Tiny Greenbox Museum of Arabic art is big on Facebook


“The Kröller-Müller Museum has 205 [Facebook] fans”, Bright writes, “Museum De Pont has 2,537 fans, Rijksmuseum [Amsterdam] has 6,663 fans, Stedelijk Museum has 17,867 fans, and the Van Gogh Museum has 26,191 fans”

“The Greenbox Museum of Contemporary Art of Saudi Arabia is only open 12 hours a week and consists of single room. Yet it has 170,000 Facebook fans.”

According to the tech mag, that makes it the largest Dutch museum on Facebook. As a reason for its popularity, founder and curator Aarnout Helb told weblog Frankwatching that there are no modern art museums in Saudi Arabia itself. “Saudi Arabia is the historical and cultural heart of the Islam. Our fans come from the countries that lie between Tanger in Morocco and Port Darwin in Australia. We have 27,637 fans from India, 26,991 from Indonesia, 22,951 from Egypt [and so on].”

Helb started the museum on the Korte Leidsedwarsstraat in Amsterdam out of curiosity and to upgrade his multi-cultural roots. “There used to be a professor Snouck Hurgronje who had visited Mekka, and who advised the government that you could take the sting out of the European relationship with the Muslims, not with soldiers and guns, but with a dialogue in the city that draws so many Muslims each year. I had read his advice once, and I had also noticed that the 9-11 attackers weren’t from Afghanistan but from Saudi Arabia. They must have had some reason [to attack the USA], and sending a battalion of soldiers to the wrong country is not going to help you find out what that reason was.”

(Snouck Hurgronje lived from 1857 – 1936. Back then the Netherlands were a largely Islamic kingdom, although the Christians were the ones in power.)

(Photo: Greenbox Museum)

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