the National Military Museum in Soest. I still don’t know how we got to this museum, but it’s worth it. The army museum of Belgium is in an old hangar in Brussels (where I think it’s even raining inside). While in the Netherlands everything is hip and intelligible. Wonderful, a must if you are in the area.
The new museum is a combination of two older collections: the Military Aviation Museum in Soesterberg and the Army Museum in Delft. It stands in a beautiful landscape, 45 hectares, that was previously not accessible to the public. The Aviation Department of the Dutch Royal Air Force was located here. The architects found that this place asked for a large building, something that does not just disappear into the landscape.
The National Military Museum shows the history of the army and the air force. The collection is shown in two types. The large, light room with a view of the surrounding landscape shows tanks, aircraft, armored vehicles and helicopters. In between there are “black boxes” without daylight, these are themed rooms that are supplemented with a personal story. The collection not only includes “modern” pieces, but also for example arrowheads from the Stone Age and armor from the Middle Ages.
The first thing you see when you turn into the parking is the immense half-timbered construction as a roof. The total surface area of the roof is 110 by 250 meters. This seems to float because it is completely surrounded by a glass section with a height of 13 meters. The glass creates a relationship between the collection and the landscape. A 33 meter high lookout tower protrudes through the roof. There are 3 240 solar panels on the roof, representing 25% of the total energy requirement.
The Amsterdam architects Felix Claus Dick van Wageningen won the Abe Bonnema Architecture Prize for this building in 2015. A sum of 50,000 euros is attached to this. The jury states that a “Gesamtkunstwerk” has emerged. In 2016, the building also received the National Steel Prize for utility construction. There are those who question the originality and find that there is a great similarity with the Lake Side Center in Chicago.
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