A tribute to victims and care heroes during WWII
On view until 1 December 2024
Museum of the Mind | Amsterdam (Museum van de Geest) proudly presents the exhibition Who Cares?, exploring the history of care in World War II. The museum tells the story of forgotten victims and hidden heroes during the war, in the fields of psychiatry and mental health care. These are stories of desperation, resilience, fear and perseverance.
The exhibition Who Cares? is about forgotten victims and hidden heroes in World War II. About care in the Netherlands during those dark years. How good was the care? Did it collapse under the pressure, or in fact, succeed in preventing atrocities? What was the impact of the war on patients and carers?
The exhibition features remarkable historical images in combination with art, such as Willem van Genk’s Festival of Truth, the unique surviving sketches by Wilhelm Werner from the Prinzhorn Collection, the video installation Untitled and the films of the dramatic evacuations of Duin en Bosch in 1942, which have never been screened in public before.
Universal Declaration of the Open Mind
The stories from the period deserve a permanent place in our collective memory – we must not forget them. Because in times of crisis, it is the vulnerable that are often overlooked and hit the hardest. Every mind is different. Your mind works differently to everyone else’s. And your mind constantly changes throughout your life. You face challenges. Intelligence, talent, impairments and illnesses. It’s all part of the deal, it all belongs. Every day, people are excluded and considered inferior in our society. This has to change, as belonging is essential for a healthy mind.
At the end of the exhibition, visitors are invited (as they are at our other location in Haarlem) to sign the Universal Declaration of the Open Mind. We believe in a society in which everyone can participate and everyone is heard and seen, and by signing the declaration, visitors show their support for this vision.
Audio guide (available January 2024)
An audio guide accompanies the exhibition, allowing you to delve deeper: how did the situation become so horrific in Germany? And how did the Netherlands respond?
Additionally, you can take time to listen to personal stories of individuals during the war at certain points. In the exhibition, there are special chairs 'imbued with the soul of the maker', crafted in the woodworking workshop of the care institution Cordaan.
Available in English January 2024.
Discover your War Book double (''Boekendubbelganger'')
If you had lived during the Second World War, what might your life have looked like? Find out which book matches your story and read the (often true) tale of your Book Doppelganger during wartime. Are you dreamy – adventurous – courageous? Do you keep a diary? Or do you love animals? Are your friends very important to you? Or family? Do you yearn to belong, or do you feel excluded?
Forgotten Victims Foundation
Following a commission by the Forgotten Victims Foundation, on 14 March 2019, the NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies launched research into institutions for psychiatric patients and people with mental health conditions in the Netherlands during World War II.
The Forgotten Victims Foundation invited Museum of the Mind to produce an exhibition to help raise awareness of this period in history.
Who Cares? is supported by the V-fonds, het Cultuurfonds, Vereniging Gehandicaptenzorg Nederland, the Mondriaan Fund, the Province of North Holland, Fundatie Van den Santheuvel-Sobbe, Stichting Koningsheide, Multi Tankcard and RI Sign & Print.
The exhibition was realised in collaboration with the Forgotten Victims Foundation, Cordaan, Perspekt Studio’s and the Prinzhorn Collection, Heidelberg.
About Museum of the Mind
We are fascinated by the work of art inside your head. Because nothing is as colourful, powerful and yet fragile as the human mind. Which you will see in our museum. We use personal stories, artworks, history, themes and vital questions to help you discover more about your own mind, and that of others. We can never fully fathom the mind using science alone; to do so, we also need art and culture. You can use electrodes on a skull to measure brain activity, but with a poem, painting, dance or piece of music, one mind can excite another.
One Mission, two locations
We use art and culture to bring attention to the importance of mental health, inclusivity and an open mind . Experience this for yourself at our two locations: in Haarlem, at the historical Dolhuys, featuring a permanent collection, the history of psychiatry, temporary exhibitions, and cultural programs. In 2022, our museum was presented with the European Museum of the Year Award.
In Amsterdam, at the monumental H'ART building on the Amstel, we showcase themed exhibitions based on our extensive collection of Outsider Art. Outsider Art is often made outside the regular art circuit and is rarely given a stage. The works depict the inner world of artists with their personal visions, obsessions and great affections without being concerned with what the world thinks of it. Out of a strong desire, emotions and fascinations are given shape with every thinkable material.
The museum's growing collection of Outsider Art includes about 1700 works by 120 (inter)national artists. A selection of masterpieces can always be seen at this location.