Storytelling and Theming, a Belgian Specialty

My last post was a review of Plopsaland De Panne, which I visited on Boxing Day. The next day I decided to go to Bruges to visit Historium, which I had read a lot about when it opened.

The attraction is located on the Market Square with its ticketing office being in the same room as the city’s visitor centre (quite handy!). It is a walk-through with 7 themed rooms (incl. animatronics, smell, smoke) by Jora Vision, where the visitor follows the story of a young boy, his master and a woman he falls in love with on a day of the year 1435 through a beautifully shot film.

Historium

Historium

The experience takes about 30min and gives a lot of information on the history of the city and its people. At the end, the visitor is invited to freely explore a couple of rooms with additional text and artifacts for a deeper understanding as well as a panoramic terrasse with beautiful views of the Market Square.

Market Square

I was not disappointed as I thought Historium lived up to its reputation. The high quality of the movie, script and theming contributed to a very ‘clean’ experience conducive to a history-based attraction. I can definitely see potential for similar attractions in a lot of historical places, especially when based on a movie that would be shot in the city by a local director and a team of historians to assist with the script.

Visiting Historium the day after Plopsaland De Panne I couldn’t help but notice something these two attractions have in common. And that is a superior storytelling and theming. Be it the history of the city for Historium or the stories of popular IP’s for Plopsaland both take a very meticulous approach of storytelling with a lot of respect, a dose of humor and a high sense of esthetics in the realization, in particular in the theming and media content.

So, until proven otherwise, I declare storytelling and theming a Belgian specialty!

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