Tag Archives: Gemeentemuseum

DUTCH STREET ART – Raamstraat, Den Haag.

Raamstraat is a shortcut for most people.

We really came to The Hague (‘Den Haag’ to the Dutch) to see the Vermeers, but there was an unexpected bonus. Continue reading


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AMSTERDAM’S GREAT ART – for a limited time only…

It’s a particularly brilliant time for art exhibitions in Dutch galleries at the moment. Mevrouw T and I are fans of art – maybe we don’t know as much about it as we should, but we know what we like, and we very much like what we are seeing right now.

Of course in Amsterdam there are always the Rembrandts and Vermeers in the Rijksmuseum. It is being renovated at the moment, with work set to drag on till at least 2013, but I regard that as a plus. Like the Louvre in Paris, the Rijksmuseum is simply too big to take in at a sitting (or rather, a wandering) so for first time visitors a tour of the highlights which are on display may well be a better option.

The Van Gogh Museum is brimming with Van Goghs any time of year, and people queue to get in to see them. The Van Gogh has a new Gaugin exhibition at the moment. http://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/vgm/index.jsp

On the Amstel canal in the newly-opened (2009) Hermitage Museum there are some of the best works of Matisse (notably his very famous ‘Dance’) as well as Picasso, Kandinsky, Malevich and others. If the Hermitage can keep presenting work as good as this, it is a worthy rival to the big two above.

It’s only on until May 16, but we highly recommend the exhibition in the Jewish Historic Museum Gedurfte Verzamelen or “Daring Patronage”.  This was an unexpected treat. The collections of three wonderful Jewish art patrons from the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries are on show. The highlights are three superb Chagalls, including his green-faced violinist, and a selection of Piet Mondriaan’s paintings, proving he could do more than just rule a few black lines and colour in the boxes. http://www.jhm.nl/current/exhibitions/daring-patronage

The Rembrandthuis, the house where Rembrandt lived, has an exhibition of early photography: http://www.rembrandthuis.nl/cms_pages/index_sub.php?url=actueel_en.php&path=1,0,0&nav_lang=en

Meanwhile down in Den Haag (the Hague), a 40 minute train ride away, the Gemeentemuseum has a superb Kandinsky retrospective.

Tip: For anybody planning to visit four or more museums in Holland, a museumkaart (museum card) is excellent value. It is valid for most museums in the country, good for a year, and can be bought at most major museums. We are wearing out our museum cards by having them swiped so often. Cost: EUR35 plus EUR4.95 ”handling costs”. Why don’t they just say they cost EUR40? Since individual museum entry is EUR7.50 to EUR12.50, that’s still a very good deal.


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No, that's not us; other people spotted this cubicle first!

Mevrouw T and I love the “Gemeentemuseum” (Municipal museum) in den Haag not so much for its contents as for its form. It happens to have an outstanding Kandinsky exhibition at the moment, together with a couple of interesting quirky ones on Paris haute couture and, believe it or not, Tupperware. Who would have thought that such humble plastic would one day become valued as art?

But the building itself will pull us back there time after time, regardless of what’s inside it. Probably the most revered Dutch architect ever is Hendrik Petrus Berlage (1856-1934). He designed the street plan of old Amsterdam South, and most famously Amsterdam’s ‘Beurs’, the stock exchange building near Dam Square.

Courtyard, Gemeentemuseum, den Haag

Sadly, he died before the work he regarded as his masterpiece, the Gemeentemuseum (Municipal Museum), was completed in The Hague in 1935. It’s a triumph of simple clean straight lines, influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, with intricate patterned brickwork on the exterior, and understated coloured tiling inside. Filtered natural light floods the exhibition areas from above.

There’s a brilliant exhibition in there at the moment, Kandinsky and der Blaue Reiter, a great collection from the Russian artist’s most colourful period, when he and a group of German artists including Franz Marc, worked in Munich just before the outbreak of WWI.

Wassily Kandinsky: Orientals

Okay, I admit it, I took a couple of surreptitious snaps when the attendants weren’t looking. But I didn’t use a flash – Kandinsky will never know I was there, and the bad colour balance should ensure nobody but me will ever want to send this picture around cyberspace.

Trip notes: Den Haag is a forty minute train ride from Amsterdam. Entry to the Kandinsky en der Blaue Reiter exhibition is EUR12.50.

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