A century of technology

Groundbreaking 20th-century inventions in transport, industry, media and everyday life

A man, in frame on the right, twiddles knobs on a large IBM computer, while a mirror on the left shows the rest of the office, filled with computers of varying sizes, in its reflection.

A discourse on art. A manipulation of nature. A man-made solution for the challenges of life. Throughout history the term ‘technology’ has had different meanings, but always implied a certain degree of human intervention, ingenuity and creativity. At the crossroads between scientific research and practical application, tools and processes, man and machine, technology aims at making our lives easier and helping us adjust to changes in our environment. In that sense, technology is as old as humankind itself. But the revolution in the 20th century is a story in itself: from the early decades onwards, more advances were made in more fields at a greater speed than ever before.

Looking back on the 20th century as a Century of Change, this exhibition explores different aspects of the technological revolution, zooming in on inventions and events that shaped the world we live in today. Next to striking innovations such as travelling to space, computing and industrial automation, we explore how technology has invaded our homes. We set off by zooming into a crucial driver of technological change: the production and use of energy.