Saturday, May 10, 2008

Amsterdam Tulip Museum - Retail Entertainment

A couple years ago the idea of "retail entertainment" was quite popular. The idea is that people want to be entertained as part of the shopping experience. The first example I remember was NikeTown but there are lots of others. Most of them are very large stores.

When we visited Amsterdam I was quite surprised to see the retail entertainment concept used in a store that was about as big as our bedroom: the Amsterdam Tulip Museum.

Upstairs was the store, selling flowering bulbs (the manager explained to us that tulip bulbs were out of season in March so they would not sell them) and lots of household goods with a tulip theme (dishtowels, mugs, books, etc.). Downstairs (2 Euros for adults, but they cards in many hotels offering a 1 Euro discount), was the museum.

The museum is very nice, photos and text, plus videos that explain the origin of tulips, the process of harvesting bulbs and my personal favorite a history of the tulip boom in the 1600s. It takes about 15 minutes to go through the museum and it's a very pleasant space.

I was skeptical of visiting the museum but really enjoyed it, the manager was really enthusistic and friendly, and it was quite cool to see how they translated the concept of retail entertainment into a more personal experience than the big corporate shopping centers.

The museum is located quite near the Anne Frank house in the Jordaan section of Amsterdam.
If you go there's a great cafe on a canal just behind the museum. It's called Cafe 't Smalle. The two photos below are from the cafe.

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