“Mad for Money” (Gek op Geld in Dutch) in the Museum of Taxes and Money in Rotterdam is an exhibition about the history of money and the story of our relationship with money. In the design it was precisely the psychological aspect of money that we wanted to emphasize. We wanted to stimulate the emotions behind acquisitiveness and the dream that most of us have to be a bit more prosperous. We wanted to inspire a kind of “Scrooge McDuck” feeling. To this end, there’s a throne of gold, pallets stacked high with banknotes, and a vault of safety deposit boxes that hide surprises and educational puzzles.

In Holland we know money as something colorful and even joyful. So one of our first questions was why we should use stolid, safe colors (like banks do)? It would become pink, gold and chartreuse: colors that are just barely stable together and create an electric tension. This lively theme is carried through all aspects of the exhibition. Our handsome display cases, made by Victor van der Meiden (and with mark of approval by the demanding Dutch National Bank) are all beautifully colored within thanks to the skillful printing at Royal Rijnja Printers. All the walls, 70 square meters, are covered by a timeline that illustrates all the facets of money’s history, from trading goats, to the first banknotes to digital cryptocurrencies. Three academic currents of the story are visually woven across eachother like vines that echo the highs and lows of economies and prosperity. All the while various illustrated humorous characters, silhouettes, give sarcastic commentary about the history of the means of exchange.

The exhibition will be opened by Her Majesty Queen Máxima

“Gek op Geld”, until March in the Belasting & Douanemuseum, Parklaan 7, Rotterdam.