Poppi: Drugs Museum Amsterdam – Interview with Machteld Busz

Poppi: Drugs Museum Amsterdam


Poppi: Drugs Museum Amsterdam – Interview with Machteld Busz

3 June 2019

By Péter Sárosi

A leading Dutch harm reduction organisation, Mainline, launched a crowdfunding campaign (https://www.voordekunst.nl/projecten/8383) to open the first ever museum dedicated to drugs. Read our interview with Machteld Busz, the director of Mainline – and support their cause!

Drugreporter: When and why did you decide to create the first museum dedicated to drugs and the people who use them?

Machteld Busz: About two years ago, and we started getting serious in developing the plan about one and a half years ago. Poppi: Drugs Museum Amsterdam is set up as a social enterprise. We want to educate the general public about drugs, drug dependency, drug policies, and drug culture. Secondly, we hope to make profits and return those to our foundation. And third we would love to employ people who use drugs at some point in the future. First things first however; we need to get some funds together to get us off to a flying start.

In the promotional leaflet you promise to “blow our minds” with psychedelic artwork and ancient artefacts. Can you talk a bit more about the preparation of the exhibition? How did you collect artefacts and who were the artists you worked with?

We started collecting drug-related art alongside our ‘normal’ harm reduction work. We rely heavily on friends from the field who share a passion and donated or lent art. Now that we have decided to start a museum we can start a more comprehensive and serious collection. We will start the museum ‘lean’, with a series of exhibitions, events, and art-shows. We want to gradually ‘fill’ the eventual museum. In doing so, we want to combine new technology such as virtual reality, or ‘immersive art’ in the form of a situation room, with science and more traditional art to engage people on a deeper level. That would be the ‘blow your mind’ part!