The Colonies of Benevolence

On May 1st, the new visitor centre of the free Colonies of Benevolence in Frederiksoord, the Netherlands opened its doors. This experience museum goes back some 200 years, telling the story of the origin of the Dutch welfare state.

Autumn 2018, Heijmerink Wagemakers was commissioned by The Company of Benevolence Frederiksoord to co-create with Studio Pronk, Shosho, IJsfontein, Semmika and the Company of Benevolence team to develop and realize the experience. Hypsos was commissioned by Heijmerink Wagemakers to execute the museum fit out: production of the complete experience and building-up on location.

The Colonies of Benevolence were founded 200 years ago to combat poverty. Through land reclamation and continuous improvements in agricultural methods, the poor were given the prospect of a better life. The Colonies were progressive in their social measures and completely self-sufficient, which was exceptional. They showed the belief in the manufacturability of people and society. In Pronk’s design, the multimedia experience “The Test Colony; an experiment of charity ” forms the crowd puller, followed by the interactive post show “Benevolence then, Benevolence now”. Visitors experience what kindness is, why it was necessary then, and why it is still relevant today.

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