Mv header Azteken
On display from 6 August 2021


AZTECS – The People behind the Myths

One of the world’s iconic historical civilisations. A great empire that encompassed large parts of Central America, brought down five hundred years ago by a few hundred Spanish colonists and their indigenous allies – an anniversary marked by a major exhibition which, following runs in Stuttgart and Vienna, will be opening in Leiden on 6 August 2021.

The exhibition
A major exhibition featuring life-sized warriors carved from stone, mythical human-animal figures, intricate gold jewellery, fascinating drawings and a full-size 3D print of the calendar stone, all brought to life through unique stories, and based on the latest academic research.
Myths unravelled
There are many stories about the 16th-century Aztecs that have no basis in fact. We now know much more about the daily lives of normal Aztecs, including their upbringing, education and trade links. The exhibition at Museum Volkenkunde will put the Aztec culture in a new perspective, showing the people behind the myth, and the artists behind the art. 

In 2021 more than a million Mexicans still speak Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. The exhibition will also introduce visitors to their present-day descendants. 

The exhibition is an international collaboration involving several organisations, including the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Mexico City. As a result, it will not only showcase the latest information and understanding, but also a large number of intriguing collection highlights, some of them on display outside Mexico for the very first time. 



The Aztec exhibition is a fun event for both young and old. Follow our snake guide Coatl  through the displays, solve the puzzles, complete the assignments and learn fascinating new things along the way.     



Our special Aztec workshop will be open every day, with challenges to increase your knowledge of the Aztecs, and extra activities at weekends and during school holidays. Check the website for details.