With the year being well on its way, it’s time to share our annual listing of must see art events and exhibitions in The Netherlands.
Also, this year the Dutch museums and institutions have some promising exhibitions and events on their agenda. We see some famous photographers’ work and interesting historical exhibitions coming to the country and also some long-awaited events finally appearing.
This year further marks the 100 years anniversary of the foundation of the Dutch art movement The Style (or in Dutch ‘De Stijl’). This anniversary is widely celebrated by different museums in The Netherlands this year, as you will note throughout this listing.
We are gradually expanding this list throughout the year. Thus, make sure to check in again for updated versions of this guide with exhibitions in The Netherlands!
First, let’s have a look at some of the must-see art exhibitions in The Netherlands in 2017.
(last update 11 May 2017)
* Rodin -Genius At Work
* After Rodin – Erwin Olaf
Groninger Museum, Groningen
19 November 2016 – 30 April 2017
With over 120 sculptures and 20 works on paper the exhibition Rodin – Genius At Work in the Groninger Museum is the largest Rodin exhibition to take place in The Netherlands ever so far.
The exhibition does not only feature Rodin’s sculptures, such as The Thinker and Balzac, but also his ceramics and never-before-exhibited photos. Together the works at display show how creative this artist actually was. You’ll further be able to get a better look into the unique working process Rodin used to create some of his most famous works, such as The Kiss.
When you finally visit the museum for this exhibition, you’re in for a nice bonus. The famous Dutch photographer Erwin Olaf – one of our favorites – also exhibits here with his series of pictures of ballet dancers, inspired by Rodin’s work.
The exhibition is curated by the Musée Rodin in Paris and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Canada. It promises to be one of the highlights at the Groninger museum this year.
Last year we stood in front of closed doors, when trying to visit the Rodin museum in Paris. Thus, we hope this exhibition will give us a new chance to see the works of one of the greatest and most influential sculptors of the modern era.
100 Years De Stijl
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
De Stijl at Stedelijk: 3 December 2016 – 21 May 2017
Chris Beekman, De Stijl Defector: 8 April 2017 – 17 September 2017
De Stijl and Metz & Co.: 14 October 2017 – 18 January 2018
This year it is a hundred years ago, that the Dutch modern art movement The Style (or in Dutch ‘De Stijl’) was founded. A good reason for museums around The Netherlands to celebrate this anniversary with different exhibitions and events.
De Stijl at Stedelijk
The Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam in fact organizes three exhibitions around De Stijl. Each exhibition highlights different aspects of the art movement, also known as neoplasticism, by works from artists such as Piet Mondrian, Gerrit Rietveld and Theo Van Doesburg.
During the exhibition De Stijl at Stedelijk the museum’s own collection of works of De Stijl will be exhibited alongside works of different other artists in its collection. Among others facets such as the use of colour, the diagonal, purity and architecture will be presented.
Chris Beekman, De Stijl Defector
One of the lesser known De Stijl artists is probably Chris Beekman. In the early years of existence of De Stijl he created works in a similar style as we know the art movement for. As a result of Beekman being quite politically active, he broke with the art movement in the 1920s. He was of the opinion that the world needed art that everyone could understand. While abandoning abstract art Beekman started making figurative work of a more political nature. During the exhibition Chris Beekman, De Stijl Defector the oeuvre of the artist will be presented for the first time. Some 80 different works of Beekman will be shown.
De Stijl and Metz & Co.
Mad about Surrealism
11 February 2017 – 28 May 2017
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
If you are a fan of surrealism and surrealist artists like Dali, Max Ernst, Rene Magritte or Joan Miro, make sure to visit the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen this year. The Rotterdam-based museum will host the large scale exhibition titled ‘Mad about Surrealism‘ with some world class Surrealist masterpieces. All works exhibited come from four private collections and the museum’s own collection.
In a time when museums were not that interested in Surrealist art yet, the British collectors Roland Penrose and Edward James did already commission and purchase Surrealists works. Also the Scottish Gabrielle Keiller and the German couple Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch assembled important and world-class surrealist items. During the exhibition Mad About Surrealism the pioneering spirit of the surrealist artists and their collectors is told with around 300 pieces of these private collections.
The Mad About Surrealism exhibition is part of a broader program about Surrealism at the museum. Apart from other Surrealist objects displayed throughout the museum, the museum will also exhibit part of its own collection of Surrealist art, gathered as from the 1970s.
During the exhibition the museum will also publish a catalogue of all the Surrealist works in its collection.
GOOD HOPE. SOUTH AFRICA – THE NETHERLANDS
17 February – 21 May
With the exhibition ‘Good Hope. South Africa – The Netherlands’ the Rijksmuseum puts the historical and current relationship between The Netherlands and South Africa central.
As the relationship between these two countries has been existing for about 400 years already, there will be items from different centuries at display, most of them coming from South Africa.
Some of the oldest items at display will be the several meters long landscape paintings made by the Dutch traveller Robert Jacob Gordon. While travelling through South-Africa in the 18th century, he documented the country in detail with his drawings and paintings.
A bit more recent works at display will be the photos of Pieter Hugo, one of our favorite African photographers. He documented the so called freeborn children, the childern born after 1994, when apartheid was abolished. Some truly beautiful pictures.
For those interested in history, South African culture and art this will be for sure another exhibition not to miss at one of Amsterdam’s best known museums.
22 April – 27 Augustus
This spring the Kunsthal in Rotterdam will host a large-scale retrospective of the work and life of Robert Mapplethorn, the famous American photographer, who is mostly known for his minimalist, serene pictures of flowers and nudes.
WILLIAM EGGLESTON – LOS ALAMOS
17 March – 7 June
The American photographer William Eggleston has been a pioneer of colour photography from the mid-1960s onwards, and documented many different places throughout the United States. One of those places was Los Alamos, a place in the state of New Mexico where the nuclear was developed in secret.
Although originally meant to be published in parts the 2200 pictures made for the Los Alamos series were initially forgotten over the years. Somehow, 40 years later, the pictures got rediscovered and this year they make their way into FOAM, Amsterdam. A nice chance for us to see the vibrant photographs of traffic signs, run-down buildings and interiors, all seemingly equally important for the autodidact photographer.
WORLD PRESS PHOTO
14 April – 9 July
Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam
One of the annual events we always look forward to go is the World Press Photo exhibition. If you know the event, you will know it is not so much about fun, as it is about seeing what happened around the world throughout the eyes of some great photo journalists, both from the down and the positive side. In any case there are always many touching pictures in between.
As a tradition the exhibition starts in Amsterdam and travels the world following that. Are you not able to make it to the exhibition in Amsterdam? Just have look at the map of the World Press Photo organization to see if it might be organized anywhere nearby any time soon.
Oud-Zuid district, Amsterdam
19 May – 17 September 2017
This year marks already the fifth time that the bi-annual Sculpture Route Art Zuid will be organized. The 2.5 kilometers long sculpture route is running through the main streets of Amsterdam’s Oud-Zuid (translated as ‘old-south’) district and is one of those events that is perfect to visit on a nice spring or summer day.
The theme of this year is set around the anniversary of De Stijl and shows the influence of this art movement on post war Dutch sculpture. Apart from Dutch artists like Atelier van Lieshout, Joost Baljeu en Klaas Gubbels, also modern art works of international artists like Cristóbal Gabarrón, Ryszard Winiarski and Miquel Barceló will be shown.
When you are there, make sure to also have a look in the Beatrix park. Here you will find an art installation of flowers and butterflies of Japanese artist Eiji Watanabe, which should be worth seeing as well.
Arp: The Poetry of Forms
Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo
20 May – 17 September 2017
The exhibition Arp: The Poetry of Forms at the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo will be the first major retrospective in the Netherlands of the work of Jean Arp since the sixties. The German-French artist, who initially started his career as a poet, was a key member of groups and movements such as Dada and surrealism. As such he had a major influence on and connection with important artistic developments in the first half of the twentieth century, among which De Stijl.
Throughout Arp’s work on display you will see the continuous interaction between visual art and poetry and the strong bond between word and image. Besides eighty visual works from throughout Arp’s career you will also be able to have a read through examples of Arp’s poetry, writings and publications.
Once you made it to the museum, make sure to also pay a visit to the Van Gogh Gallery and the surrounding sculpture garden, by far one of our favorites in The Netherlands.
3D PRINTED BRIDGE – JORIS LAARMAN LAB/ MX3D
Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal, Amsterdam
It was already announced in 2015. Amsterdam would have a 3D printed bridge right in the middle of the centre. This year the bridge is finally expected to be ready. As from mid 2017 it can be found fully finished at the Oudezijds Achterburgwal, amidst the Red Light District. While we already saw a prototype of the bridge during the exhibition of the Dutch artist Joris Laarman in the Groninger Museum, we can’t wait to see it in reality and actually walk over it!
MUSEUM NIGHT AMSTERDAM
4 November 2017
Different institutions throughout Amsterdam
AMSTERDAM LIGHT FESTIVAL
30 November 2017 – 21 January 2018
Have you seen any exhibitions in The Netherlands you others should see as well? Let us know in the comments or send us an email at wkndr at artweekenders dot com. We love to hear about your experiences!