2015 Must-See Art Exhibitions in The Netherlands

Netherlands Exhibitions 2015


2015 Must-See Art Exhibitions In The Netherlands

Click here for 2016 events

It’s the start of a new year with new exciting exhibitions, activities and travels ahead of us. A moment for the members of the ArtSmart Roundtable to share their outlook on 2015 with you. In view of this we have gathered some of the best exhibitions taking place in our home country, The Netherlands, this year. Any exhibitions you would like to add?

The ArtSmart Roundtable is a collaboration between a group of art-focused travel bloggers, writing about a new theme every month. Don’t forget to read the other contributions for this month (links below this article)!

Let’s now have a look at what’s happening in The Netherlands this year:




Van Gogh 2015

This year it has been 125 years ago that the famous Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh passed away. Whereas his work was hardly acknowledged during his life, these days this is very different. The artist is known globally and his work can be admired at many locations  all around the world.


A number of Dutch, French en Belgian museums, institutions and towns decided to honour the artist this year under the theme of ‘125 years of inspiration’. Under the umbrella Van Gogh Europe – of which the Van Gogh Museum, the Kröller-Müller Museum, Van Gogh Brabant and Mons 2015, the European Capital of Culture in 2015, are the basis – different activities will be organized throughout The Netherlands, Belgium, France and England, connecting the locations where Van Gogh worked and lived during his life. Apart from exhibitions, other fun events and activities will be organized throughout all four countries, like for example cycle routes through Van Gogh’s birth province of North Brabant in the southern Netherlands. Soon we will feature an in-depth article about Van Gogh 2015, so make sure to check in later for more details!


Anton Corbijn – HOLLANDS DEEP

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague

From 21 March 2015 to 21 June 2015

This year the Dutch photographer, film director and music video director Anton Corbijn is turning sixty. A good occasion to look back at his career the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in The Hague must have thought. The museum will organise a retrospective, called Hollands Deep, with highlights from all Corbijn’s series starting the 21st of March. The self-taught photographer Anton Corbijn became famous through his photos of rock-artists, musicians and other performers – like Stephen Hawking, Miles Davis, Luciano Pavarotti –  and was the creative brain behind the visuals of Depeche Mode and U2 for years. In more recent years Corbijn focused more on directing movies like Control and The American, and A Most Wanted Man as his most recent production. The exhibition will contain pictures of his different movies too alongside his photography.

The nearby Fotomuseum Den Haag will at the same time organize the photo exhibition 1-2-3-4 with photos Corbijn made of musicians and bands. This exhibition lasts until 16 August 2015 (extended).



The OASIS OF Matisse

Stedelijk, Amsterdam

From 27 March to 16 August 2015

Although some works of the French artist Henri Matisse were already visible in the modern art museum Stedelijk in Amsterdam as part of the permanent collection, this year will be the first time in sixty years that a retrospective of his work will be held, in the museum and, in fact, in The Netherlands in general. The retrospective – called The Oasis of Matisse – will show more works together than we have ever seen before in our country, including some seldom exhibited artworks, sculptures, drawings and of course his colourful paintings, and gives an excellent impression of Matisse his skills.


Matisse at the Stedelijk in Amsterdam.


Art Zuid

Different locations, Amsterdam Zuid

From 22 May to 22 September 2015

This year the biennial International Sculpture Route Art Zuid will be on again in Amsterdam. The longest sculpture route of The Netherlands consists of about sixty art objects placed through Amsterdam Zuid, a neighborhood just outside the city centre. By walking or cycling the route you will not only see the different art objects, but you will also get a chance to discover another area of town. Besides artworks of well-known artists – like in previous editions those of AiWeiWei, Pablo Picasso and Karel Appel – Art Zuid also aims to bring to our attention the urban design of this part of town, which is based upon plans of the Dutch architect Berlage. All in all, an ideal activity for a nice spring or summer day that we’re looking forward to!


Georg Baselitz at ArtZuid 2015, Amsterdam


Keith Haring: The Political Line

Kunsthal, Rotterdam

From 20 September 2015 to 7 February 2016

This autumn the Kunsthal in Rotterdam will present one of the biggest exhibitions ever of the American artist and activist Keith Haring, who passed away some 25 years ago. With his distinctive, yet accessible style the artist created iconic images, which are still influencing people with different cultural background from all around the world. During the exhibition The Political Line the under-explored political themes in Haring’s work are being given more attention, something we’re looking forward to hear more about! The exhibition will contain about 120 of Keith Haring’s artworks.

Keith Haring Kunsthal Rotterdam The Netherlands

Keith Haring



Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

From 25 September 2015 to 17 January 2016

The works of the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863-1944) and Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) contain some striking parallels. Besides striving for a more modern style, the artworks of both artists were full of emotions and personal stories. Through a cooperation between the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, these two artists are now for the first time brought together during the exhibition Munch: Van Gogh.  Over hundred art works – among which some works which are rarely lent out to exhibitions for public viewing – will highlight all parallels between the artists.

Van-Gogh-The-Sower-Munch-exhibitions-netherlands -2015

The Sower by Van Gogh.

Before coming to Amsterdam the exhibition will first be at the Munch Museum, Oslo from 7 May to 6 September 2015.


Amsterdam Light Festival

Amsterdam City Centre

From 26 November 2015 to 17 January 2016

The fourth edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival is expected to be more international than ever due to many international artists finding their way to the festival these days. The theme of this year’s festival is Friendship, emphasizing the importance of friendship for everyone around the world. The route will contain 35 artworks around this theme and can be seen while joining the boat tour Water Colours or by following the – interactive – walking route Illuminade. It is one of those activities we love to come out for during the colder and darker days of the year. Like to get an idea of what to expect? Here’s a link to our photo post of last year’s edition.


Amsterdam Light Festival

David Bowie Is 

Groninger Museum, Groningen

From 12 December 2015 to 10 April 2016

We’re really excited that the David Bowie Is exhibition finally is coming to The Netherlands by the end of the year, after having visited cities like London, Paris and Berlin, where the exhibition was immensely popular. This is the first international retrospective of David Bowie, who could be described as a pioneer and one of the most influential performers of our times. The exhibition will contain about 300 objects from the ‘David Bowie Archive’ and will include photos, costumes, videos, sketches and other performance material which the artist used during his career in the last fifty years. Not only will you be able to see how David Bowie influenced others with his work, you will also get to see how and by whom he was influenced.


The venue for this exhibition will be the Groninger Museum in Groningen, a city in the north of The Netherlands about 2,5 hours by train from Amsterdam. This museum is generally one we recommend you to visit, especially when you’re interested in modern and contemporary art, although the museum also had classic, historical art exhibitions. The modern building – designed by architects Philippe Starck, Alessandro Mendini and Coop Himmelb(l)au – the museum is housed in awaits you just outside the train station.


The other Art Smart contributions for this month are:

*  The Wanderfull Traveler – 2015 Outlook In Travel & Art

*  Daydream Tourist – Van Gogh 2015

*  This Is My Happiness – The Year Ahead: Art Exhibitions in 2015

*  ArtTrav – Art Exhibitions To See In Florence In 2015

For more about the best shows in Europe: THE BEST EXHIBITIONS IN EUROPE FOR WEEKEND GETAWAYS

About The Author: Lydian Brunsting

'To be with Art is all we ask'- Gilbert and George. A quote that has stayed with me since I first saw it a couple of years ago. The word I would add though is 'travel' and that is, in fact, Art Weekenders, our new creation. The Art Weekenders project combines my passions for art, travel and photography, while we - at the same time - like to inspire and hopefully help you to prepare your art getaway. I am also photographer, writer and developer of the photoblog SHOuTography, a project that I started during a year of travelling through South-America to explore my life-long passion for photography.