November 27, 2013

Dutch art to be protected and kept in the country

Filed under: Art by Orangemaster @ 11:51 am

Artworks that are considered to be of national importance will be given protected status in an effort to stop galleries from selling them to foreign or private buyers, according to rules drawn up by the Netherlands Museums Association. Dutch museums will also be given preferred buyer status for works they want to sell, and if a museum wants to sell something, they will have to wait two months to see if another domestic buyer comes forward first before selling to a party from outside the country.

Museum Gouda was criticised for selling The Schoolboys by Marlene Dumas, at Christie’s in London back in 2011 without first offering it to other Dutch museums, which highly displeased the Netherlands’ best selling contemporary artist.

Dutch museums, often at the centre of controversy, apparently own some 139 contentious artworks as well.

(Link:; illustration: the Van Gogh that was ‘discovered’ in 2011)

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May 13, 2013

Bike path under Rijksmuseum Amsterdam to open tomorrow

Filed under: Bicycles by Branko Collin @ 9:33 am

On a dreary Saturday I snapped this picture of the entrance to the recently opened Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

This is also a photo of the only bike path in the world that bicycles are not (yet) allowed on, which is why there are barriers and security guards.

When in 2003 renovations started the architects came up with a plan to move the museum entrance from the side to the tunnel underneath the museum. This would bring museum visitors in closer proximity to the cyclists who fully expected to still be able to use their age old bike path. The footpath (not shown here) is several meters wide, but as anybody who lives in Amsterdam knows, tourists will not look where they walk.

Museum director Wim Pijbes has traditionally been against the bike path, Eindhovens Dagblad reports, and probably would shed no tears if people stopped noticing that there was one.

Although the Netherlands does have a concept of right of way (recht van overpad), people here make much less of deal about it than in, say, the United Kingdom where the Rambler’s Association actively works to keep public paths over private property open. The Rijksmuseum is, as the name implies, publicly owned.

The new Rijksmuseum opened on 13 April of this year. The bike path will be opened tomorrow evening, although the city reserves the right to close it ‘at busy times’ until it has had the time to put in extra security measures.

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December 23, 2012

Apple museum opens its doors in Friesland

Filed under: Dutch first,History,IT,Technology by Branko Collin @ 12:33 pm

A museum dedicated to the computers of US manufacturer Apple has opened its doors in the town of Ureterp, just East of Drachten in Friesland.

The Apple Museum Nederland is run by volunteers and focuses on keeping Apple computers up and running so that visitors can experience first hand how these machines used to work. The museum is housed at the top floor of a Mac repair shop and is not affiliated with Apple.

On 22 December the museum opened its doors for the first time and it will also be open on 29 December and 5 January. The official opening will be on 16 March, Bright reports.

Macfreak says this is the third Apple museum in the world. The name Ureterp stems from Urathorp and means ‘Upper Village’, as in upstream from the river Boorne.

(Photo: Google Street View)

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October 6, 2012

Artist Tinkebell reports snails stolen by activist reporter

Filed under: Animals,Architecture by Branko Collin @ 3:57 pm

Controversial artist Tinkebell has announced she will report a theft with the police after a TV Rijnmond reporter took two snails from an exhibit with him. TV Rijnmond handed over the snails to Dierenbescherming (‘Animal Protection’, an association with 200,000 members and 31 local chapters) for further study.

Tinkebell is currently exhibiting some 1,000 live snails with beads glued to them as part of a larger exhibition at the Villa Zebra children’s museum called Ah, wat lief! (‘So sweet’). The exhibition is supposed to explore and challenge how children look at animals—which ones do they find cute, and which ones do they find horrid.

Earlier Tinkebell exhibits centered around exposing the hypocrisy of animal lovers by doing the exact same thing they do to animals, but within a completely different context. In one instance she made a leather purse, with the leather from her own cat. She also let hamsters run around a showroom while they were imprisoned in tiny plastic balls she had purchased at a pet store, something for which she was prosecuted but ultimately acquited.

In an article on left-wing blog Tinkebell explains how she got the idea of adorning snails with beads in the first place:

I have been painting all the snails I find in my own garden for years. [One day I spotted my neighbour salting his garden to kill snails and] I began to wonder where the snails came from, where they were going and how old they would get. In order to answer my own questions as well as try to change my neighbour’s mind, I started to paint numbers on the snails in my garden. There were many of them…

A year later and much to my surprise I saw that the snails were still moving through my garden, numbers and all. Wow! So then I numbered the unmarked copies in a different colour.

Another year passed and now three generations of painted snails were moving among my plants, and the year after I started with a new ‘tactic’, that of ‘beautifying’. I added glitter, flowers and little paintings. Each year my snails looked different, and that is how I kept track of different generations.

(Photo by Helen Cook, some rights reserved)

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August 8, 2011

National history of science museum Boerhaave threatened with closure

Filed under: History,Science by Branko Collin @ 2:15 pm

Nature writes:

A policy backflip by the Dutch government means that the Netherlands’ most important science history museum has to find €700,000 (US$1 million) by the end of the year – or close its doors.

The Museum Boerhaave in Leiden houses one of Europe’s finest collections of medical and scientific instruments, dating back to the 16th century. The museum, and its education programme, will be closed on 1 January 2013 unless it can comply with a quirk in a recent federal ruling that the museum’s director, Dirk van Delft, describes as arbitrary and unfair.

Fourteen other museums have registered with the Meldpunt Bezuinigingen (Cutbacks Hotline) of the Dutch Museum Association as being in trouble, Volkskrant reported last Thursday.

(Photo of Papier-mâché model of a Sea Bass by Museum Boerhaave, Leiden, some rights reserved)

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August 7, 2010

Get your Dutch history from a Dutch vending machine

Filed under: Design,History by Branko Collin @ 2:23 pm

The Amsterdam Historical Museum and Mediamatic have teamed up to do something different. Rather than have you look at historical objects from a safe distance, they will let you buy them for 1 or 2 euro each.

The organisers have set up a vending machine for this purpose just inside the museum’s front entrance (you don’t have to pay an entrance fee). Blogger Kim Phu has already spotted the first people who merely swung by to shop. Apparently, the tea towels are a steal at two euro a piece.

Some of the objects on display / for sale:

  • Delftware kissing boys
  • Cheese slicers
  • Music cassettes
  • Miniature Amsterdammertjes
  • Nuclear missile protest badges
  • Etc.

The exhibit lasts until August 29, and is accompanied by a really nice website where the background of every object is explained in a video. There are 40 different objects for sale.

See also:

(Photo of an ‘automatiek’ by Fabio Bruna, some rights reserved)

Update 16:57: Since I had to be in the neighbourhood today I popped around and shot a couple of photos:


March 22, 2010

Remarkable weapons on display in Delft

Filed under: Gadgets,Weird by Branko Collin @ 8:29 am


The Dutch Army Museum is exhibiting 100 of its most remarkable weapons. Among them is this brass knuckles slash revolver slash dagger (slash!).

Apart from this perfect way to shoot yourself in the chest while trying to knock somebody out, hidden weapons such as ballpoint pens, walking sticks and belt buckles are also on display. Moreover, personal arms of Prince Bernhard, General Snijders and a gun that was used by the 1975 Malukan train hijackers will be shown.

The exhibition will run from March 18 to October 31.

(Source image: Link: RTL Nieuws.)

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June 20, 2009

World War I museum opens in Alkmaar

Filed under: General,History by Branko Collin @ 10:25 am

A museum consisting largely of dioramas of the Great War will open at 2 pm today in the Kruithuis (old munitions house) in Alkmaar, Noord Holland. Named Le Poilu after the nickname unshaven French soldiers acquired in the war, the museum mainly looks at the Battle of Verdun, where 300,000 soldiers died and many more were wounded. The museum was founded by Peter Wories from nearby Heiloo, who has been fascinated by WWI ever since he found out that his grandmother was originally from Antwerp, but fled the city to the Netherlands when the Germans attacked in 1914.

The originally medieval museum building is attached to the old high school in which in 1914 German soldiers were interned. The Netherlands remained neutral during the war, or rather, were allowed to remain neutral, but being so close to the action the country did suffer from the fallout. It harboured many Belgian refugees, and because supply lines across the North Sea had become unsafe, suffered from food scarcity.

Museum website, via RTV-NH (radio). Photo of poilu and sculptor Jean Boucher by an unknown photographer.

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May 28, 2009

Museums open doors to photo contest for Wikipedia

Filed under: Photography by Branko Collin @ 10:58 am

De Waag Society and a bunch of other friends of digital culture have organized a photo competition called Wiki Loves Art (Dutch), which will take place during the entire month of June in which museums will open their doors to amateur photographers. The photos which must accompanied by a Creative Commons by-sa license before you can enter them will be used as illustrations for Wikipedia. A great initiative!

Apparently museums have historically frowned upon people taking photos of their prized possessions—officially because of all kinds of nonsensical reasons such as that flash might scare the objects, but the unofficial reason is that photos of their art on of mugs and posters is a significant source of income, on which the museums would like to maintain a monopoly. But now, some of them have decided to open up their doors to amateur photographers, so that Wikipedia, which traditionally has been a victim of the no photo policy, can start to illustrate its articles.

Prizes, apart from the warm glowing feeling you get when helping Wikipedia, include 500 euro to be spent on photographic equipment. Some of the participating museums include the Van Gogh in Amsterdam, the Van Abbe in Eindhoven, the Gemeentemuseum in Den Haag (lots of yummy Mondriaan), the Naturalis in Leiden, NAI in Rotterdam, the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Delft, and the list goes on. Earlier similar contests were held in the US and the UK.

(Link: (Dutch). Photo of the Waag building in Amsterdam by Michiel Verbeek, some rights reserved.)

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January 17, 2008

Golden age collections showcased in Wonder Stage of Nature

Filed under: Art,History by Branko Collin @ 9:00 am

No Dutch Golden Age (17th century) collection of obscure and exotic trinkets and specimens appears to have survived, as heirs tended to sell off these collections to foreign collectors. However, we still have books that illustrate them at least. As Bibliodyssey writes:

The collection obsession of Early Modern Europe, that saw people stocking cabinets of curiosities […] with obscure and exotic trinkets and specimens from the worlds of ‘artificialia’ and ‘naturalia’, emerged in Holland under a local profile of influences.

Unlike most of their European counterparts, the Dutch republic lacked both a royal court or any sizeable aristocracy, so collecting was a hobby cultivated by regular citizens. […]

[There were numerous collections] built up by Dutch carpenters, merchants, tradesmen and artisans. The enthusiasm for collecting, in Holland at least, could be seen at all levels of society, but with the most notable collections owned by burghers and regents, in contrast to the kings, nobles and prelates of other European countries. And there is the rub. It was customary for families to sell off these ‘rariteitenkabinets’ and divide the spoils following the death of the collector. Accordingly, most Dutch collections of significance left the country, purchased by foreign nobility and no intact collections have survived; adding an interesting element of documentary detective work to scholarly assessments.

But at least a documentation of these collections has survived. The wonderful Bibliodyssey for instance liberally quotes a picture book by Levinus Vincent (1658-1727) called “Wondertooneel der Nature” (Wonder Stage of Nature).

Via BoingBoing.

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