Once upon a time, in the always surprising Rotterdam, a bunch of people decided to create a space where Art would not be seen as an abstract concept and boring stuff reserved to educated people but a sort of wonderland where children are encouraged to bring out their imagination, their fantasy with the use of pearls, multicolour pompoms , papers etc…
And they made Villa Zebra, a villa where all decoration from hanging lamps to benches is a reference to art and creativity. Nothing is common, everything has a twist.
The moment you come in you feel at home, at ease; open space, cute and funny decoration. Large open library with books, games, art. Large tables and benches to seat, chill, have a drink and a beautiful view on the Maas.
The whole year long workshops and expositions are organised in two different spaces: one called “Zelf!” (self) for the 3/6 years old and an other one for the 7/12 years old.
“Zelf!” because it is a place where children are encouraged to build/create things themselves, on their own. Of course you can count on the skills and patience of a member of the staff to guide and help them if necessary. How beautiful and inspiring it is to see all those giraffes, spiders made with those little cute hands!
Beside the DIY atelier, children can play and discover new activities thanks to what I call the “magic cube”; basically a huge box in the centre of the room that can be opened in every direction and in which there are different themes, atmospheres, activities: lego’s, magnet board with the story of a book to tell, patient room… Children can play hours long, really. Amazing!!!
And by the way, it is safe and clean, children have to put out their shoes first!
Although my kids are not older than six years old, I could not resist to have a look at the exposition for the 7+. That day, the visit was made in the form of a quiz track that guides you through the exposition and helps you to think with your kid about the chosen theme, to question it. What you see, listen, observe is not only intriguing, beautiful (or not), it is also the beginning of a reflection, a conversation. That way “Art” becomes more comprehensive and accessible for a larger public.
Well, I could go on and on and tell you much more about this wonderful place but I prefer you to go there and experience it by yourself. So if you do not know what to do with you kids full with energy on rainy Wednesdays afternoons or Sundays; if you are done with birthday parties at giant indoor playgrounds, check out Villa Zebra and have creative fun.
May the force be with you.