Residents of nursing homes with VR glasses 'visiting' the Rijksmuseum




Virtual outing gives the elderly respite from isolation

Maya VR and the KPN Mooiste Contact Fonds will treat nursing home residents to a virtual ‘outing’ to the Rijksmuseum. With the help of VR glasses and under the guidance of art history students, elderly people in small groups are given a private ‘tour’ and get to see and hear what the museum has to offer. Afterwards, the residents and students can chat together about the artworks they have just seen, including The Night Watch and The Milkmaid.

For the elderly, the outing is a very welcome distraction. Social contact and outings have been almost impossible for a year, whereas there is a great need for them. The percentage of people over 75 (circa 1.2 million people in the Netherlands) who feel lonely doubled* in 2020 compared to 2019. Of course, the consequences of the corona virus play a major role in this increase.

“Connecting is a priority at Maya. The VR glasses offer the elderly an incredible experience, but are above all a way to connect people”, says Jan Schipper, founder of Maya VR. “By allowing elderly people in the home to participate together under the guidance of students, we are also connecting different generations with each other. This means there is real contact again for a while, because there is so much need for this in these times.”

“Stimulating social contact has been the number one priority for the KPN Mooiste Contact Fonds for fourteen years”, says the Fund’s director, Mark Versteegen. “We do this through various projects. Now that people can’t go out, we’re bringing the outside inside. As main sponsor of the Rijksmuseum, we let them enjoy a wonderful tour of the museum with 4K images. The elderly, the students and, when the corona measures allow it, also KPN volunteers, can have a lovely afternoon together!”

This year, a total of 3,000 elderly nursing home residents throughout the Netherlands will be given a virtual tour of the Rijksmuseum. The meetings take place in homes where residents and staff have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Maya VR
Maya VR is a young healthcare business combating loneliness among the elderly. With the help of VR technology, Maya gives elderly people the opportunity to enjoy a day out, from their own home. Assisted by virtual reality, older people can have experiences that otherwise would be impossible. For example, with Maya, elderly people can enjoy a safari, city trips, museum visits, and walks through the most beautiful nature reserves.

KPN Mooiste Contact Fonds
The KPN Mooiste Contact Fonds is an initiative of KPN. The fund was established in 2007 and supports initiatives by various social partners aimed at stimulating social contact among vulnerable groups in society for whom this contact is not self-evident. The fund uses knowledge, ICT, resources, and people (KPN volunteers) to do something about this.