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Discover Benelux  |  East of the Netherlands  |  Gelderland Highlights

Sweet-tasting history in the Dutch Gelderland TEXT: SOFIE COUWENBERGH  |  PHOTOS: FLIPJE EN STREEKMUSEUM

In the centre of the Dutch Gelderland, visitors and locals alike learn all about the region’s history and sights at the Flipje en Streekmuseum Tiel. Through a combination of games, interactive exhibitions and community events, this regional museum offers a fun and educational trip down memory lane. Tiel is also known as the ‘Fruitstad aan de Waal’ (Fruit City by the Waal) and so it should not be a surprise that the local celebrity is a comic figure made out of a raspberry. Flipje was born in 1935 as the mascot of jam factory De Betuwe, which makes him one of the oldest marketing figures in Europe, second only to the Michelin Man. The factory closed its doors in the ‘90s, but its story - and that of Flipje - lives on in one of the museum’s main exhibitions. “Fruit has always played an important role in the economy and culture of the Gelderland,” says director of the museum, Alexandra van Steen. “The Romans 22  |  Issue 38  |  February 2017

brought the cultivation of fruits to the region and today people can still enjoy a bike ride or walk along the many orchards.” The museum offers information about these routes, but its main focus is to connect people with the region’s past. Collections around silver, porcelain and metal highlight once important industries in Tiel and its surroundings, while the results of archeological excavations show a glimpse of what life used to be like in bygone times. “It’s crucial to us that all kids have access to culture and history,” says Van Steen, and the Flipje and Steekmuseum strives for that goal in two ways. It makes sure it is as accessible as possible for everyone by incorporating games and interactivity into its exhibitions and by organising community events linked to its collections, but also by encouraging children to discover more about the things that interest them. The latter is accomplished through the ‘Reizen door de Tijd’ (Travel through

Time) project it put together with Erfgoed Gelderland, the region’s heritage cell. This project offers kids the opportunity to choose historical lessons from an online library and save them in their personal digital portfolio. It also unites all the region’s history associations and aficionados, and offers classes both at schools and at the museum. Its focused collection, interactive exhibitions and central location in Tiel make the Flipje and Streekmuseum not just a great place to learn about the region, but an exciting one as well.

Discover Benelux, Issue 38, February 2017  

Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.