Sarah Mendes is creator of instagram museum WONDR Experience

WONDR Experience is an interactive experience where not Vincent's self-portrait or an original Rembrandt shines on the wall, here it's all about you. You are the work of art!



Posing in front of your own phone lens, duck-facing with two fingers in the air, take the most beautiful snapshots, gifs and boomerangs in the most spectacular spaces. From a cotton candy pink marshmallow pool and a three-dimensional painting, to a mirror maze and a room built completely upside down. Welcome to the phenomenon called "Instagram Museum.

Within the wondrous walls of this selfie eldorado, your wildest Insta dreams come to life. Consequently, this playground is an unmitigated hit. Especially among adults. Museum Voorlinden was secretly at the forefront of this trend with their famous Swimming Pool. Yet some museums still do everything they can to suppress the urge to selfie. For example, the Van Gogh museum devised separate selfie walls and in America you can even get hassled by Disney if you wave a selfie stick around to take a picture with your beloved Disney character. One thing is for sure: you can't ignore today's selfie culture anymore. And these 'experience museums' cleverly capitalize on this. But: can we actually call them 'museums'? Why are selfie museums so wildly popular? And what does this mean for traditional museums, such as the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh? 


WONDR Experience was founded by Sarah Mendes. The Brazilian-born wanted to found a place full of adults to express their creativity.

How did you come up with the idea for WONDR?
"I'm a marketer and I've worked a lot with the millennial target audience. I had been researching the experience trend for a while and millennials are known to want to experience much more than buy. Many different expierences have been developed worldwide with a focus on this generation. I went on a research trip; one month to America and one month to Asia. This way I created a mix of different concepts I came across. In this I definitely included the Instagram factor, which is also very obvious when you are here. Everything is super colorful and instagrammable. But what we've done very differently at WONDR is create that playground structure."

"Pink Beach is WONDR's new pop-up beach bar: a surreal tropical oasis designed for summer fun. Experience the magical vibes of the pink beach while sipping a cocktail or taking a dip in the ball pool. Gather your friends and raise a glass among the palm trees on the sunny terrace."


 You deliberately call WONDR not an instagram museum, but an "experience. Why? "We actually don't focus on Instagram and taking pictures at all. We see WONDR as a playground for adults, where we create a 360-degree experience with interactive spaces full of playful (touch) elements. Like our marshmallow pool. Definitely fun for the photo, but we designed the bacon, for example, ourselves. They are soft 'squishies' that feel and smell like real marshmallows. That's how we try to create a complete experience. We see the photos and videos more as a souvenir of your visit. If you want to enjoy the experience without your phone, that's possible too. We can email you the photos afterwards. With WONDR we want adults to play the way they used to. Without frames, boundaries, shame or fear of what others think or think of you."

Do you even call WONDR a museum? "No, we are definitely not a museum either. A museum has a completely different function; to preserve and exhibit art. That's not the purpose of WONDR at all. We do work with young, local artists for each space. For example, we transformed a space into one big coloring book; we had this drawn by an Amsterdam artist. You can color the walls with pens 1.5 meters long." 

"In addition to WONDR Experience and Pink Beach, Roller Dreams recently opened, a hypnotic world of glitter and neon where you can be transported on rollerskates to the rollerskating scene of the 1980s with its vibrant energy and dreamy looks."

So how do you think it differs from "real" Instagram museums? "We were the first experience museum in the Netherlands. Now there are some competitors in the market, but they focus more on content creation - something we are absolutely not doing. For example, we have no changing rooms. We deliberately chose this because we don't want to be a photo studio like most Instagram museums, with elaborate rooms full of photo opportunities designed specifically for content creators. WONDR is for everyone, whether you're active on social media or not. It's about having fun with your friends. The photos and videos you take here are more like fun memories." What feeling do you want to create in visitors? "Our intention was always to be able to offer a sense of 'escapism,' to live in a dream, to get into a completely different vibe. And that has succeeded. The experience we create here together with our team is unique. Everyone is trained to get people into a happy and playful mindset, but also the sequence of rooms is constructed in a specific way. The level of interaction is built up slowly, until you are comfortable enough to shamelessly take a dip in the ball pool. You can't just replicate that experience by putting some items in a few rooms."


WONDR Experience is constantly evolving. What's new this year? "Pink Beach is a pop-up beach where the sun always shines. A tropical oasis with beach bar and sun terrace with beach chairs, pink sand, tropical palm trees and a huge ball pit. Primarily intended for an adult audience. In addition, we recently opened Roller Dreams, a roller skating experience where music and dance come together in an imaginative disco paradise."

WONDR Experience
Meeuwenlaan 88, Amsterdam
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WONDR Experience
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