Body Worlds is an exhibition that travels the world and you should go when you catch it. Although it came to Istanbul for a while, we couldn’t spare the time and therefore couldn’t go. Body Worlds body exhibition is a must-see because it has a different style, very different from any museum we have been to before.
First of all, I must say that all the bodies in the Body Worlds exhibition are real. The cadavers and organs of people who donated their bodies after death are made ready for the bodies exhibition by plastination. The plastination technique was first invented and developed in 1977. It consists of filling, dehydration, vacuuming and hardening. When the bodies arrive at the laboratory for plastination, they are 2-3 days dead.
The first thing they do is to apply formalin to stop the decomposition. Formalin is actually a toxic chemical used as a preservative and sterilizing agent in medical laboratories. The body is then subjected to a weeks-long decomposition process. Muscles, bones, veins and even nerves are painstakingly removed. The bodies are then dried in acetone and the acetone is removed with a vacuum pump.
The process continues with posing. The desired poses are given to make the bodies look dynamic. The human, animal or organ to be exhibited is fixed with wires, pins and staples. When the pose is successful, it is solidified using gas and heat to finalize it. In short, the fluids and fats extracted from their bodies are replaced with liquid plastics to preserve them for a long time. The solidified bodies cannot be recycled. You have to be very careful and the whole process takes 2-3 years. That’s quite a long time.
It should be noted that all these parts are actually used in anatomy classes. Since there is nothing negative about a plastinated area, it can be handled and felt by medical and anatomy students without gloves. The idea of making an exhibition with real bodies may sound a bit scary. BodyWorlds is being exhibited in different countries, based on specific concepts. Some focus on animal bodies, some on sex, some on sports. The project in Amsterdam is about happiness. The effects of happiness on the body are discussed.
Dr. Gunther von Hagens is the father of the Original Body World Exhibition, which offers the opportunity to examine the human body, its nervous system, body parts and organs so closely. Scientist and anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens developed a technique called plastination to preserve biological tissue samples. In one of Rembrandt’s important works, Dr. Nicholas Tulp’s Anatomy Lesson, Dr. Tulp is seen examining the cadaver of a death row inmate, wearing a black hat. Dr. Hagens also always appears on screen wearing a black hat.
While walking through The Happiness Project in Amsterdam, also called The Human Body Exhibition, we constantly encounter information boards. These boards are full of tips on how to improve our bodies and be happy. In the museum, we have the chance to observe the differences between a healthy human body and the bodies of people who do not pay attention to their health and smoke. The organs of a smoker’s body darken, while the organs of a person who abstains from smoking preserve their beauty.
There are also animations of various activities that bring happiness. For example, we see a woman riding a swing and a man with an athletic body who can easily jump over fences. There are many factors that cause happiness in our lives. From a musician playing the saxophone to a woman doing gymnastics, this is an incredible exhibition.
The museum, which shows the organs inside our body by separating them, allows us to examine organs such as kidneys, intestines and heart in detail. We can closely see the muscles and nervous systems of these organs.
The positive effect of sex on the human body has also been scientifically discovered. The museum also exhibits the intimacy between two people.
The reproduction section is also one of the important exhibition sections of the museum. The reproductive organs of men and women are exhibited in full detail. Seeing children in the womb, how they develop from 1 week to 9 months in small vials, and their limbs that grow visibly over time greatly expands the range of ideas on human science.
It is also possible to see the nervous systems of people’s hands, legs and feet in the museum. The works in red in the exhibition are probably the most challenging parts of the body. It takes a lot of meticulous work to make it like this.
What are the ticket prices and visiting hours for Body Worlds Amsterdam?
Body Worlds is a must-see exhibition. The exhibition is open daily from 09:00 to 20:00, closing time on Saturdays is 22:00. Current prices can be found at Bodyworlds.nl. Tickets are cheaper when you buy them online.
Where and how to get to Body Worlds Amsterdam?
Amsterdam Body Worlds is located in the middle of Amsterdam Centraal train station and Dam Square. It is very easy to reach. You can find the address at Damrak 66.
The Body Worlds Exhibition in Amsterdam offers a fascinating and insightful look at the human body. Definitely worth a visit if you want to learn more about the anatomy and physiology of the human body.