Listen to it, look at it, touch it, smell it, try it out!...It’s clear from the start that Industrion in Kerkrade is a very special museum. Here you can discover the exciting and turbulent history of people and machines over the last 150 years. All the different activities take place in and around the vicinity of the museum in the Province of Limburg in the east of Holland. Visitors can experience life-like scenarios on 27 different working and residential sites and explore them at close quarters on their own initiative. Machines pounding in the midst of factory settings. Tools and other objects lying around all over the place, as if they had just been abandoned by the workers. Here, with the help of so-called “research elements” located all over the museum, visitors can find out how a crankshaft works or how static electricity is put to use. Interactive multi-media programmes and dramatic lighting help visitors to relive the harsh living conditions of the 1920s at close quarters in a specially built street scene The visitors themselves are the main actors. This is what makes Industrion such a unique journey of discovery.
The Industrion in Kerkrade which opened in 1998 is a very young museum. That said, its history began much earlier - around 150 years ago - during an epoch of industrial and social upheavals. This is where the museum begins. The exhibition sets out to show the reciprocal influence of industry and society in the Netherlands – most especially in the Province of Limburg – during the last 150 years. The main theme here is technical development, a factor which can alone be seen in the external appearance of the building. Steel stairways, roofing plates, red brick and a saw-tooth like ridge roof are conscious quotations from European industrial architecture. The 25 metre tall frame-like tower belongs in the same context. Its huge wheels recall a pithead gear
Inside Industrion visitors encounter an interactive space with light and sound effects and olfactory experiences. The immense range of different exhibits comprises a variety of ceramic industries, coal mining, glass, metal and chemicals, papermaking and food production. In addition the museum makes clear the effects of industrial production. Themes range from the life-size replica of an early factory building, via a presentation on Dutch Trades Unions, to environment and nutrition. The spacious museum garden is also integrated into the exhibition concept. It contains a number of exceptionally large objects placed in no particular order. These include a giant excavator used in the ceramics industry and an immense trough where lumps were boiled to pulp before being turned into paper. A small-gauge railway, previously used in industrial production, takes visitors on a round tour of the objects.