discover the building
On 4 April 2012, Eye opened its new building on the northern bank of the IJ harbour in Amsterdam. The Viennese firm Delugan Meissl Associated Architects drew up a spectacular design for the building, which has been enthusiastically received by the press and public alike.
Love for film
Eye Filmmuseum is the only museum for film and the art of the moving image in the Netherlands. The Eye collection contains more than 50,000 Dutch and international films, and a wide variety of posters, photographs, film equipment, books and personal archives, among them the celebrated UNESCO World Heritage Collection of film pioneer Jean Desmet. Eye preserves, restores and presents films of all sorts — from classics, blockbusters and early avant-garde works to the very latest experiments in virtual reality.
At its iconic building overlooking the IJ, Eye organises exhibitions at the intersection of film and art, and film programmes that illuminate everything from the early days of film history to recent developments in society. The film museum presents film in all its diversity and promotes Dutch cinema and film culture at home and abroad. Eye also stimulates a better understanding and love of film through learning programmes organised in collaboration with the education sector and the film industry.
Eye, seagull or feather
The design (by the Austrian-based firm of Delugan Meissl Associated Architects) is an homage to film itself with its fascinating interplay of light and dark. The whole building is designed in celebration of the enormous power of the image. Once seen, Eye is never forgotten. Some see a seagull perching on the bank of the IJ, others an eye sending us a wink from across the water.
“Building where land and water meet calls for intriguing architecture and this is what the architects have managed to achieve. The building is beautiful both in shape and in movement in relation to the former Shell Tower. It’s as if a feather has come to rest in between those massive rectangular architectural shapes. I think that this exciting, almost erotic building, can certainly seduce people to make the trip across.”(Dutch architect Cees Dam)
‘We are not hoping for a miracle, we are creating one on the spot’
Around half of Eye has been built on new land reclaimed as part of an urban development scheme for the district of Overhoeks. Amsterdam’s sandy soil is too soft to build on, which is why the city is built on piles driven deep into the ground until they reach a solid layer of rock or compacted clay. The Eye building rests on 348 pillars most of them 50-60 centimeters in diameter. You may now understand why Sandra den Hamer, Eye’s director, spoke of a miracle.
Thousand tons of steel
The construction of Eye is a masterpiece of balance and distribution of forces. The three parts of the building consist of a structure which used 1,000 tons of steel. The large open spaces in the building were spanned using trusses, a construction method that allows for lightweight and yet sturdy structures. The larger trusses are over 70 metres long and have a height of more than 10 metres. The cantilevers at both ends of the building were constructed simultaneously, after which the central section, which had been made to measure, was fitted in between the two. Only when the entire steel structure functioned as one unit was it possible to complete the building.
Big but cosy
Inside the building almost nothing is straight or at right angles. All the walls are at different angles to each other and to the floor. The ceilings, which also consist of an intricate pattern of surfaces placed at various angles of inclination, were an equally great challenge to them. In the vast space, the warm materials, the ample light and the acoustic ceilings all combine to create a sense of comfort. The extraordinary Starbrick light modules by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson serve to create a pleasant atmosphere in the evening. The dominant colours in the cinemas are grey, black and purple. Only Cinema 4 has wall decoration in Art Deco style inspired by Cinema Parisien, one of the first cinemas in Amsterdam, which no longer exists.
Read more in Eye, at a glance.
You can book group tours to learn more about the architecture of our building. It is also possible to take a tour of our ongoing exhibition.
Eye highlights film in numerous ways: by presenting four annual exhibitions, screening films in our four film theatres, offering workshops for children and through our permanent display. Our shop is a true Mecca for every film fan and our café-restaurant with its riverside terrace is a great place to spend an afternoon or an evening.
Accessibility for visitors with disabilities
Eye is accessible for visitors with disabilities and wheelchair users. Coming from the main entrance, a lift to the right of the staircase on the ground floor gives access to all floors of the building. The museum has one wheelchair and one rollator available for use during your visit.
plan your visit
For information on access, accessibility and more, see the plan your visit page.
Find Eye on Google Maps.
Let our colleague Erik Mund take you on a 360° tour of the building