Must-See Exhibitions In The Netherlands 2018


Although the new year has barely started, we are already looking forward to what the art and museum world in The Netherlands are planning for the year 2018.

Below you will find our first selection of exhibitions in The Netherlands we would love this see this year. Somehow it seems we will end up a lot in Rotterdam this year, but there is also a lot to look forward to in other parts of the country! From (photo) exhibitions that take us all over the world to the opening of one of the world’s largest street art museums, there is enough going on to fill our art weekends in The Netherlands this year.

We will regularly update and further complete this overview throughout 2018, so make sure to come back again!

For more exhibitions around Europe check our exhibition page or our post with must-see exhibitions in London this autumn.

Let’s now first look at our selection of must-see exhibitions in The Netherlands 2018.

Roy Lichtenstein

3 November 2017 – 31 May 2018

Moco Museum, Amsterdam

Roy Liechtenstein crying_girl

Until the end of May works of one of the world’s best known Pop-Art artists, Roy Liechtenstein, will be exhibited in the Moco Museum in Amsterdam. The artworks will share the museum’s space with works of street-art legend Banksy, which seem to have an almost permanent spot in the modern/contemporary art museum, that has put its mark on the Museumplein since its opening as recent as 2016.

Liechtenstein is mostly known for his comic-like paintings in bright, primary colors, in which he depicted his view of the (consumption) society. Did you know however that the artist also worked with ceramics, glass and steel?

Eddo Hartmann – Setting the Stage: Pyongyang, North Korea, Part 2

9 December 2017 – 4 March 2018

Huis Marseille, Amsterdam

Eddo Hartmann-North-Korea-Huis-Marseille-Amsterdam

As you will likely know, a visit to North-Korea is not that straightforward. Let alone taking pictures in and of the country. After long preparations the Dutch photographer Eddo Hartmann did however manage to get the official permission to take pictures of Pyongyang. It was not a permission to randomly photograph the North-Korean capital though. During the various times he spent in the country, he photographed the city under the watchful eyes of two guides and other passerby’s. Although this could have easily led to the standard pictures we now and than see of North-Korea, Hartmann has managed to put his own stamp on the work, which once in a while seems meticulously prepared and clean.

Whereas part 1 of this exhibition (on show in 2015) mainly focused on the architecture as the propagator of the North-Korean ideology, this part 2 is focused more on the daily lives of people living in the country that is pretty much isolated from the rest of the world.

Jeroen Oerlemans

16 December 2017 – 4 March 2018

Kunsthal, Rotterdam

He was one of the few Dutch photo journalists often working in areas of crisis, like Iraq, Haiti and Sudan. Whether it would be war-zones or natural disasters Jeroen Oerlemans documented it, while giving these disasters a more human face. Unfortunately the courage and drive that took him to these far-away places appeared to be fatal for Oerlemans. In 2016 the three-time recipient of the first prize in the Silver Camera foreign News Category died after being shot by an IS sniper in Libya.

The exhibition of Jeroen Oerlemans in the Kunsthal in Rotterdam this winter focuses on Oerleman’s work as a reporter and emphasizes the need for independent reporting.

Michael Wolf – Life in Cities

20 January 2018 to 22 April 2018

Fotomuseum Den Haag

Michael Wolf Life In Cities Must-See Exhibition In The Netherlands 2018

From the series Tokyo Compression by Michael Wolf

During the years he spent in different metro-poles around the world, the German photographer Michael Wolf documented the life in these cities with a lot of patience. The results as we know them are impressive, be it the pictures of huge apartment buildings or the pictures of people being squashed in Tokyo’s metro’s. With just one photo Wolf shows how busy life can be in these cities.

This year the Hague’s Photomuseum exhibits a large retrospective of Wolf’s work, ranging from photos from his early years as a documentary photographer to the more recent photo series, such as Tokyo Compression. Having seen few of Wolf’s work in reality, we can’t wait to see all together.

Jacqueline Hassink – Unwired

20 January 2018 to 6 May 2018

Nederlands Fotomuseum – Rotterdam

They are not many anymore, but they are still there. In some places they are even being created artificially nowadays. Photographer Jacqueline Hassink travelled around the world to visit and photograph the so called ‘white spots’, places where there is no digital connectivity of any kind.

Hassink’s photos of these ‘unwired’ places are exhibited at the Nederland Fotomuseum early this year together with her photos of the complete opposite: our addiction to our mobile phones.

With social media and mobile phone addictions being everywhere around us, we are curious to see and learn more about these ‘white spots’.

Neo Rauch Dromos – Paintings 1993-2017

21 January 2018 – 3 June 2018

De Fundatie, Zwolle

Phantom Limb – Art Beyond Escher

26 January 2018 – 6 January 2019

Fries Museum, Leeuwarden

If you are familiar with the work of M.C. Escher, you will also be familiar with the feeling of being tricked a bit. The feeling that nothing in his works, is what it looks like.

This idea is the starting point for the exhibition Phantom Limb – Art Beyond Escher at the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden. During this exhibition ten contemporary artists from The Netherlands and abroad show you an alternative reality, playing with concepts like light, infinity, perspective and spatiality in twenty five art works.

We are quite curious to see these by Escher inspired artworks. Will they trick us in the same way Escher used to do?

Escher’s Journey

28 April 2018 – 28 October 2018

Fries Museum, Leeuwarden

The artist M.C. Escher is probably one of the most famous persons of Leeuwarden, the capital of Friesland. With this in mind it is not more than logical that a large-scale exhibition of the artist’s works is being organized in the year both the city and the province are the European Capital of Culture.

With 80 original prints, supplemented by letters, drawings, photographs and personal objects, the Fries Museum will take you through Escher’s life, travels and mind and his development as an artist.

This documentary exhibition is one we are for sure interested to see, especially when the above exhibition Phantom Limb – Art Beyond Escher is also on.

Tell Freedom. 15 South African artists.

27 January 2018 to 6 May 2018

Kunsthal Kade, Amersfoort

This winter and spring Kunsthal Kade in Amersfoort takes us to South Africa with the art of 15 young South African artists, who largely represent a generation that grew up after apartheid.

For the exhibition ‘Tell Freedom. 15 South African artists’ these artists reflect on South Africa’s past, present and future in a local and global context. While they examine the social, political and economical injustices in the colonial era and the apartheid era, they seek to understand their own position in today’s society and to imagine their future as well. Would it for example be possible that one day we live in a world that is based on humanity and equality?

Mikael Kvium – Circus Europa

8 February 2018 – 6 May 2018

Kunsthal, Rotterdam 

While I already saw the exhibition Circus Europa of the Danish artist Mikael Kvium in the Arken Museum for Modern Art in Denmark earlier last year, I would certainly not mind seeing it again.

The exhibition, which is now on in the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, has an up to date theme. At its center are the crises we are currently facing in Europe, both from a political angle and social angle. Kvium portrays these crises with a certain humor and satire, as if they were a circus show. Hence, the applicable title of the exhibition.

Although the theme of this exhibition is quite serious and will certainly make you reflect over the European crises – some of which are as applicable on a global scale -, the exhibition is entertaining at the same time, so make sure to see it if you can.

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Eli Dijkers – Chinese Journey

10 March 2018 – 7 June 2018 

Kunsthal, Rotterdam

The Dark Side of Dick Bruna

10 March 2018 – 7 June 2018

Kunsthal, Rotterdam

Hyperrealism: Sculpture

10 March 2018 to 1 July 2018

Kunsthal, Rotterdam

Rineke Dijkstra – Retrospective

10 March 2018 – 22 July 2018

De Pont Museum, Tilburg

Keramiek Triënnale 2018

11 March to 10 June 2018

CODA Museum, Apeldoorn

A Chinese Journey

17 March 2018 to 8 July 2018

Het Noord Brabant Museum, ‘s Hertogenbosch

Van Gogh & Japan

23 March 2018 to 24 June 2018

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Hito Steyerl, Ben Rivers and Wang Bing

24 March 2018 – 27 May 2018

Eye Film Museum, Amsterdam

Ruben Terlou – Through the Heart Of China

31 March 2018 – 17 June 2018

Museum Hilversum, Hilversum

Ruben Terlou Yangtze MediMan - Museum Hilversum

(c) Ruben Terlou – Yangtze MediMan

While following the television series Along the rivers of the Yangtze and Through the Heart of China about the Dutch  Ruben Terlou‘s travels throughout China, we already hoped that one day we would be able to see an exhibition of the photographs he took during these journeys. We were thus very happy when we learned, that this exhibition was indeed going to be organized by the Museum Hilversum in Hilversum.

During his travels throughout China Ruben Terlou managed to get access to parts of the Chinese culture and people, which the average traveller wouldn’t encounter this quickly. While this in first instance seems to be thanks to his knowledge of Mandarin, because of which he could communicate well with many Chinese, the fact that he is still a foreigner also played an important role in this. Where the average Chinese would perhaps be afraid to loose face and therefore only answer socially accepted questions, Ruben Terlou would not refrain from making a joke while interviewing people and in this way making them more relaxed to talk about serious and more in depth topics.

Streets of The World – Jeroen Swolfs

13 April 2018 – 30 September

Hembrugterrein, Zaandam

Travelling the world and having your photo’s exhibited is something that many travel photographers can only dream of. Imagine if the space is as big as the 3800 m2 venue at the Hembrugterrein in Zaandam! Photo journalist Jeroen Swolfs made this dream become a reality.

After 7 years of travelling through 195 countries around the world, documenting street life in the capitals of all countries, his photos can now been seen in real-life scale in a venue, which once upon a time was part of an artillery factory.

Jeroen Swolfs Zaandam Hembrugterrein Must-See Exhibitions In The Netherlands

(C) Jeroen Swolfs

In his photo-series Streets of The World Swolfs has documented the daily life of normal people around the world with the idea to bring across a positive image of the world. Although we are regularly fed with negative images of other countries, the reality is actually far from this, as you will see throughout the exhibition.

The exhibition Streets Of The World is located at the Hembrugterrein, an industrial area of Zaandam, just north of Amsterdam and will be on again as from mid April. 

LaChappelle – Good News For Modern Man

21 April 2018 – 28 October 2018

Groninger Museum, Groningen

Sculpture garden Castle Het Nijenhuis

until 31 December 2018

Museum De Fundatie, Location Castle Het Nijenhuis 

Sculpture Garden DeFundatie Castle Het Nijenhuis. Must-See Exhibitions In The Netherlands 2018

Sculpture Garden, De Fundatie – copyright De Fundatie

One of the museums which we still haven’t visited until this date, is Museum De Fundatie in Zwolle. The museum, which has a collection with works from the Middle Ages to the present day, consists of two locations, Castle Het Nijenhuis in Heino and the museum De Fundatie in Zwolle.

The reason that we plan to visit this museum before the end of the year is that the sculpture garden is currently indicated to be open until the end of 2018. Thus, we better visit it before it closes! With some 90 sculptures from collections of Museum De Fundatie, Museum Beelden aan Zee and the Province of Overijssel at 4,.5 hectare of garden, lawns and woodland the sculpture park of Castle Het Nijenhuis is one of the largest sculpture gardens in The Netherlands.

World Press Photo Festival

13 and 14 April 2018

Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam

Studio Drift – Coded Nature

25 April – 26 August 2018

Stedelijk, Amsterdam

Museum of Humanity

5 May 2018 – 9 June 2018

Artzaanstad, Zaandam

Noorderlicht Photofestival

23 May 2018 – 23 September 2018

Museum Belvédère , Heerenveen

Into Nature – Art Expedition

1 July – 16 September 2018

Frederiksoord – Holtingerveld

Street Art Museum

Opening Summer 2018 (postponed til 2019)

NDSM Wharf, Amsterdam

In the summer of 2018 a new street art museum will open at the NDSM Wharf in Amsterdam. With a surface of 7,000 square meters it will likely be one of the largest street art museums in the world. The actual location, a former welding hangar with walls as high as 24 meters , is an ideal spot for a museum of this kind. Work on the museum has already started in 2015. Thus, parts of it have been visible for the public already for a while. We have already seen the beautiful Anne Frank painting by Eduardo Kobra and the recently revealed mural of the former mayor of Amsterdam, Van der Laan, for example. What else we can see is still a bit of a guess. Count on some of the best street artists taking part in this event.

Note: the opening of this museum has been postponed until 2019 due to the renovation of the building taking more time than anticipated.

Pure Rubens

8 September 2018 – 13 January 2019

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Pow-Wow Festival

15 – 16 September 2018

Vierhavensstraat 56, Rotterdam

Giacometti-Chadwick-Facing Fear

22 September 2018 – 6 January 2019

Museum De Fundatie, Zwolle

‘Action <-> Reaction. 100 Years of Kinetic Art’

22 September 2018 – 20 January 2019

Kunsthal, Rotterdam

Gauguin & Laval on Martinique

5 October 2018 – 13 January 2019

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam


3 November 2018 – 10 March 2019

Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar

Museum Night Amsterdam

3 November 2018

Different institutions throughout Amsterdam

Amsterdam Light Festival 

29 November 2018 – 20 January 2019

Throughout Amsterdam


8 December 2018 – 5 May 2019

Groninger Museum, Groningen

Are there any exhibitions in The Netherlands which we have not added and you think are worth visiting too? Leave a comment below or send us an email at wkndr at artweekenders dot com.


About The Author: Art Weekenders

Art Weekenders is a blog about art, culture and travel in The Netherlands and Europe by Pal and Lydian, a wanderlust couple with a Swedish/Hungarian/Dutch background living in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Our goal with this blog is to inspire people to fill their weekends away with fun and fulfilling cultural activities.