Must-See Art Exhibitions in The Netherlands 2017

Lydian BrunstingAgenda, Coming Soon, Currently On, Exhibitions1 Comment

Must see exhibitions netherlands 2017

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


Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), The Thinker, 1903

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

Mondriaan, composition No. IV, with Red, Blue and Yellow Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Piet Mondriaan, Composition No. IV, with Red, Blue, and Yellow, 1929, coll. Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

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.

The Amsterdam based department store Metz & Co. played an important role in disseminating Modernism in The Netherlands as from the late 1920s. They sold among others furniture, textiles and other design items made by De Stijl Members in their store. During the exhibition De Stijl and Metz & Co. the Stedelijk will show some of these works alongside other works made by De Stijl Members and artists influenced by De Stijl.


Mad about Surrealism

11 February 2017 – 28 May 2017

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam


Couple with their heads full of clouds, by Dali – collection 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.


17 February – 21 May
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum South Africa Good Hope exhibitions in the netherlands

Maurice Boyer, Nelson Mandela during his welcome on Amsterdam’s Leidseplein, 16 June 1990. Photo Maurice Boyer

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
Kunsthal, Rotterdam

robertmapplethorpe_kunsthalrotterdam exhibitions in the netherlands

(c) Robert Mapplethorpe

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.

With over 20o works the exhibition will give a better insight in the main themes of Mapplethorn’s career and photography from the late 1960s to his premature death. Besides pictures there will be rare letters, books and notes which show much more of the photographer’s life and work and his approach to this.


17 March – 7 June
FOAM, Amsterdam

william eggleston foam amsterdam exhibitions in the netherlands

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. 


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


KAWS ArtZuid 2015 Amsterdam

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

jean arp kroller muller exhibitions in the netherlands

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.


Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal, Amsterdam
Mid 2017

MX3d bridge 3d printed bridge joris laarman

Visual of 3D printed Bridge (c) MX3D bridge

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!


4 November 2017

Different institutions throughout Amsterdam

exhibitions in the netherlands Museumnacht Museumnight Amsterdam Museumnacht

Museumnight 2014 at Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam


30 November 2017 – 21 January 2018

Throughout Amsterdam


Lightfestival Amsterdam 2013.

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!

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.