Museum Voorlinden

Museum Voorlinden is a new museum, by Dutch standards, having opened in 2016. It’s a a wonderful modern pavilion purpose built as a home for art, it’s surrounded by a garden designed to have flowers in three seasons and be interesting in all four seasons. The collection is modern and has at its base the private collection of Mr. van Caldenborgh.

Museum Voorlinden (source: Cordeel, the construction company)

The exhibition space is light an airy, with a specifically designed ceiling so that the gallery space is bathed in light. There were three exhibitions on view. The first is called “Less is More“, a sort of play on art meeting minimalism. Some of the pieces focused on impermanence, some on humans vs their environment and some explored the materials such as Trans-for-men (my favourite piece in the exhibition). This exhibition is on until January 2020 – so you have time!

The second exhibition I saw was a joy, an exploration of fabric and architecture. Do Ho Suh, a Korean artist, is fascinated with space and each piece is infused with colour.

And finally, the exhibition I was most curious to see, I’ve wanted to see Yayoi Kusama’s work for ages. Her power with colour and shape, her ability to visualise in any medium is so impressive. She’s been copied and underestimated forever, and it’s relatively recently – thanks Instagram! – that’s she’s started to have the sort of universal recognition her genius deserves. I was not less impressed for having seen so many images of her work.

I’ve wanted to see Yayoi Kusama’s work for years, so when I saw there was an exhibition on at Museum Voorlinden i rushed off to see it, I was a bit slow noticing so ended up going in the last week. The two other exhibitions I saw are still on, but hurry for Do Ho Suh, it ends on until 29 September.

How To Visit

Voorlinden museum & gardens
Buurtweg 90
2244 AG Wassenaar
The Netherlands

Getting There
isn’t easy!
I cycled from the centre of the Hague which took about 25 minutes, the only public transport option is bus 43 or 44, to the Wittenburgerweg Wassenaar stop, but there’s a 20 minute walk from there to the museum.

Ticket Prices
Adults € 17.50
13-18 year-olds € 8.50
under 12 free
NOTE: Museumjaarkaart is not valid

Opening Times
11 am to 5 pm

I recommend buying your ticket online before your visit.

High Society

To celebrate their wedding Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit had their portraits painted by Rembrandt. To celebrate acquiring the pair of paintings the Rijksmuseum has created an exhibition of some of the world’s greatest full size portraits called High Society.

The paintings have been restored and are magnificent in the detail of their opulence, and they once contributed to Rembrandts’ reputation with Amsterdam’s wealthy elite. This is the first time in more than 60 years they’ve been part of a public exhibition. They are jointly owned by the Rijksmuseum and the Louvre and part of that agreement is that the paintings will be kept together and displayed together. I think they’ll be at the Rijksmuseum through next year which is the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death.

The High Society exhibition show cases full length portraits through the centuries from the world’s greatest artists, from Sergent to Munch  and the museum has presented it as if these world famous people turned up to an unlikely party. You can everyone meet the solemn Count and Countess da Porto (by Veronese) who lived 100 years before Rembrandt to the dazzling Marchesa Luisa Casati, who lived 250 years after him.

I met Anna Comptesse de Noailles, the first woman to win the French Legion d’honneur. Apparently when this painting was exhibited it was considered scandalous, partly because of how low her gown sweeps, but also because she is wearing her award around her neck – and apparently that is not done, it should be worn on a sash diagonally across one’s body. Obviously the designers of the award had never thought about how women would wear it.

My favourite painting was this debonair gentleman; he’s Samuel-Jean Pozzi, and he was quite the lady’s man, whose lovers included Sarah Bernhardt. I think I have a crush!

The museum created evening events for this exhibition, and I was lucky enough to go to one. It was fantastic to be in the museum after dark and after the exhibition they turned the lobby into a dance floor and we had champagne and a dance. Just as if we were part of High Society.

High Society is on for about another week – until June 3rd. Tickets to the whole museum are 17.50 and there’s no additional entrance fee for the exhibition. (Free entry with a museum jaarkaart)


Art on Sunday

I went to see the wonderful “Coded Nature” exhibition from StudioDrift at the Stedelijk Museum. The image above is one of their ShyLights. They dance above your head and as they float down they open up like a flower, the movement is gentle and mesmerising. The perfect thing to do on a Sunday afternoon

Here’s what the room full of ShyLights looks like. Everyone stays in this room for ages, watching the lights glow and dance, their faces filled with wonder. Everyone gives into the temptation to lie on the floor and watch the lights from below, and it’s amazing – until the vigilant museum stuff come in and ask you to move. Apparently the light on the floor is part of the exhibition and by lying on the floor we are ruining it for others. IMHO the one ruining it for others was the grumpy museum guy.

The title of the exhibition is Coded Nature and there’s one piece that seems to be a commentary on our destruction of the earth, it’s a long film showing floating concrete blocks drifting through the air forming large structures until nature is obliterated. And in the next room is one of the concrete blocks – a drifter – floating, un-suspended  in a huge room.

I’ve followed Studio Drift’s Instagram account for a long time, and I’ve been fascinated by the “fragile futures” sculptures. So it was really cool to see an installation of fragile futures, be able to walk around it and get up close to the tiny dandelion lights that make up the sculpture.

The exhibition filled me with wonder, it’s that intersection of art and science, it’s beautiful and kinetic and well worth visiting. I might be back next weekend.

The exhibition is on until the 26 August, and it’s free for museum card holders, or €17.50.

Amsterdam’s Newest Art Work

I was playing tour guide on Sunday and we wandered up Rokin, the area between Muntplein and the Dam, this area is being redeveloped and is full of restaurants with terraces where people were eating lunch in the sun. At the top of Rokin, just before you get to the Dam is this wonderful sculpture/fountain.

It features two heads facing in opposite directions and water seeps from the top of the heads down their shoulders, across the plinth and spills onto the ground. It was 24 degrees (75F) so it had a pleasant cooling effect, it might be less fun on subzero winter days!

It’s a stunning work of art and the courtyard around it is a peaceful oasis despite being right on a tram route.

The sculpture is by Mark Manders, a Dutch/Belgian sculptor and it was installed on the 31 July 2017.So brand new.

You can see a short movie about the installation from Gemeente Amsterdam (Amsterdam City Council) sorry it’s only in Dutch but the pictures are cool.

Animals at the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is filled with animals at the moment! They’re on loan from the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden and they’re accompanying an exhibition of works by Frans Post, sketches and paintings made during his time in Brazil. In many cases the exhibition displays a stuffed version of the animal next to the sketch. You can see the precision of Post’s work. Here’s the Capybara, positioned under an oil painting view that includes a capybara.

Capybara and Frans Post paintingThe exhibition is on until 7 January – so hurry up!

In the main entrance hall there are animals from other places to admire – including a pair of polar bears looking down on you.

polar bears

Banksy is in Town

There are currently two exhibitions of Banksy’s work in Amsterdam. I went to the one at Beurs van Berlage, which has just been extended to the 7 January. It was great to see some of his most famous works collected together. His works always contain a juxtaposition that is thought provoking; there were one or two I could live with.

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The second exhibition is on at the Moco Museum on Museumplein and is on until the end of the year.

Summer Sculpture at the Rijksmuseum

The gardens of the Rijksmuseum have their own exhibition in summer, this year the sculptures are by Giuseppe Penone, who uses natural elements in unexpected ways – rocks land in trees, gold glints from within a tree, and marble reveals veins.

it’s it’s free to enter and wander around. I arrived before 10 and the garden was fairly empty, there’s a small espresso bar in the old summerhouse if you need some caffeine before going into the museum. Here are my highlights from the garden sculptures. (Scroll down for video).

The water sculpture is called “Hide and See(k)” and it’s by Jeppe Hein, it’s a series of water jets arrayed in a square within a circle and programmed to release water in a sequence. At times you can walk through it, so I did, and took this 360 degree view from within.

ARTZUID; a sculpture exhibition

Artzuid is on again this year, 70 sculptures have been placed along Apollolaan, Minervalaan, Zuidas, Vondelpark and Museumplein and they’ll stay there until the 22 September.

There’s more information on the Artzuid site, along with information about some of the artworks from previous years. This year there’s also an app – but only for iphone.

If we end up with another sunny weekend it’d be fun to spend an afternoon wandering between the artworks.

MuseumNacht (museum night)

Museum night is coming up on Saturday 7 November, this year’s programme – and website – has got a glossier feel than I’ve seen in previous years.

They’ve also created a video competition with one minute videos to highlight Museum Night. Here’s my favourite entry.

The site has rather limited info in English but it’s easy enough to navigate and they have a system where you can create your own programme for the evening.

Step 1; register your account
click on “Mijn n8” at the upper right, you’ll be asked for name (voornaam), surname (achternaam), email and password.

Step 2; click on “Programma”

Picture 13
Step 3; select all the events you want to attend

Picture 15Step 4; Go back to “Mijn n8” to see the programme you’ve compiled and print it out.

Picture 16

You can still buy tickets either at the Ticketshop on Leidseplein.

Wiki loves Art loves Amsterdam

The first photograph added to Wiki loves art/NL, a ring from the Jewish Historical Museum.

The first photograph added to Wiki loves art/NL, a ring from the Jewish Historical Museum.

Various museums around the Netherlands are taking part in a month long Wiki Love Art event this month.

It’s an opportunity to photograph some works of art that are usually off limits. Share the photos on flickr and you’re in to win prizes.

The goal is to increase the number of quality photos available on wikimedia commons, similar initiatives have already been tried around the world.

Participating Museums/Organisations in Amtsterdam

Allard Pierson (tag: allardpierson)
ING Art Management (tag: ing)
Joods Historisch Museum (tag: jhm)
Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst (tag: nimk)
NEMO (tag: nemo)
Tropenmuseum (tropenmuseum)
Van Gogh Museum (tag: vangogh)

For other museums around the Netherlands, and the appropriate tags, go to the site.

The Rules To Take Part

(translation mine – original Dutch here)

Step 1: Make a Flickr account.

  • If you don’t already have a flickr account you can make one for free here. You can find instructions to sign up on the Flickr website

Step 2: Upload the photos

  • Wiki loves art /NL takes place during the whole month of June. So you need to take your photos at participating museums in June, and upload the photos to Flickr. Photos taken outside this period cannot be included in the Wiki loves art/NL project!

Step 3: Add the correct title and tags

  • It’s really important that all your photos are correctly tagged. As part of the Wiki Loves Art each photo must have a title and use standardised tags. Without these tags we won’t be able to identify the item in the photo or tell which museum it is from. For each photo we need the following details:
    • The title of the work  (as the title of the photo): Name of the artwork, name of the maker (if known), year (if knonw). For example  Nachtwacht, Rembrandt van Rijn (1642)
    • The tag WLANL
    • A tag with the name of the museum: a tag with the (short) name of the museum where the photo was taken. I’ve added the tags for the participating Amsterdam museums above, for participating museums around the rest of the Netherlands check the official site.
    • A tag with your Flickr name.
    • At some museums there are lists that include a “collection code” for the works available to be photographed. If this code is available then that code should also be added as a tag to the photo.

Step 4: License the photos under the Creative Commons Share Alike Attribution licence.

Step 5: Join the Wiki loves Art group and add your photos to this group.

Step 6: After the project all the photos will be checked.

  • The Wiki loves art/NL team, with colleagues from the museums taking part will look at each of the photos. Photos that meet all the conditions of the competition will be sent to a jury. There are attractive prizes on offer from camera equipment to museum entrance subscriptions. Prizewinners will be notified before 1 September 2009. Photos that met all the conditions will also be added Wikimedia Commons.

Further Rules:

  • Communication should always be via the Flickr group. You can ask questions and they’ll answer them as quickly as possible (note; it doesn’t say so, but I’m sure it would be OK to ask questions in English)
  • Photos submitted must be your own work.
  • Go for quality photos, rather than quantity. Take into account any limits on upload connected to your flickr account
  • Take notes at the same time as you take the photograph, that will help you get the details right.
  • In addition to these rules some museums may have additional rules relating to photography of their artifacts. You’ll find these rules on the pages of the individual museums.