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May 6

Hoenderloo, Netherlands

Netherlands Electricity and Radio Museum

This small electronics museum is full of whirring, humming, clicking ephemera  

In the small village of Hoenderloo, Netherlands, near the beautiful National Park De Hoge Veluwe, sits a small hidden treasure: the Netherlands Electricity and Radio Museum.

The museum began as a series of exhibitions celebrating the history of Dutch electronics, all of which were increasingly well received. Eventually an actual museum was established in the municipality of Nijkerk, but the space was just a rental, so no major additions or changes could be made. When the collection moved to its current location in Hoenderloo in 1993, they got their own building and they were able to realize their dream of building working DC power station.

This singular museum is three floors full of historic Netherlands electronics. On the ground floor are many examples of large early electrical generators and engines, including the first electrical generator in the Netherlands, which surprisingly, still works. On the top floor is a large array of early electrical household appliances (phones, radios, tea kettles, toasters, etc.). In the basement, there is a display of dozens of fascinating early pre-transistor switches, relays and such, which you can watch operate by pressing buttons on the panels. There is also a large, diverse collection of early doorbells, light bulbs, fuses, etc.

The proprietor switches on all the big machines when one enters the museum, so your visit is accompanied by the hum, whirr, and bang of these large clattering electrical devices. What better way to appreciate the a history of electrical ingenuity?

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