Arts Holland Magazine, issue 2, 2013

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Don’t be fooled by age. You’re only as old as you feel. Visitors to Amsterdam who go to a performance at the 125-year-old Concert­gebouw, or the equally old Theater Carré, wander around in the majestic newly renovated Rijksmuseum and then walk along the 400-­year-old canals, see the history but feel the energy of a contemporary city that is not aging. What a lot there is to celebrate! Not just in the capital, but also in Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. Long-awaited openings of beloved museums, exciting events centred Arts Holland on memorable historic benchmarks, wonderful Magazine offers exhibitions, performances, manifestations and an insight into festivals; anyone still undecided about travelling the Dutch art to Holland will find reason aplenty in this second scene, helping you edition of Arts Holland Magazine. find your way to exciting cultural In addition to all the festivities, in many places hotspots. it’s extra­ordinary business as usual. So when you come, don’t forget to check out the schedules of all the inspiring places where wonderful things are happening all the time on Whether you want to walk the familiar paths or prefer to make your own discoveries, whether you enjoy the buzzing anticipation in the long queues for the institutes whose top collections are once again on view in their full glory or would rather explore the rawer edges­­and more exclusive places, there’s never been a better time to explore Holland’s finest. njoy Issue 2 of Arts Holland Magazine, E The editorial team, Yvette Gieles, Kim Nanne, Taco de Neef & Femke van Woerden-Tausk Some articles in this magazine are enhanced with Layar. Download the Layar app for Android or iOS.




6 New Dutch Masters

11 Five Galleries Five Artists

This issue's cover has been shot by photographer Krista van der Niet. Inspired by the Dutch Master Painters she created a contemporary reinterpretation of the famous 17th century still lifes.

A striking figure in the Dutch creative sector is Erik Kessels: publicity agent, artist, entrepreneur, publisher and passionate collector of photography. What talented people in Holland is he following? The New Dutch Masters.

Five gallerists in the cities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht talk about their personal motives. What criteria do they use in selecting their artists? How do the galleries function in the international arena?

17 New Museum Spaces

22 Dance, Dance, Dance

30 Take Me Home

36 One Step Ahead

In a time of economic crisis, museums have to devise new ways to hold the public’s attention. A promising new trend in museums is to devote spaces to reinstalling elements of their collections, often with the help of local artists and designers.

Anyone who likes dance has to keep on their toes in Holland to take it all in. The country boasts a large number of companies that do very well both nationally and internationally.

Design Galerie VIVID in Rotterdam has made a selection of its favourite Dutch Design pieces, for you to take home.

What research and innovation are to a leading international conglomerate like Philips is what the artistic playgrounds Mediamatic and Waag Society are for society and culture.


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A 61 km / 55 min. A 61 km / 55 min.

42 Urban Space Is The Place

47 The Tower That Vanished

B 45 km / 46 min. B 45 km / 46 min. 52 Celebrations

Urban space is a catalyst for cultural innovation. Where people come together things happen. Whether it is collaboration, new thoughts or revolution, the urban space has a key role in developing the potential of local movements and individuals as well.

Especially for Arts Holland Magazine, Dutch writer Murat Isik wrote a brand new short story.

When it comes 1to culture, km = 0.6214 mi 2013 is an extraordinary year for Holland with an abundance of jubilee anniversaries that run the gamut from canals to concert halls, operas to orchestras, Dutch-Russian relations to Richard Wagner, and peace treaties to Peter the Great.

Holland is host to many inter­ national professionals who live and work here. An interview with Nigel Bagley, Director of industry affairs at Unilever, about his love for Dutch culture.

65 tune merchants

70 Behind The Scenes: Fashion

76 Orange In Transit

78 Facts & Figures

The Dutch landscape may be famously flat and the major part of it below sea level, but the same can’t be said of the country’s diverse and sometimes extraordinary musical topography. Dutch music platform Subbacultcha! reviews four major developments.

Amsterdam is steadily building its international reputation as a fashion destination by holding the biannual Amsterdam Fashion Week. Every January and July, fashion’s finest unite. Photographer Jan Willem Kaldenbach shot behind the scenes.

Dutch people are used to operating across borders. With so many foreign artists in this little country and other gatekeepers who are related to the Dutch art world, the whole world comes within reach just the same.

A selection of titbits from many researches into arts and travel in Holland.

C 60 km / 48 min. C 60 km / 48 min. D 24 km / 26 min. D 24 km / 26 min. E 66 km / 51 min. E 66 km / 51 min. F 78 km / 58 min. F 78 km / 58 min.

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60 THis is my home MAASTRICHT

Laurence Aëgerter the apparatus SK-A-1350801251456 (Hals)

Art history is always present in the work of Aëgerter, but never without a modern perspective. Aëgerter has made an extensive series of photographs during museum visiting hours. Visitors obstruct the view while simultaneously become part of the work. These coincidental ‘sandwiches’ make old work new. p 6

View more with


new dutch masters

NEW DUTCH MASTERS The creative industry is an important motor within many Western economies. Creativity makes all the difference in today’s economy. Innovation, focus and determination give an edge and bring prestige and sales.

A striking figure in the Dutch creative sector is Erik Kessels: publicity agent, artist, entre­ preneur, publisher and passionate collector of photography. He is an outstanding ex­ ample of someone who does things just that little­bit differently, and successfully. Arts Holland Magazine set out to follow the gaze of an expert enthusiast. What talented people in Holland is Erik Kessels watching? Who are the chance-takers making the dif­ ference inside and outside the creative sec­ tor? These are the New Dutch Masters, as seen by Erik Kessels.

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In today’s Dutch art environment you can discern a generation of artists who work and play with classical elements and turn them into new contemporary imagery. Without losing their respect for tradition, they make new monumental works with a certain ironic or humorous twist.

– Erik Kessels is Creative ­ irector of communications agency D KesselsKramer in Amsterdam and works for national and international­ clients. Erik Kessels is an artist, photography collector, editor, writer and curator. In 2010 he was awarded the Amsterdam Prize of the Arts and was named the most influential Dutch creative professional for 2012. text


new dutch masters

Hans van der Meer Sheep in the rain, Overleek

With a fascination for typical Dutch sceneries, Hans van der Meer is always on the lookout for awkward elements in conventional landscapes. He worked for many years photographing the clumsiness to be seen on Dutch amateur soccer fields. His images are classical, with a touch of humour. Here van der Meer observed a lonely sheep in the rain taking a leak. A strange moment in this classic tableau.

Annegien van Doorn Ringneck parakeet

With a very good eye for the ordinary, Annegien van Doorn uses her camera to transform the familiar into something extraordinary. She has the ability to transform small events into the monumental. Van Doorn has an absolute talent for producing short films, performances and photography, making her an exponent from the generation of Dutch artists that crosses over between a multitude of disciplines. The photograph of the bird is part of van Doorn’s latest project called Don’t look at me, look at my teapot!

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new dutch masters

Scarlett Hooft Graafland Red Windmill

Scarlett Hooft Graafland installed 5,600 meters of red rope on this ­traditional windmill in Gorinchem. For one day, seven people including the millers from the working windmill wound the rope till it became a full square. Hooft Graafland has a passion to visit rural areas all over the world and tempora­ rily manipulate the landscape with local textiles. By adding this red square to the wings of the windmill, Hooft Graafland transformed a typical Dutch landscape.

Helmut Smits Plant Lamps

The Rotterdam-based artist Helmut Smits is one of the few designers who has no rules when it comes to making work. His work varies from public sculptures to product designs and films. Smits’ playful approach often deals with metaphor by combining unrelated objects via association. He consistently manages to keep the elements recognisable within the designs. In his work Plant Lamps, Smits simply unites two independent objects found in every home making the new object seem obvious and everyday. His work usually prompts viewers to look more than once. photo – lotte stekelenburg

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new dutch masters

Harmen de Hoop Public sculpture, Amsterdam

Harmen de Hoop is a true master in sitespecific art. For many years he invades and disrupts daily surroundings and routines. His work ranges from painting basketball court lines on a busy street intersection to putting plates of dog food in the underground. De Hoop makes people look differently at things that have become normal for them. In Public Sculpture, de Hoop’s work immediately becomes part of the neighbourhood and lives on the podium as if it has been there for years and not minutes.

More to Explore Unseen is an annual international photo­ graphy fair in Amsterdam, that provides new photo­graphy the platform it deserves.

Visit for interesting art books and magazines Photography venues and events on

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five galleries five artists

Home Is Where the Art Is - Nina Folkersma is an independent curator, critic and consultant in the field of contemporary art. Currently, she is the chair of the board of ArtTable The Netherlands and a member of the art advisory committee of the City of Amsterdam for the new North South subway line. text

For a small country with less of a longstanding tradition of collecting contemporary art, the Dutch galleries don’t do so badly. The gallery world in the urban conglomeration of western Holland is highly dynamic and self-aware – and strikingly international.

They function as an intermediary between artists and collectors, curators, art institutions and the public. In the process, a gallerist assumes various roles: as the artist’s confidant, as a mediator for the public, as an international entrepreneur, or as a fundraiser and producer of new work.

Arts Holland Magazine visited five galleries in the

The degree of importance that the five gallery own­ ers place on these separate activities is reflected in their policies and gives each gallery a distinct identity. One may function as a springboard for young international talent, while another provides an international platform for established Dutch tal­ ent. Another focuses on an informed public of art connoisseurs, and yet another aims at a large, mixed public. But no matter how disparate, all of the gallerists interviewed have an irrepressible en­ thusiasm for their profession in common.

cities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht and asked the gallerists about their person­ al motivations. What criteria do they use in select­ ing their artists? How do they relate to ideals about content and to commercial imperatives? How do the galleries function in the international arena and which interests and contacts are involved? What are their plans for the future? These five inspiring talks show that a gallery is like a spider at the centre of the web of the art world. p 11


five galleries five artists

annet gelink gallery Ed van der Elsken was a talented photographer and filmmaker who for over forty years captured his encounters with people in photographs, photographic books and films. Traipsing through metropolitan Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Amsterdam or travelling through Africa and Japan, he liked to aim his camera at individuals who were striking and full of character. He made his debut in 1956 with his

book of photographs Love on the Left Bank, which instantly made him internationally famous. After that came some twenty photobooks. He made several television films, often on subjects related to his own life. Belgium (Twins), 1968, copyright Ed van der Elsken / Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam

Galerie Gabriel Rolt Marijn Akkermans often makes large drawings in pencil, ink and gouache. On the white surface of the paper, remarkable scenes full of dramatic and narrative suggestion unfold. Akkermans combines a spontaneous drawing movement with extremely detailed and concentrated brushwork. On closer inspection the many gradations of gray turn out to be built up of finely drawn layers of ink. In his most recent series of erotic drawings the oppressive atmosphere of his earlier work seems to have made way for a lighter, softer view of the world. The use of aquarelle gives the drawings a transparency that emphasizes their sensitive quality. Dial M for Mapplethorpe, 2012, watercolor on paper. photo – peter tijhuis

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five galleries five artists

flatland gallery Utrecht, Amsterdam, Paris

Martin Rogge, founder and owner of Flatland Gallery, has just come back from Paris Photo, the most important photography fair in Europe. ‘Especially for the fair, we printed a bulletin on The Sochi Project by Rob Hornstra, a documentary photographer who has been with our gallery since 2007. Then we covered all the walls of our stand with those bulletins. At such a fair, which is extraordinarily expensive and primarily focused on beautifully framed prints, that’s rather daring. ‘Rob Hornstra fits in very well with our gallery because he knows how to finance and publicize his projects in an exceptional way. As do Erwin Olaf, Ruud van Empel and Carolein Smit – all of them artists who have their own specialty and have already built up an entire oeuvre. The artists we take chances on do have to be reasonably mature, with work that has more or less crystallized. If they don’t yet have an oeuvre and they’re suddenly successful, there’s very soon nothing left. What I like best is helping artists with the next step, by showing their work at international fairs. And that proves very successful, too. ‘So I don’t focus on Holland at all. Everything is much bigger and more interesting abroad. Besides the gallery in Utrecht, where I started out in 1983, and the recently opened branch in Amsterdam, I’ve been working out of Paris for six years now. I have three hundred square metres there in the gallery of Magda Danysz, a relatively young gallery with which I also do projects in Shanghai. In addition to that, I attend six or seven international fairs, such as SCOPE Basel, Madrid Photo, Photo London and Art Brussels. But I don’t have the ambition of becoming a Gagosian with an establishment in every metropolis. My plans for the future are mainly focused on supervising the exhibitions of our artists around the world and on the gallery programme. For now, I have a programme until the end of 2015. In the meantime, I will be thinking up new things.’

My ambition is supervising the exhibitions of our artists around the world.

wilfried lentz Rotterdam

‘A gallery is a kind of self portrait. The work of each artist reflects some aspect of my personal interests and background, as does the work of Wendelien van Oldenborgh. Her video installations are always about people who act as individuals and initiate changes. Architecture is often important to her work, as a mirror that shows how people move and live together.’ So says Wilfried Lentz, an engineer, former director of SKOR and since 2008 a gallery owner in Rotterdam. ‘In general, you could say that all of the artists affiliated with the gallery have an interest in the world around us, a fascination for socio-political changes. A certain substantiality is also important for me; I’d rather have a large and complicated work than all sorts of small separate pieces. p 13

‘My gallery is not in a very easily accessible place. And my Dutch public is indeed relatively limited; it consists of a small circle of professionals. I mainly sell abroad, to large museum collections in the United States and a bit in Europe, but practically nothing in Holland. I follow my artists around a lot and often sell their work where it is presented, in museums, at fairs, at biennials. In fact, my shop is everywhere; sometimes I simply have it tucked under my arm, in The gallery in Rotterdam is my iPad. important to ‘Yet the physical place in me as a place Rotterdam is very important, as somewhere to experiment and to experiment and produce produce things. I always help my things. artists when it comes to financing new productions. So the gallery is where the final production takes place; it’s the back office. It is very important for me to have produced the work, so that I can talk about it in a meaningful way and it’s not a totally virtual world that you’re starting from. ‘How do I envision the gallery’s future? I only started four years ago, but my programme is already pretty good, even though I say so myself. My artists need to become a bit better known and there should also be a few more of them. I now represent eleven artists, including Hito Steyerl, Matts Leiderstam, James Beckett and Rosella Biscotti, but I would like to have fourteen or fifteen artists eventually. Not too many; I want to stay small and be able to keep giving them personal attention, which is much more fun.’

Annet Gelink Gallery Amsterdam

‘When we started out twelve years ago, we were primarily a gallery for young artists, but some of them, like David Malkovic, Yael Bartana and Ryan Gander have already become quite renowned artists now in midcareer, and their prices have risen accordingly.’ Annet Our Gelink, founder and director of artists are her own gallery in the heart of developing Amsterdam says that the tricky and as a bit now is to keep these artists result we are with the gallery. growing too. ‘David, Yael and Ryan have all been acquiring large galleries abroad, some of which have twenty or thirty people on the payroll. We might be the biggest gallery in Holland, but of course that doesn’t count for anything internationally. ‘Holland has only a limited number of collectors who are prepared to spend big sums of money on art, so pretty soon we might become too expensive for the Dutch market. In order for us not to be alienated from our Dutch public, it’s important to


five galleries five artists

West Lotte Geeven uses extremely diverse materials and media – drawings, objects, installations, photography – with which she reacts to the world around her or to a specific context. She observes every aspect of her surroundings, leaving out elements that catch the eye and then focusing on seemingly unimportant details. Geeven calls herself a storyteller. She starts out from the actual reality of the surrounding world

Wilfried Lentz Wendelien van Oldenborgh addresses the question of how social issues that remain hidden or have been taken hostage by repetitive rhetoric can be introduced into the public discussion in another manner. In her recent work Supposing I Love You. And You Also Love Me (2011), she stages a dialogue between Tariq Ramadan, the discredited visiting professor and once integration advisor for the City of Rotterdam, and five young adults with multicultural backgrounds. Filmed in a sound studio inspired by De Stijl, the adolescents function as a chorus in a playful interchange with Ramadan’s ideas about diversity, fear, conflict and his own discontinued engagement with the City of Rotterdam. Supposing I Love You. And You Also Love Me, 2011

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but she also focuses on personal experience to search for hidden relations. She made the work Resonance (2012) especially for Huize Frankendael, an eighteenth-century country house in the Watergraafsmeer district of Amsterdam, within the scope of a project about the fading boundaries between city and nature. Resonance, 2012


five galleries five artists

More to Explore

Flatland Gallery Photographer Rob Hornstra and writer/filmmaker Arnold van Bruggen are conducting a five-year project on the dramatic changes in the area around the Russian city of Sochi, where the Winter Olympics will be held in 2014. Never before have the Games taken place in an area that contrasts more sharply with the glamour of the Olympics than Sochi. Hornstra and Van Bruggen are documenting the extreme makeover of this area with photographs, film, reportage and a website, under the title The Sochi Project.

Want to discover more Dutch art galleries?

The online gallery We Like Art offers affordable high-quality art. Living in Holland? Consider taking a course on collecting visual art at My First Art Collection.

Ljudmilla, Grozny, Russia, 2011 (part of the series Safety First)

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five galleries five artists

keep presenting younger artists. The Bakery, our project space in the basement, is important for that. But the new photography fair, UNSEEN, and the new Drawing Amsterdam fair were both very good for us; we were able to attract a new clientele.’ ‘Besides young artists, we represent and manage some of the photographs by Ed van der Elsken. Ed is actually a bit of an odd man out in the gallery, yet at the same time he is a reference point for the other artists. Recently we organized an exhibition for which we asked three artists – Rineke Dijkstra, Marlene Dumas and Marijke van Warmerdam – to make a selection from his work. That’s when you notice just how contemporary Ed’s work still is. His free approach to the medium of photography, the travelling, the personal aspect, the making of films and special photography books – all of these are things you see in the work of our other artists.’ ‘The artists are developing and as a result we are growing too. The foreign collectors and museums that we deal with now are of a different calibre to those of ten years ago. International fairs remain important for us, but we do limit them. At the last Frieze London we noticed that other galleries were feeling a certain amount of fair fatigue. Now we’re thinking about other ways of being at important biennials and fairs abroad, so we can initiate something there ourselves. That’s more the direction of the future, in any case.’

west The Hague

‘I’m attracted by obsession, the ability to think outside the box without worrying about how things ought to be or have to be. I see that in the work of Lotte Geeven, a young artist who makes objects and drawings, books, photographs and installations. She lets nothing get in her way and could provide an entire city with art.’ With this description of her preference in artists, gallery founder Marie-José Sondeijker simultaneously characterizes the identity of West: a place for contemporary art that is averse to existing models and lies somewhere between a gallery, artists’ initiative and presentation institute. ‘I started West five years ago because I am interested in how you can present art and what is best for each artist: one artist will have more to gain from a presentation at an international fair, while another will get more out of having a book published, or from an exhibition in the Grote Kerk, the big church in The Hague. I did the latter this past summer with a number of my artists and very many people came to it. I think the public is crucial. In Holland, art has lost contact with its public, and I must say I feel a missionary zeal about that. Which doesn’t mean that I programme ‘accessible’ exhibitions, by the way. I want to present top quality art to a large audience. ‘The international and the local are equally important for West. We regularly take part in fairs abroad, because we want to reach a big public and because the artist will also benefit from sales. Selling comes after everything else, it’s the last little step. West isn’t commercial, you see; all the money we earn goes right back into the association.

West presents top quality art to a large audience.

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‘I’m now putting a lot of time into thinking about the form of my programme. Last week I organized the first Club Null, a hybrid evening with a serious lecture followed by a full-tilt rock show and various presentations and discussions. That’s a nice break from the routine of making exhibitions. The best part was that it attracted such a mixed audience; there were artists, collectors, music lovers and local residents. Lots of galleries only focus on collectors, but someone who happens to live nearby can have just as great a passion for art as a collector with a top-notch collection.’

galerie gabriel rolt Amsterdam

‘Starting a gallery was a logical step for me. My father owned a gallery and my mother is an antiques dealer in Barcelona, so I have always been confronted with art.’ Gabriel Rolt, after first having worked in a small gallery in The Hague, started his own gallery in Amsterdam in 2006. ‘Around that time a lot of new galleries suddenly opened in Amsterdam: Martin van A gallery Zomeren, Diana Stigter, Juliette is closely Jongma, Upstream – a very connected ambitious movement, and very with the international. It was still in the gallerist, it’s period of the economic boom, always very but only just. Amsterdam was already having difficulties, with the personal. Stedelijk Museum and de Appel arts centre closed for renovation. Now it’s the other way around: monetarily it’s more complicated, but more international visitors are coming to the city again. ‘Photography and drawing are two mediums that I like a lot. Marijn Akkermans, an artist who makes figurative drawings, was one of my first artists. His work is not just about the figures in an image, it’s also about how the viewer looks at it, about the function of an image. Marijn often makes things quite difficult for himself; he imposes certain dogmas or limitations on himself in his work. But recently that seems to be changing. He’s just made a new series of erotic drawings, almost pornographic work, and you feel much more freedom in them. It’s still very early – I saw them yesterday for the first time! – but I think it’s very exciting.’ ‘I usually work with artists from my own generation, so they’ll mostly be in their mid-thirties. A gallery is closely connected with the gallerist, it’s always very personal. For me it’s very much about understanding the present, trying to capture the feeling of what’s going on now. You work with living artists, you go through a certain development together. The best part of all is designing an exhibition together, that’s what you do it for.’




new museum spaces

In a time of economic crisis, museums have to devise new ways to hold the public’s attention. Big blockbusters and state-ofthe-art experience centers have become too costly and often prove unsustainable. A promising new trend in museums is to devote spaces to re-installing elements of their collections, often with the help of local artists and designers. In this article, five inspiring examples.


– Valentijn Byvanck is a critic, curator, museum innovator, and television presenter. Formerly director of the Dutch National Historical Museum, he recently became director of Marres, Centre for Contemporary Culture in Maastricht. text


Gemeentemuseum Den Haag De Stijl installation

The Gemeentemuseum in The Hague recently opened a series of galleries entirely devoted to De Stijl. De Stijl sustains the most convincing Dutch claim to having spawned a twentieth century art movement of great international significance. The movement that existed from roughly 1917 to 1931 counted among its protagonists the artists Bart van der Leck and Piet Mondrian, the designer Gerrit Rietveld and the architect J.J.P. Oud. The artist Theo van Doesburg, chief editor of the magazine De Stijl, from which the movement derived its name, was its ardent promoter and ideologue. Protagonists of De Stijl shared the ambition to bring art and architecture back to its basics: abstraction in clear, geometrical lines and surfaces, and primary colors. Scholars debate whether De Stijl was a movement, a group or a myth. School children and the general public learn, at the very least, what it literally means: a style. The 750m2 installation at the Gemeentemuseum encourages visitors to decide for themselves.

Installation photo of the exhibition Mondrian & De Stijl. On the left Dessin B53 by Sonia Delaunay from 1934 and on the right spaces getting smaller and smaller at the heart of the the exhibition; designed by Krijn de Koning and Anne Holtrop. photo – gerrit schreurs

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new museum spaces

The new galleries mark the first semi-permanent exhibition of a rich body of works usually associated with the movement in Holland. Designed by the artist Krijn de Koning and the architect Anne Holtrop, the wonderful installation offers proof of both great similarities and differences between works as divergent as the world famous Victory Boogie Woogie (Mondrian), the iconic reclining chair (Rietveld), a rare Bruynzeel children’s room (Vilmos Huszar) and a model of an architectural master­ piece, the Weissenhof Estate (Oud). Throughout the varied presentations, visitors can hear the sounds of jazz and contemporary music, lightly but surely pervading the atmosphere, as if to underline the bustling urban environment that spawned the deep ambition to simultaneously visualize and design for a new world.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam Studio Wieki Somers Merry-Go-Round, coatrack, 2008

In 2008 Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen filled its new foyer space with artworks and contemporary design. Olaf Nicolai designed a soccer cage for the courtyard. Bertjan Pot made a shop with wall frames that simultaneously function as vitrines. Frank Bruggeman designed a large blue desk in the shape of a capital

B (for Boijmans) that serves as a ticketing and information desk. The entrance area further offers an espresso bar, designed by Simon Heijdens, educational spaces by Jurgen Bey and handout fluorescent jewels by designer Ted Noten. The eye-catcher in this newly configured space is the Merry-Go-Round coatrack by Studio Wieki Somers (Wieki Somers and Dylan van der Berg). Initially the museum invited Somers to take part in an exhibition but instead she ‘preferred to do something more permanent that visitors could actually use.’ In her wardrobe carousel visitors drape their coats on hangers that hoist up to the ceiling on red and white ropes and fasten and lock the ropes with a simple device. The result is a ceiling lined with colorful coats cheerfully decorating the museum foyer, much in the way that books decorate and give life to a bookcase. Somers’ Merry-Go-Round offers an artistic solution to an old problem: bored moody staff lurking behind temporary partitions. By combining this imaginative coat rack with the other designs in the open foyer, Museum Boijmans successfully transforms a functional space into a wonderful art gallery.

Merry-Go-Round, coatrack, Studio Wieki Somers, 2008. photo – elian somers

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new museum spaces

John Baldessari, Video Works 1970-1977, Van Abbemuseum, photo – peter cox

Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven John Baldessari Video Works 1970-1977

What to think of an artist who tries to teach a plant the alphabet, tunes two glasses of water, and walks in and out of a room full of students and then sends in a police officer to produce a witness sketch of himself. Comically absurd? Of course. Yet one also detects a deeper philosophical pattern when viewing 23 short films by the artist John Baldessari in the fascinating installation at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. Baldessari continually questions the relationships between word, image, and sound. In The Way We Do Art Now and Other Sacred Tales (1973), he describes an object in detail, while showing something entirely different. In I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art (1971), he can be seen handwriting the title sentence over and over, counteracting its meaning.

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The low-budget and coarsely edited films explore the boundaries of conceptualism, not the medium, yet the experiment and the idea count. In what is perhaps his most characteristic work, John Baldessari Sings Sol LeWitt (1972), the artist announces that the principles of conceptual art, formulated by his fellow artist Sol LeWitt, are too important to be hidden in the pages of art catalogues. He continues to sing them (quite poorly in fact) to the tunes of popular songs, including The Star Spangled Banner, in the hope, so he claims, that they might reach a larger audience. Baldessari is as serious as the project is far-fetched and idiotic, which confirms his position as conceptual art’s sage and jester.


new museum spaces

Centraal Museum, Utrecht Utrecht’s ship, ca. 1000

On 3 December 1930 workers in the city of Utrecht unearthed a mysterious shipwreck. Archeologists thought at first it was of Roman origin, but tree-ring research revealed that the wood used to build the ship came from trees felled somewhere around the year 1000. Measuring about eighteen-by-four meters, the skeletal structure is quite large, particularly when one considers that its basis is a single hollowed-out tree. In 1936 the museum had to breach its wall to install it. The medieval ship was a trader on the Rhine. At the end of the first millennium Utrecht was a flourishing port for the important riverine trade, transporting such goods as salt and furs upstream, and bringing wheat and wine down the river. For years museum visitors could view the ancient ship in a rather narrow dark space, heavy with the stench of the thick tar daubed on the ancient wood to forestall further deterioration. In 2012 media art collective Monobanda designed a multi-media installation to bring the ship to life again. Visitors entering the space trigger an installation that animates the wreck with loud but indeterminate sounds of heavy labor, the slap of shovels, water, and winds. Subtle lights dance

across the wooden ribs, alternately casting deep shadows, projecting shapes onto its surface and bathing the artifact in dark-blue or white hues. The combined light, smell and sound hypnotically transport viewers centuries back in time.

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam Dan Flavin Untitled (to Piet Mondrian through his preferred colors, red, yellow and blue), and Untitled 2 (to Piet Mondrian who lacked green), 1986

The newly renovated and expanded Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam boasts a rich collection of contemporary art treasures, including works by Lawrence Weiner, Barnett Newman and Marlene Dumas. Among the newly acquired pieces is a refined installation in two parts by Dan Flavin: Untitled (to Piet Mondrian through his preferred colors, red, yellow and blue), and Untitled 2 (to Piet Mondrian who lacked green). In 1986 the artist was invited to create this work specifically for the hallway at the top of the central stairs, a famous backdrop for happenings, performances and parties. Flavin’s reference to Piet Mondrian is in line with his earlier tributes to modernist predecessors,

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Lights on Wood, interactive projection by Monobanda on ancient Utrecht Ship in the Centraal Museum, Utrecht, 2012. photo – monobanda


Dan Flavin, Untitled (to Piet Mondrian through his preferred colors, red, yellow and blue) (1986), pink, yellow, blue, red, and daylight fluorescent light. 80 modular units, each comprised of 2 ft. (61 cm) vertical fixtures adjacent to 16 in. (40 cm) circular fixtures; and four sections, running along the top of each wall: two sections, 36 ft. (1097.3 cm) wide; two sections, 60 ft. (1828.8 cm) wide, CL no. 464 © 2013 Stephen Flavin/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; courtesy of David Zwirner, New York.

new museum spaces

including Vladimir Tatlin and Barnett Newmann. The installation hints at Mondrian’s fascination with primary colors, which he deemed more pure and less material than mixed colors. Yet, Flavin’s coloring can be better characterized as a soft glow than a strong pigment, his blue is closer to violet, the base of the ceiling is yellow with pink, and the ceiling itself is green. Indeed, where Mondrian’s abstract oeuvre can be characterized as a series of concentrated efforts within a sharply delineated frame, Flavin’s fluorescent installation seeps into the space, suffusing it with light and color. When observing the work more closely, one discovers that this difference lies at the core of Flavins’ tribute to Mondrian. A visitor mounting the stairs will not see much more than a soft green ceiling. From the galleries around the stairway, he may be drawn by the hallway’s strong light. When standing in the rectangular space itself, the visitor will be tempted to scrutinize details of the work, the pattern of red, yellow and blue neon tubes with white rings, and the coloring of the ceiling. But only when he steps back will it become apparent that the hallway is bathed in a white light, the stairway seems peculiarly green, and the banisters reflect a pinkish red.

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It is the radiance of the neon lights that creates the artwork, as much as it reconfigures the space. And thus, in this newly installed, quiet masterpiece, Flavin continued Mondrian’s search for the immaterial. He repainted the museum space, with light. More to Explore At annual museum nights in various Dutch cities al­ most all museums open their doors till two AM, with special programs aimed at a younger audience.

The 773 most important museums in Holland attract more than 20 million visitors every year. Find your favorite museum at genre/museums-galleries

The Van Gogh Museum is currently the most visited museum in Holland, with over one-anda-half million visitors. Buy your tickets online at

dance dance dance

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Anyone who likes dance has to keep on their toes in Holland to take it all in. The Dutch dance world offers a tremendous wealth of productions in a variety of genres and styles. The country boasts a great number of small and large, modern and classical companies, festivals and projects that do very well both nationally and internationally. We will examine the three largest dance companies and a new festival in Holland’s four major cities – where, as always, language is no problem. p 22


dance dance dance

Within SPRING: Benjamin Vandewalle, Birdwatching 4x4 photo – peter huybrechts

SPRING – Performing Arts Festival When an architect produces a piece of choreography, when a choreographer designs an installation or when a visual artist directs a theatre piece, there’s a good chance you’ll find it at SPRING. This new festival in Utrecht presents the latest developments in the performing arts, dance, theatre and crossover genres, and connects them with both local and international audiences. SPRING concentrates on the young, the unknown, the adventurous, the experimental. It takes risks and creates new artistic values. It supports young and talented artists and

brings them together with experienced artists with the aim of providing a glimpse into the future. SPRING is the result of the merger of two well-known Utrecht festivals, Springdance and Festival a/d Werf. The new annual festival kicks off in 2013.

2013 The motto of the first edition of SPRING - Performing Arts Festival is ‘Let’s Come Together’. This refers not only to the merger of the two former festivals, but to what drives artists in 2013: What keeps them together? What are communities like nowadays? What are the new collectives? It also refers to ways

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of working. Great artistic genius is not what is crucial here, but collective work processes, joint ventures, the synergy of individual talents joining forces. Artists like Rachid Ouramdane, Cecila Bengolea & Francois Chaignaud, Emanuel Gat, Sanja Mitrovic, Dries Verhoeven, Laurent Chetouane and Kris Verdonck will be performing their work in theatre venues as well as in public spaces. The Stadsschouwburg Utrecht will host performances and also function as a central location for installations, talks, markets, dinners, concerts, parties and an academy for students.

Scapino Ballet Rotterdam As the longest-standing Dutch dance company, Scapino Ballet Rotterdam is at the forefront of Holland’s internationally renowned dance culture. Since its inception in 1945, Scapino has been vital to the development of modern dance. As well as playing Dutch venues, the troupe performs at many international festivals and theatres. The appointment of Ed Wubbe as artistic director in 1992 brought a fresh vision to the company and marked the beginning of a new chapter. His prolific creative output along with that of many talented guest choreographers – some Dutch, some international – Scapino has become famous as a trendsetting company and breeding ground for contemporary dance. One of the present-day Scapino’s most important attributes is its much-lauded international troupe of dancers. The twenty-one Scapino dancers are celebrated for their accomplishment, technical prowess and feistiness. They come from all around the globe.

2013 One of this year’s highlights is Le Chat Noir. At the turn of the nineteenth century the theatre café Le Chat Noir was a popular venue for Scapino, Supernova  photo – hans gerritsen

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variety, cabaret and musical performers in Paris. In that fin de siècle period the artistic quarter of Montmartre was celebrated as the cultural heart of Paris where artists shared inspiration and chansonniers sang melancholy odes to life and death, which served to inspire artistic leader Ed Wubbe to create a dance piece he has called Le Chat Noir. Wubbe combines the musical poetry of chansons by Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel and others with the operatic music of Jacques Offenbach. Resident choreographer Felix Landerer draws inspiration from Eric Satie, a true bohemian and regular patron of Le Chat Noir. German composer Christof Littmann has provided a modern reworking of music by Satie. In 2009 choreographer in residence Marco Goecke created Supernova, one of his most outstanding choreographies for Scapino set to the music of French jazz composer Pierre Louis Garcia-Leccia. In his typical style of rapid movement, shadow-filled world and innumerable subtle finds, Goecke’s creativity reaches a zenith in Supernova.

Nederlands Dans Theater From its home base in The Hague, the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) presents inspiring contemporary dance productions featuring the best dancers it can find from all over the world. The NDT is led by artistic director Paul Lightfoot and is divided into two groups: NDT 1 and NDT 2. The dancers of NDT 1 are at the peak of their dancing careers and are unparalleled at bringing the repertoire to the audience. Each season, working together with the company’s famous in-house choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot as well as guest choreographers such as Crystal Pite, Johan Inger and Ohad Naharin and artists from other disciplines, the dancers create six new programmes, which they perform in 150 shows in Holland and abroad. Nederlands Dans Theater, Chamber  photo – rahi rezvani


dance dance dance

NDT 2 performs all around the world. The group executes choreographies by the new generation of dance makers, such as Alexander Ekman. In this breeding ground of the company, talented dancers come into their own and young and up-andcoming choreographers are given chance to develop.

2013 Starting this year, NDT will be rounding off each season with a special production that can be seen only at a small number of locations. This new concept is being ushered in with Programma V by Sol León and Paul Lightfoot, premiering in the Lucent Danstheater in The Hague. The production marks NTD’s return to Amsterdam’s Royal Theater Carré. Programma V is taking the dance company to this imposing theatre for the first time in over 35 years. Says Lightfoot, ‘Although the programme will be taking place in our own dance theatre, it is an entirely new experience for the audience. The usual theatre setting has been dropped so as to make a connection between dance, theatre and the audience. I find it interesting to bring the audience and the dancers closer together.’

Dutch National Ballet With more than eighty dancers from across the world, the Dutch National Ballet (Het Nationale Ballet), which not long ago celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, is the largest dance company in Holland. Led by artistic director Ted Brandsen, it is considered by the international dance press to be one of the best dance companies in the world. It is famous for its own interpretations of successful classical romantic ballets such as Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Don Quixote, Giselle and Cinderella, which always draw packed houses, alongside the timeless ballets that Hans van Manen choreographs for the company, plus more recent ballet classics. While the Dutch National Ballet has a good many international stars in its troupe, it also actively engages in talent development. The company’s home base is the Amsterdam Music Theatre (Het Muziektheater), where it creates and presents its productions, and from where it regularly tours the rest of the country. Last season it broke all records, drawing more visitors than ever.

2013 The Dutch National Ballet, The Netherlands Opera (De Nederlandse Opera) and the Amsterdam Music Theatre have now merged into a single foundation. On 1 January 2013, the three organizations, having been closely affiliated for many years, took the final step to complete integration into a single entity: a top-notch national institute for opera and ballet. In 2013 the Dutch National Ballet is presenting an attractive and varied programme of such classics like Romeo and Juliet by Rudi van Dantzig, Don Quixote by Alexei Ratmansky and The Sleeping Beauty by Peter Wright. The company is also presenting a festive gala in which dancers can shine in different solo

pieces, pas de deux and dazzling group numbers. During the Holland Festival in June, the company will produce a brand-new version of one of the most famous ballets of all time, The Rite of Spring, and will perform world premieres of work by Shen Wei and David Dawson.

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Het Nationale Ballet, Serenade  photo – angela sterling

More to Explore On you will find videos of the dance companies as well as trailers of the festival and upcoming performances. One of Holland’s most famous choreographers is Hans van Manen. He has created more than 120 ballets, including Clogs.

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Unless you’re a famous gallery owner or an extremely­ wealthy art collector, your chances of purchasing a Rembrandt or a Rietveld are pretty slim. Fortunately though, there’s plenty of contemporary and transportable Dutch Design to take home. Design Galerie VIVID in Rotterdam has made a selection of its favourite pieces.

take me home Dutch Design Selected by Galerie VIVID

The amazing architecture and excellent museums of Rotterdam, Holland’s second city, are a tremen­ dous draw for design lovers. You really must stop by Galerie VIVID, which spe­ cializes in Dutch Design. Established in 1999 by Saskia Copper and Aad Krol, Galerie VIVID was among the first galleries to exhibit contemporary work as both design and art. The gallery’s solo ex­ hibitions have presented such important d ­ esigners and artists as Ettore Sottsass, Hella Jongerius, ­Studio Job, Atelier Van Lieshout, Slothouber &

Graatsma and Jaime Hayon. In 2010 the gal­ lery moved to the Red Apple Building, one of ­Rotterdam’s new landmarks. At Galerie VIVID, design is not limited to furniture and art objects. The gallery recently organized exhibitions by illustrator Piet Paris and fashion designer Monique van Heist, proving that great design comes in many shapes and sizes. Besides using its own space, Galerie VIVID shows work at international art fairs such as Object Rotterdam and Design Miami.

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take me home

Endless rocking chair

How to do the flowers

Brasilia – Chandigarh


It’s not a rocking chair in the classical sense, but this design by Dirk van der Kooij definitely rocks. Made out of melted pieces of recycled refrigerators, Van der Kooij used a robotic arm to pour the repurposed fridge parts into moulds. In 2011 Van der Kooij won the award for Best Autonomous Design at Dutch Design Week.

Frank Bruggeman feels gardens are the ultimate work of art. His fascination for the relationship between nature and culture is the basis of his exhibition How To Do The Flowers. The industrial vases and pots are all in the same cyan blue, in wonderful contrast to the green of the plants.

In his impressive book photographer Iwan Baan shows that the Brazilian capital Brasilia and the Indian city of Chandigarh have more than you would suspect in common. Its stunning images and comments by writer Cees Nooteboom and art professor Martino Stierli address the question of how modernism has been appropriated in both these cities, and how their citizens deal with it.

A lamp that’s both beautiful and environmentally friendly The CMYK Lamp by Dennis Parren houses three LED bulbs in CMYK colours that illuminate and project upwards past narrow metal bars that split the beams of light, casting the colours cyan and magenta and yellow shadows onto surrounding surfaces, while red, green and blue shadows appear where the colours overlap.

English, 240 pages, € 40 Lars Muller Publishers

CMYK-up, coloured shadows with LED Light, € 790

Price upon request Brutto Gusto fine arts Berlin

Recycled refrigerators € 760

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take me home

Leafing through my findings Graphic designer Jan van Toorn is responsible for some classic and — for the time — quite radical posters. He takes an interest in all forms of propaganda, in the manipulation and dissemination of information. Van Toorn shuns cliché and his work if often described as alienist and incomprehensible, yet it always excites and never bores. Courtesy Galerie VIVID Price upon request

Frozen Lantern It was the unusual freezing rain that covered Holland with a layer of dripping ice in 1987 that inspired designer

Wieki Somers’ Frozen in Time collection. Everyday objects — a stool, an architect’s lamp, a vase — are covered in UV topcoat, a liquid resin that hardens, or ‘freezes’ when exposed to sun­light, making them appear to be covered with a thick glaze of ice. Aluminium, textile, wax, fishing rod, UV Topcoat, courtesy of Galerie Kreo

the 20th Century, H.P. Berlage. The result is a modern design with a strong reference to one of the fathers of modern architecture. The first limited collection of 200 was manufactured in blue. Van Beek is now selling another 200 sets in green.

a little corruption and abuseof power.

Pressed glass From € 39 excl. shipping costs

Influenced by self-sufficient Shaker community designs from the nineteenth century US the AVL Shaker Chair by Joep van Lieshout combines traditional craftsmanship with contemporary aesthetics. The result is a celebration of simplicity, innovative joinery, quality and functionality.

photo – pieter vandermeer

photo – fabrice gousset

Robber Baron Table

Cup and Paste

Robber Baron Table is what best describes the five pieces of functional furniture by Studio Job as luxury items with a dark twist. The name of the series derives from a term used to describe voracious American businessmen of the nineteenth century, who did not shirk from

When Bas van Beek was asked todesign the Museum Year Object for the National Glass Museum, he stepped back into the past and found inspiration in the most prominent Dutch architect of

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Solid cast bronze and patinas Edition of 8, price upon request

Shaker Chair

Solid beech, price upon request photo – atelier van lieshout


CADCAM Tableware – Transparent glossy glaze Minale-Maeda has made a modern tableware collection that breaks with the tradition of classical and romantic design. The collection resembles machine parts and is called CADCAM after the computer-aided design and manufacturing process by which it was made. Porcelain, price upon request photo – minale-maeda

Office Chair Atelier Van Lieshout and Lensvelt have designed an office furniture series that has been very popular among

take me home

the best interior designers in Holland. The first chair in the ­collection has become a real modern ­classic - the AVL Office Chair. The minimalist simplicity of the form reflects a desire to design a chair that simply represents ‘the image of sitting’. The straight, clean lines make the AVL Office Chair suitable for almost every office, or indeed for a reception or a conference room. This Lensvelt classic is available in a wide range of fabrics and in a tough leather version. The AVL Workbench is an austere, robust table made of polyester. The rough finish on the legs combined with a top that has a finish as smooth as glass shows what the table is really all about. It has been produced in a number of standard dimensions, but

customized versions are available upon request. The AVL – Workbench is available in various colours suitable for any office or conference room in which colour and functionality are a priority.

flowers and weeds on ceramics and exposed them to UV light.

Atelier Van Lieshout AVL Office Chair (2002) AVL Workbench (2005)

Disco Dome

Blueware Tiles If you didn’t know any better, you would think the Blueware collection by AngloDutch studio Glithero had its origins in the Victorian Age. A closer look shows that the blue tiles, vases and lamps are the result of a traditional photographic technique called cyanotype. The designers carefully arranged

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Ceramics, for use on wall or framed, price upon request photo – studio glithero

Anyone who’s ever been to a club will recognize the classic disco ball. Studio Bertjan Pot has created a stylish lamp version for home use. The Disco Dome uses half a mirrored ball as a facetted reflector. It creates the perfect atmosphere for a private party, over a dinner table or in a hallway. Mirrored facets RVS or polyester dome From € 2759 photo – chris van koeverden


take me home

Chicken piggy bank For a special exhibition called Farm at the Zuiderzeemuseum in Enkhuizen Studio Job designed an installation of thirty bronze and rosewood objects. By holding the exhibition at Zuiderwoude, one of the farm barns in the museum complex, Studio Job wanted to draw attention to the renewed interest in the countryside that is becoming evident in both design and society. This glamourous bronze chicken piggy bank is a perfect example.

Drawing from backdrop Viktor & Rolf When it comes to fashion illustrations, Piet Paris is one of haute couture’s household names, seen in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Saks Fifth Avenue. His style is known and loved around the globe. The beautiful backdrop he designed for a Viktor & Rolf show in 2010 is now available as a drawing. A true collectors’ item.

photo – r. kot

Libertíny had forty thousand bees colonize a vase-shaped hive. The result is a one-of-a-kind vase that’s both elegant and practical.

Cubics Cabinet (1965) Courtesy Galerie VIVID Price upon request

What happens when you combine the elements water, air, fire and earth in a hand-made lightbulb? Nacho Carbonell’s design for Booo Studio, is an inflatable lightbulb that holds water. Every movement prompts a reaction in the shape and light.

The Honeycomb Vase Made by Bees

Price upon request

Cubics cabinet Solid bronze Price upon request

for their love of cubics. Better still, they called themselves the ‘anonymous’ discoverers of the many applications of cubics. It’s quite a claim, but the exhibition cubics, cubic constructions collection Graatsma held in Galerie VIVID in 2011, surely proved them right.

Slothouber & Graatsma are legendary designers, known

That bees are zealous creatures comes as no surprise. But who knew they could also create art? Tomáš Gabzdil

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Beeswax, price upon request photo – raoul kramer

Booo Bulblight

Rubber, € 100


take me home

Recession Chair

Botanical Pleasure

Table lamp

Creativity flourishes in times of recession. Look at the Recession Chair by designer Tjep (real name Frank Tjepkema). To evoke the global economic recession, Tjep reduced part of a mass-produced IKEA chair to a skeletal form. The resulting object looks as if it couldn’t withstand the weight of the person it’s supporting, yet the bronze casting provides sufficient strength for it to serve as a functional object.

Contemporary artist Frank Bruggeman loves plants. To accompany the exhibition Botanical Pleasure at the Zeeuws Museum in Middelburg he produced a monograph that shows the similarities and differences between a seventeenth-century herbarium and Bruggeman’s plantscapes and flower pieces. A must-have for all devotees of green beauty.

Art and design are no fun if they’re just there to be looked at. That’s why designer Jan Broekstra likes to make his exhibitions interactive. A food-lover and a great cook, his collection of tableware – including this mushroom shaped lamp – is often used while exhibited. Bon appetit.

Dutch-English, Idea Books € 24,50

photo – guus krol

Hand-blown glass Price upon request

Interpretation of a Generation What does perfection look like? Why does ‘generation Y’ strive for perfection? On her quest to answer these questions, Boudewien van den Berg created portraits of her fellow students at Design Academy Eindhoven and Photoshopped them into perfection. She also asked them questions about happiness, appearance and success. Is this what true beauty looks like? Collection of 24 separate portraits available Price upon request

Wood with bronze casting Price upon request

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one step ahead

Aquaponics Aquaponics by Mediamatic in the bare industrial Van Gendt halls in Amsterdam. Built by artists, this is a sustainable food production system that combines traditional aquaculture (raising fish) with hydroponics (cultivating vegetables and mushrooms) in a symbiotic environment. These towers are the first step towards a large, self-sustaining urban agricultural system that will include a restaurant, wellness centre and daycare facilities. The towers can be built by anyone and are suitable for the home or office. photo – francesco vedovato

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one step ahead

Research and Innovation in Business and Art

One Step Ahead What research and innovation are to a leading international conglomerate like Philips is what the artistic playgrounds Mediamatic and Waag Society are for society and culture. Rooted in the do-it-yourself mentality of the 80s, they organize a gamut of experimental and innovative exhibitions, workshops, festivals and design labs. – Marina de Vries is an independent journalist in the area of visual art and architecture and writes for De Volkskrant newspaper and the Dutch Vogue, among other periodicals. She previously worked for the Virtual Museum Zuidas, which occupied itself with art and culture in a new residential and business district on the outskirts of Amsterdam. text

Eindhoven – the cradle of Philips, the electronics conglomerate – is the Light City of Holland. Each autumn, light artists transform this midsized provincial city into a fairytale during the Glow Light Festival. For the most recent festival Philips introduced one of its new smartphone apps, which enabled the public to participate in creating the light show for the Kalos Pavilion. Co-creation is one of the future trends Philips is tracking. The fact that the company – a leading global player in the fields of healthcare, lifestyle and lighting – tried out the app at a large public festival exemplifies the company’s approach. ‘Technology used to stand on its own,’ says Paul Gardien, head of Design Strategy & Design Innovation at Philips. ‘Nowadays we want to create value for people by taking their own input into account. We actively involve future users in the design process, in both online and real-life situations.’ p 37

Crossing Boundaries in R&D Research and innovation are the lifeblood of Philips’ business. Out of 120,000 employees, 16,000 are professional researchers and trend watchers. All sectors and business units have their own R&D department. In addition, there is Philips Group Innovation, which sketches and tests out possible future scenarios. ‘Engineers, scientists, marketing people, business people and designers work together in the research and design teams of PGI. This multidisciplinary approach is unique in the world of big business.’ One of the major successes of the past few decades owes its existence to this transdisciplinary teamwork, says Gardien. Prior to undergoing a medical exam or treatment, such as an MRI scan, hospital patients can use Philips Ambient Experience to create their own environment in colour, movement and sound. ‘Ambient Experience is more


one step ahead

than just a futuristic device. It is a total experience that helps all parties involved. Patients feel more relaxed and cooperate better during the examination. Staff members can work faster and more efficiently.’ Five hundred hospitals throughout the world work with the advanced and people-friendly programme. But the development of Ambient Experience is not standing still. Philips is investigating other applications in the area of mental health care, for example, and researchers are working on a new experience concept to help women before and during childbirth in hospital. Curiosity Fuels Research: Waag Society and Mediamatic Research and innovation are part of the core business of a leading international corporation like Philips, but they are also important for culture and society. Mediamatic and the Waag Society are independent artistic playgrounds that come from the do-it-yourself underground culture of the 1980s. For both of them, the multidisciplinary approach has been the norm for many years, bringing together artists, architects, scientists, designers, philosophers and practitioners for workshops and festivals, exhibitions and lectures. ‘Unlike Philips, we don’t have a commissioner,’ says Marleen Stikker, cofounder and director of the Waag Society. ‘We are not affiliated with a university or business and don’t have to supply products or services. Our work is driven purely by our own

Workshops De Waag at Off-Picnic Festival Picnic, organized by Waag Society, is an annual festival at which scientists, artists and media professionals from all over the world come together for informal workshops and lectures. The festival focuses each year on a theme or trend that involves new technologies, design ideas and social challenges. Last year’s theme was New Ownership. A market connected with Picnic gives start-up entrepreneurs, commissioners and investors the opportunity to interact with each other. For the general public there is the Off-Picnic festival with installations, performances and workshops in Amsterdam.

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curiosity.’ The same goes for Willem Velthoven, founder and director of Mediamatic. ‘We let ourselves be led by curiosity and humour, and by a sense of artistic and social urgency.’ Both of these cultural breeding grounds are located in parts of Amsterdam that are saturated with history. Mediamatic recently moved into the monumental Van Gendt cargo halls on the oldest industrial terrain in Holland, the Oostenburgereiland, where the ships of the Dutch East India Company were built in the seventeenth century. Waag Society is situated on the Nieuwmarkt square in the oldest non-religious building in Amsterdam, the castle-like Waag, originally a gate to the city, later functioning as a weighing house (waag) and as a guild hall and anatomic dissection theatre – The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, painted by Rembrandt, took place in the Waag. Breeding Social Innovation Mediamatic, with a staff of fifty calls itself a public research lab for technology, art and society. In addition to a foundation partly funded by the government, the company consists of Mediamatic Lab, which among other things makes museum apps on commission. Mediamatic has a train of


playful, provocative activities tagging along after its name, ranging from alternative exchange marts and a magic mushroom workshop to a ‘past the use by date dining club’ – a restaurant where meals are prepared with food from local stores, fresh food headed for the garbage only because its ‘use by’ date has passed. Mediamatic has already become nationally known through El Hema, an exhibition disguised as a department store in which ultra-traditional Dutch products were were given youthful Arab-style packaging. From new media in the 1990s, Mediamatic’s interest gradually shifted to biotechnology. ‘Just like plastic revolutionized the look of the 20th century, biotechnology will transform this century,’ predicts Velthoven. So he is experimenting with the help of young designers and artists in the Van Gendt halls with a self-built, stacked greenhouse in which fish swim around and provide the vegetables and mushrooms on the stack above them with nourishment. The idea is for the greenhouse to develop into a large aquaponics farm, a clever, selfsustaining urban agricultural system that offers a different, more aware outlook on the production of food and energy. Workshops are organized in a

one step ahead

self-built clean room, with the task of experimenting with new materials and objects that can grow from biological waste. More than Gadgets: Start Learning to Love Technology What is the difference between the artistic playground Mediamatic and Philips? Says Velthoven, ‘Our primary output is at the level of meaning. What you experience, how it can open your eyes, how you gain courage and comfort from it. For instance, we think it’s important that clean-room technology, which until now has been extremely expensive, should also be accessible for artists, designers and ordinary people. They have different needs than a corporation does, a different aesthetic, and they look for different possibilities and solutions.’ The do-it-yourself, bottom-up approach is also very important for Marleen Stikker, cofounder and director of the Waag Society. At this institute for art, science and technology, a kindred spirit to Mediamatic, sixty people work in the specialisms and fields of healthcare, culture and education. ‘The advantage of artistic research is that you can ask subjective questions, which a business concern or scientist could not afford to ask.’ Just like Mediamatic, the Waag focuses on new technologies. ‘Many people are afraid of technology. But technology determines our entire lives and well-being. We want to find playful ways to provide insight into developing technologies and make them accessible for everyone by messing around with scientists, artists, doctors and users. We try to design those technologies in such a way that they can lead to a better way of life at the individual or social level. Users are our experts.’ The Waag Society puts on a whole range of public activities too. There is the well-known Picnic Festival, where scientists, artists and advertising people from all over the world meet during informal workshops and lectures, along with an accompanying Off Picnic Festival for the general public. And the Fab Labs, open design labs where computerized robots can be made, for instance, are also successful. These technological workplaces are open to everyone, provided that the designs and knowledge are shared with others. A Serious Mission Powered by Fun As visual, playful and humorous as Mediamatic’s activities may be, says Velthoven, it’s also always about putting social issues on the agenda and demonstrating what’s possible. The El Hema exhibition, for instance, hauled the immigration debate out of its negative corner, and the ‘past the use-by date dining club’ reveals the madness of food regulations. The favela project, in which architects and artists build aesthetically sound huts that are warm and cosy, shows how an empty building in poor condition can be given a pleasant temporary allocation in a simple manner; vacant buildings are a problem familiar to all of us these days. For the Waag, besides fooling around for the sake of pleasure and experimentation, it is important to work with businesses to create products or services. For example, the Waag Society has made a museum app for smartphones that features walking routes through the city, varying from a gay route to the architecture of the historic Zaanse Schans region and a Rembrandt walk. And Fab Labs have been launched to solve local problems. p 39


one step ahead

AMBIENT EXPERIENCE Ambient Experience by Philips is an advanced, medical device that provides a total, three-dimensional experience. Before undergoing an examination or MRI scan patients can create their own personal atmosphere by the use of colour, movement and sound to help them relax and feel at ease, allowing the hospital staff to work more quickly and efficiently.

In Indonesia, people manufacture affordable made-to-measure body prostheses with the help of this do-it-yourself technology. One of the Waag Society’s eagerly anticipated products is the Fair Phone: ‘We wanted to develop a telephone made without slave labour, with open technology that is understandable to everyone and alternative raw materials; the raw materials currently being used are scarce and harmful, and are extracted under miserable circumstances. Until now, that wasn’t possible, because each of the parties involved had too much self interest at stake of their own. But we succeeded because we are a small player and collaborate with everyone.’ The Fair Phone will be on the market in the second half of 2013. Open Sources of Inspiration and Cooperation Philips, Mediamatic and the Waag Society: their differences are legion and at the same time they draw inspiration from a common Dutch mentality. ‘Our open attitude, the fact that we always work with people and try to connect people from different disciplines and levels of society, is typical of a small country like Holland,’ says Velthoven. ‘That open, outward looking attitude, averse to the standard conventionalities, makes it easier for Philips to work with other parties, says Paul Gardien from Philips. ‘Our playful, informal attitude is exactly what leads to new knowledge and insights,’ says Stikker. Besides this, bigger parties expressly keep an eye on smaller ones. The Ministry of Justice comes to the Waag Society to tinker about; the leading architectural firm UN Studio gains inspiration for its future buildings in Mediamatic’s biotechnological workshop. ‘Art is often at the forefront of trends,’ says Gardien. ‘When we developed the Ambient Experience, we saw that artists focus on how people experience their environment. Lately we have noticed that artists are busy with self-cultivated food, or, like the Waag Society, with social innovation. Our products follow such trends.’

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As part of its Philanthropy by Design programme, for instance, Philips collaborated with NGOs and local entrepreneurs to develop the Low Smoke Chulha stove. This is a cheap, lightweight stove for the Indian market, which uses less fuel and reduces smoke in the home. ‘We don’t produce and sell this stove ourselves, but have made the design and IP (intellectual property) freely available so that small local entrepreneurs can use it and earn a living.’ Trendsetters. Sources of inspiration. Creators of social and cultural awareness. Producers of new knowledge and insights. You might almost forget that Mediamatic and the Waag Society, with all of their cheerful, cutting-edge exhibitions and activities, also enrich Amsterdam’s art world. So if you are in the neighbourhood and planning to visit the new Rijksmuseum, check out the websites of Mediamatic and Waag Society too.

More to Explore Visit for more infor­ mation on aquaponics and recipes. The Fair Phone is a cool smartphone that puts social values first. It is more ethically sourced, manufactured under better conditions and disposed of responsibly.

So we helped streamline payments and cash management for TNT Express in Central & Eastern Europe Download the ING CB app for iPad in the App Store and watch this ad in 3D

– Afaina de Jong is not a typical architect. She believes in a practice of architecture that goes beyond just making buildings. With her company AFARAI, founded in 2005, she has worked on a diverse set of projects, translating street culture and urban lifestyles into urbanism and architecture.


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Urban Space Is The Place Building Catalysts for Cultural Innovation

The commercialization of public space has contributed to the turning of human investment inward to create alternative spaces of interaction between people. Dutch cities are thriving on self-initiated rejuvenations of urban space, of places that would otherwise be lost to the big nothing of long-term vacancy. Many of these initiatives go beyond demographics and are based on shared interests and on differing attitudes to what a city should be. Alternative ways of living as an urban community have created ‘multiplaces’ where wide genres of activity come together. Schieblok Biergarten Rotterdam. photo - ossip van duivenbode


urban space is the place

Creative thinking and design have gained a vital position in our everyday life as well as in our daily urban habitat. New technologies are radically changing how we work, encounter and impact on our surroundings. City people are becoming aware of their personal contribution to the existing city and a new generation of key players is redefining Dutch cities from within. These are highly multidisciplinary people and they take on as many roles as needed to make their vision for the new urban space a place of reality.

rotterdam In Rotterdam, right next to the Central Station, behind the new glossy high-rise towers, a string of post-war office buildings and a derelict railway viaduct have been saved from demolition and ushered back into life by ambitious young architects and planners, who are not afraid to get their hands dirty. Initiated by architects ZUS (Zones Urbaines Sensibles) the transformation of a post-war office building into an interdisciplinary urban laboratory called the Schieblok created a ripple event in the Rotterdam Central District. The Schieblock has been set up as collaboration between ZUS, who are responsible for the concept development and the creative content and CODUM who are responsible for the way the building is used. The Schieblock consists of five floors of work studios and on the ground floor the Bar Dependance. A food garden is on the roof and the parking lot includes a biergarten. Across the road is the former Hofplein railway station. This 1.9 km-long railway viaduct forms the start of the Hofplein line, a 28.5 km railway that used to link Rotterdam with The Hague and the beach at Scheveningen. The old station has been the location of many underground parties and exhibitions over past decades; the building and the surrounding urban space has been a matter of contention in the city. In 2008 Crimson Architectural Historians, together with architect AFARAI and PEÑA architecture, ­initiated a pilot to develop the first seven arches in to a mini shopping mall.

a citywide pledge to support the rejuvenation of a longforgotten district.

The Mini Mall offers 2,500 square metres of retail space to entrepreneurs, artists, designers and other creative minds. The development of the Hofplein Station into a compact shopping mall answers a lack of affordable locations in Rotterdam where fresh new initiatives could first see the light of day. Here there is space for special catering outlets, original shop formats for independent designers, innovative events and festivals and bold artistic initiatives. The authentic character of the old station has made the Mini Mall a place that connects people. One of its special qualities is that it is possible to program events and other activities in the p 44

communal inner area and on the events site on the roof that overlooks the city. The advantage of this event-oriented and open source approach is that as an urban location the Mini Mall always remain new, relevant and up-to-date. In 2012 the connection between these two new urban spaces became physical when 48,000 Rotterdammers voted in a referendum for the realization of the Luchtsingel. With the four million euros awarded by the citizens of Rotterdam via a stadsinitiatief, or ‘city initiative’, an elevated wooden pedestrian path is being built right through the Schieblock, over a busy road, over the train tracks, to the roof of the Mini Mall. What started out as a crowdfunding project where 1,300 people donated money in exchange for having their name on a piece of timber used in the making of the Luchtsingel, or Air Boulevard, became a citywide pledge to make the city more pedestrian friendly and to support the rejuvenation of this long-forgotten district.

Amsterdam While in the city of Rotterdam the focus is on bigger and bolder in Amsterdam pioneering creatives are slowly taking over the nooks and crannies of the notorious Red Light District. The do-it-yourself mentality of a handful of pioneers is a powerful force in the establishment of new attractions in this historic area. The top-down efforts of the mayor and city council gradually to rid the area of prostitution has left a lot of spaces unused. Red Light Radio was one of the first arrivals on the Oudekerksplein in the heart of the Red Light District. Surrounded by working girls, the online radio station opened its doors in December 2010 as a pop-up and has since become a permanent feature Amsterdam life. From a former prostitution window, Red Light Radio broadcasts local and international DJs, musicians and artists. All the shows are one-offs and offer the most eclectic mix of musical styles ever heard on radio. Founded by Hugo van Heijningen and Orpheu de Jong, its aim was to create an alternative to the mainstream radio stations and to give local subcultures a broadcasting platform. Through an ambitious crowdsourcing effort, Red Light Radio won the hearts of Amsterdammers keen to have the pop-up radio station continue its work of broadcasting eccentric and underground music. Now, whenever international DJs are in


urban space is the place

Red Light Radio Amsterdam photo – maarten jungen

town to do a gig, they make sure they drop by Red The urban space of the Red Light District is dominated by a Light Radio for an exclusive show. specific mix of visitors, and has therefore long been a part of the Founder Orpheu de Jong: “We wanted the sta- city that many people who live in Amsterdam avoid. But now tion to be visible from the street. No better place this area, still rough around the edges, has proven attractive to to do that than in a place where everybody is niche and boutique initiatives that are firmly connected to the always looking in the windows, right? We knew local character of Amsterdam, but which take account of the this district was changing radically, so we thought international community of creative enterprise. we really had a shot at getting a Surrounded by space for our project. A few years on With the opening of a permanent space in the Red working girls, we feel we’ve became a part of the Light District in Amsterdam, the indie publisher the online radio neighbourhood.” Ultra de la Rue had its focus on creating a community station opened and providing a nurturing arena for experimentaits doors tion and discussion. Today, the streets are a breeding The arrival of Red Light Radio has ground for emerging talent and trends, and the Ultra had a catalyzing effect on the Red Light District by attracting musicians, creative en- de la Rue Creative Space aims to create a context for this work trepreneurs and artists to the area. It has been so to flourish. The Creative Space is in former prostitution winsuccessful that the radio station has expanded into dows and is an exhibition space and artists’ hangout that looks the Red Light Complex, a bastion of cool in two like a hip museum gift shop. It features photography, designer historic buildings that now house the radio station T-shirts, art books and great coffee. The space is dedicated and its offices, two record stores, a recording stu- to the active exploration of themes of contemporary urban dio, the Red Box gallery, a photography studio and culture and lifestyles through exhibitions, film, lectures and many other small creative offices. creative sessions. p 45


urban space is the place

Silvano, Rambler Spring/Summer 2013 photo - sam rentmeester

More to Explore

On the Zeedijk, the corridor between Amsterdam’s Central Station and Chinatown and the adjacent Red Light District, is now home to a truly inspired fashion business that takes conscious clothing to the next level. Tim Dekker and Carmen van der Vecht started Rambler, a fashion brand that is making money while offering troubled youth the opportunity to work in the fashion industry. Through fashion design they learn to channel their creativity and get to work with professional designers, pattern makers and producers. One of the exceptional elements of Rambler’s ethic is that the young designers retain complete ownership of their creations and receive a 10% design fee on every item sold. They are able to gain expertise and develop their own professional careers.

A multiplace where the nation’s political fervour coexists with a laidback surf-and-skate subculture and a local counter­ culture that acts as the glue of social cohesion. PIP is a one-­ofa-kind cultural area where the best of The Hague’s counter­ culture comes together to create and to party. The Free Architecture Surf Terrain was a vacant lot right on the surfline that through informal development has turned into an urban beach community boasting restaurants, an open-air ­theatre and even a museum. The city of Utrecht conducts a wide range of initiatives con­ verting disused spaces into creative workspace, and one of the most significant is the appropriation of almost an entire street by Dutch jazz phenomenon Kyteman and his orchestra.

Here in Kytopia, as the block of houses that make up the street is now called, Kyteman and his twenty orchestra members live and record together.

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the tower that vanished

They tore down our house. That’s what Floyd and I have in common, that is what binds us after all these years: the tower block in Southeast Amsterdam where we spent our childhoods has been torn down to the ground. We’re sitting across from each other at a table in the McDonald’s close to Dam Square. We haven’t seen each other for twenty-four years. After searching around on the Internet, I found him on Facebook. In a long e-mail, I suggested we meet up. I waited three weeks for a reaction. “Call me. 0614547809,” was his brief answer. After a little urging on my part, he finally suggested we meet here during his lunch break; his job is driving tourists around town in a pedicab. He looks frighteningly skinny, I notice right away. His brown eyes no longer shine and his hair has grown thin, as though it has fallen out. There is nothing left of the full head of frizzy black hair he used to have. His hands shake as he stirs his coffee. I ask questions, he gives terse replies. We run out of words soon enough. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. To break the silence, I hand him my book, my novelistic debut. “I wrote something for you in the front of it.” He picks up the book, looks only at the cover, then lays it on the table without reading my personal inscription. “What did you want to see me for, anyway?” The directness in his voice takes me by surprise. “I wanted to find out how you were doing,” I say hesitantly. “Well, could be better. But I could have told you that in a mail too.” “I wanted to talk to you about when we were growing up in the Bijlmer, as research for my new book.”

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the tower that vanished

He sighs. “Listen, I’m pretty busy. Being in the clinic and all, I haven’t had any fares for the last couple of weeks. I need to catch up on that now.” “All I want is an hour of your time.” “An hour?” “I’m willing to pay for it.” Right away, I’m sorry I said that. “Pay to talk to me?” I had imagined a very different conversation. I had thought we would laugh and talk about the old days. “I don’t mean it like that.” I’m afraid he might get up and leave any moment, so I suggest going for a ride in his pedicab. Maybe then he’ll thaw out. “Where do you want to go?” To the only place that connects us, of course. Why didn’t I think of it before? “The Bijlmer.” “No, man! I don’t want to do that.” “Why not?” “I’ve never been back there. There’s nothing for me out there.” “Let’s go back together. Run through a few old memories, see what’s changed.” He looks away. “If we leave now we’ll get there before one and I’ll buy you lunch at the Surinamese shop.” For a while he says nothing. I should have been better prepared. I’ve blown it, I can tell. “Come on, Floyd.” “Oh, all right. I didn’t have any breakfast, I could stand a chicken nasi.” I clearly remember when I met Floyd. On a warm summer day he was running along the gallery of our tower block, shouting and chasing his little brother Freddie, who was sitting on a skateboard and using his hands as paddles to move along. I was just walking my BMX to the lift when I saw a little meatball coming at me like a projectile. I tried to move aside, but Freddie crashed right into my bike and fell over. Floyd came running up, helped his little brother upright and gave me a hard shove. “Something wrong with your eyes, asshole?” “ I was only standing here.” “You got to be a little more careful,” he said then, more calmly. “Freddie isn’t so good with that thing yet.” Freddie was rubbing his head, but when he saw me looking at him his pout disappeared and he grinned broadly. “Hi!” he said loudly. He had an unusually low voice. He stood up shakily and held out his hand. “I’m Freddie, I’m six years old.” His chubby hand felt sticky, like he’d just pulled it out of a honey jar. I’d never talked to someone with Down syndrome before. Floyd became my best friend. He lived on the same floor of the Fleerde

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the tower that vanished

building, the third, it was a ten-storey building. When we weren’t at school, Floyd and I spent a lot of time wandering around the tower block. The staircase always smelled of urine and garbage, and although we ran into junkies there sometimes, we never avoided it. More than once we saw them putting needles in their arms or holding a lighter up to their crack pipes. Our neighbours were from Ghana, we didn’t have much contact with them. A couple of doors down lived Yvonne, an incommunicative woman of about thirty. She had two Great Danes as big as calves that came barrelling up to anything that moved out on the gallery. Whenever those animals were let loose, everyone got out of the way. Each Sunday morning Floyd went to church with his older sister, his parents, Freddie and two little sisters. He always asked me to go along. I would look at my mother beseechingly. “Why would you go there?” she always said. “You’re not a Christian, are you?” No matter what answer I gave, she wouldn’t budge. One autumn day Freddie said he wanted to go to the pool. “But it’s cold outside,” Floyd said. Freddie wouldn’t give up. He was already sitting on his skateboard, wearing a wool cap and thick gloves. We took turns pushing him along. Because of his bowed legs and bad heart, he couldn’t walk very far himself. Floyd said that Freddie had a hole in his heart, but I couldn’t imagine it. If that was true, how could he still be alive? Floyd told me that he had been operated on a few times, and that he had to go back to the hospital again soon. The wind was blowing so hard that now and again it almost stopped us in our tracks. Freddie lifted his arms to the sky and crowed with pleasure. In the dressing cubicles, Floyd helped him put on his trunks. While we put our own clothes in a locker, Freddie stood there in his swimming suit and looked around. His little belly bulged over the top of his trunks. When a pretty blonde went into the little tanning booth beside the showers, Floyd and I nodded to each other. “Stay here beside the locker, Freddie,” Floyd said. “We’ll be right back.” “No, I want to go to the pool!” Freddie said, stamping his feet. We crept up to the tanning booth, which was surrounded by tall panels with an open space about eighteen inches high at the bottom. Floyd and I dropped soundlessly onto our stomachs and slid our heads under the panel. I was almost afraid to blink when I saw the woman standing there in her underwear. She was just folding her sweater. Then she moved her hands around behind her back to unfasten her bra. My breathing stopped. I had never seen such enormous breasts. I felt the excitement spreading to my loins. Floyd began breathing more heavily and tried to push his hand into his trunks. At the very moment when the woman slid her fingertips under the elastic of her knickers, Freddie screamed: “Floyd, come on!” Floyd sat up with a start, banging his head against the panel. He slid back, groaning. The woman looked around in alarm, holding her hands

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the tower that vanished

over her breasts, and just before her eyes met mine I pulled back. We ran to Freddie, we each grabbed him by a hand and raced to the pool. “Did you see those boobies, man!” Floyd shouted, covering the swelling in his trunks with his free hand. That evening, at my house, we watched Opsporing Verzocht, the police program where they ask viewers for tips to help solve real crimes. It was about the disappearance of two little Surinamese girls from Bijlmer Park. They had kinky hair in braids and, like us, they were twelve years old. “Don’t they live here in the building?” I asked. Floyd nodded. “I think I’ve seen them around.” They had been missing for a week, and were last seen in the company of a balding white man in his fifties. “A child molester!” Floyd and I shouted simultaneously. “We’ve got to do something,” I said. “Otherwise he’ll kidnap your little sisters or Freddie or something.” We decided to solve the disappearance. Armed with a stick, we went each day from one tower block to the next, to look for the girls in the basement storage spaces. In case of an emergency, Floyd carried a little Swiss pocketknife he had stolen from his grandfather. Freddie wanted to go along too, but we thought that was too dangerous. Some of the storage spaces were easy to get into, because the door on the street side had been left open. One time we busted the window of one of the box rooms because Floyd thought he heard the girls’ muffled cries. We spent that whole summer looking fruitlessly for the missing girls. Two years later, out of the blue, Floyd told me they were moving to Zaandam. “So we can be closer to a hospital, for Freddie. He’s not doing too well.” When we said farewell, we hugged clumsily. Freddie planted two wet kisses on my cheeks and said: “Go with us.” Floyd promised to send a card soon with their new phone number. For weeks I went down to the letterbox a few times a day, but I never found the card. I’m sitting in the back of the pedicab. Floyd is working the pedals like a madman. As we pass Amstel Station, he asks if I’d like a drag of his joint. The only time I ever smoked a joint was with friends at college. The marijuana had been so powerful that I suddenly saw remote family members and bizarre shapes dancing across the walls. Then I fell asleep on the couch. “Dude, you want a hit or not?” I’m afraid that Floyd will see refusal as a rejection. As we roll along the River Amstel, I take a drag. It’s really strong stuff, but to my amazement a calming cloud settles in the direction of my lungs. Quickly, I take a few more deep drags. I wake up when the pedicab jerks to a halt. “Here we are,” Floyd shouts. My head feels heavy. When I climb out I have to hold onto the railing of the cab in order not to fall. Suddenly, Floyd is surrounded by a green

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the tower that vanished

glow. His eyes twinkle the way they used to and once again he has a thick Afro. It lights up like a brown bulb in the afternoon sun. “Are you going to church today?” I ask. “What? No, man!” His voice sounds different. He points. “I can’t picture our flat ever having been here.” “Having been here?” My head is spinning. A man on roller blades shoots past us. The sound his wheels make reminds me of the noise of a rolling skateboard. I look around. “Where’s Freddie?” Floyd’s eyes go glassy. “Floyd… where’s Freddie?” He drills his index finger into my chest. “Is that your idea of a sick joke?” I reel. “What do you mean?” “You know what happened!” “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “My mother sent out funeral announcements. To you guys too, and everybody else we knew in the Bijlmer.” “Funeral announcements?” I see Freddie sitting on his skateboard. I push him up the little hill in front of our house, where we can look out over the neighbourhood. “Fucking hell! I knew I shouldn’t have come back here.” Floyd climbs into his pedicab and takes off. “Wait! Where are you going?” My head is spinning. I have to sit down. “When are you going to send me your new address?” We’re standing on top of the hill. “Down!” Freddie shouts. “Push me down the hill!” I sit on the skateboard and take him on my lap. Freddie smells like honey. I push off with one hand, we’re moving now. Freddie raises both arms in the air and chortles as we take off. We fly through the warm air. Higher and higher. Higher and higher above the flats. **

Murat Isik made his novelistic debut in April 2012 with Verloren grond (Lost Land), a family history set in Turkey. The novel received the Readers’ Prize from the Flemish daily newspaper De Morgen and was nominated for The Bronze Owl Award and the Academica Literature Prize. The translation rights have been sold to Sweden. For his short stories, Isik won the Juni Kunstmaand short-story contest in 2007 and the El Hizjra Literature Prize in 2011. Isik is also a columnist and a lawyer. His next two novels will also be published by Ambo| Anthos Publishers.

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View more with


2013 is an extraordinary year for culture in Holland, particularly Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. The four cities have an abundance of jubilee anniversaries that run the gamut from canals to concert halls, operas to orchestras, Dutch-Russian relations to Richard Wagner, 200 year Kingdom of the Netherlands to peace treaties and Peter the Great.

Celebrations Highlights include celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Amsterdam’s canal ring, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the 300th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht; the opening of the revamped Rijksmuseum, following a decade of renovation; and Rheingold on the Rhine, a large-scale rendition of Wagner’s opera Das Rheingold, staged within a cargo ship on the River Rhine. The cultural programme for this remarkable year is augmented by some of Holland’s

– Pip Farquharson works as a freelance copywriter and editor for various advertising and com­munication agencies. She deejays at select events. illustration – Jurgen van Zachten text

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most exclusive perennial events, such as the North Sea Jazz Festival and Crossing Border, where literature and music converge. We’ve compiled a selection of events, complemented by suggestions of where to bed down or dine in each of the four cities. Whether you’re a local culture vulture or visiting from abroad, there’s never been a more conducive time to explore Holland’s finest. For the current agenda please visit












A 61 km / 55 min. A 61 km / 55 min. B 45 km / 46 min. B 45 km / 46 min. C 60 km / 48 min. C 60 km / 48 min. D 24 km / 26 min. D 24 km / 26 min. E 66 km / 51 min. E 66 km / 51 min. F 78 km / 58 min. F 78 km / 58 min.


1 km = 0.6214 mi

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Treaty of Utrecht: Trajectum Lumen

Escher in the Palace Permanent


Opening of the Rijksmuseum Permanent

Following an extensive decadelong renovation, the Pierre Cuypersdesigned Rijksmuseum opens on 13 April in a special ceremony attended by Queen Beatrix. Inside its magnificent nineteenth-century ­interior is one-and-a-half kilometres of art and history – spanning the Middle Ages to the present – and, of course, Rembrandt’s magnificent The Night Watch (1642).

The Treaty of Utrecht signed in 1713 by several European states signaled an end to centuries of religious strife and bloody wars. To mark the three hundred years since the historic agreement, Utrecht is staging cultural­ events in every district of the city. Trajectum Lumen features an evening walking route of installations by internationally and locally renowned light artists. On the closing night (11 April), London’s award-winning light art collective Speirs and Major will unveil a spectacular illuminated artwork in homage to the treaty that put an end to so much strife.

This permanent exhibition pays homage to Dutch graphic artist MC Escher (1898-1972), famous around the world for his optical illusion-artworks. His seven-metre-long woodcut print Metamorphosis III (1968) is one of the highlights. The dedicated museum­ is housed within the former Winter Palace of Queen Emma, Queen regent from 1890-1898. Het Paleis Lange Voorhout 74


Domplein 21


Treaty of Utrecht: War and Peace

Museumstraat 1

Throughout 2013


125 Years of the Concertgebouw


Like Pastoe

10 April Until 2 June

A high-brow programme includes a­series of Jubilee concerts at the world-famous concert hall, highlighting each successive era since its inaugural­concert on 11 April 1888. On the eve of its 125th birthday (10 April), three ­acclaimed soloists – Lang Lang, Janine Jansen and Thomas Hampson – star in a special concert. Concertgebouw Concertgebouwplein 2-4

Love iconic furniture? Like Pastoe! This year the Utrecht-based label Pastoe is celebrating 100 years of success. To celebrate, the Kunsthal in Rotterdam is presenting a comprehensive exhibition titled Like Pastoe, 100 Years of Design. The programme showcases iconic designs from the company’s history, as well as its contemporary products and new ideas for living. Kunsthal Westzeedijk 341

List of symbols

Throughout 2013 all of Utrecht’s ­museums are participating in the Treaty of Utrecht programme. The Utrecht Archives has an exhibition about life in the city during the peace negotiations of 1713; the Railway Museum explores military mobilisation on the train tracks; the Money Museum focuses on money in wartime; the Museum of Contemporary Aboriginal Art is staging the show Art As a Weapon, which deals with the theme of slavery; and for young people,­The Art of Negotiation exhibition takes place at the University Museum. Finally, the Dom Tower will once again be the centre of attention as it hosts the exhibition Utrecht Defends while Museum Catharijneconvent concludes with Escaped the Iconoclastic, an exhibition on medieval Utrecht sculpture from before the Iconoclasm. Various locations






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Constantijn and Christiaan Huygens


400 Years of Canals

16-26 May

4-16 June (Open Garden Days) 16-25 August (Grachtenfestival)

25 April-28 August

The Grote Kerk in The Hague will be the venue for a special exhibition about two exceptional men of the Dutch Golden Age: Constantijn and Christiaan Huygens. Constantijn and his son came from a warm, close-knit family that valued a broad-minded approach to parenting and freedom. Their family was the fertile ground from which sprang the work of two of the most exceptional men in a great and glorious age. In the mid-seventeenth century, the Republic of the Seven United Provinces was one of the world’s most powerful states, whose fleet was huge and whose trade extended to the farthest corners of the earth. The Grote Kerk Rond de Grote Kerk 12


Aernout Mik: Communitas

SPRING is a new ten-day performing­ arts festival concentrating on every­form of contemporary art. International and interdisciplinary, SPRING will feature both emerging and established theatre and dance makers. It aims to provide a platform for reflection on current developments and for encounter, dialogue and exchange.


Amsterdam Heritage Days 26 May, 14 July, 14-16 September

In 2013 multiple editions of Amsterdam Heritage Days will take place. Important buildings, monuments and private homes will cast open their doors to the public, all free of charge. Enjoy guided tours inside buildings, walking and cycling tours, as well as exhibitions and lectures.

3 May-28 August

One of the most highly regarded Dutch artists of his era, Aernout Mik (born 1962) has created an extraordinary spatial installation that combines architecture, video projections, and performances. Mik’s work accurately captures and explores the psychological state of today’s society. His staged video images reference topical themes such as the economic depression, global crises, racial tensions, and how these are reflected in the media. Stedelijk Museum Museumplein 10

Four hundred years ago construction began of the city’s grachtengordel (canal ring), built for the wealthiest­ denizens of the city at the height of the flourishing Dutch Golden Age. Open Garden Days (14-16 June) celebrates four centuries of garden history along the famous waterways. The Grachtenfestival (Canal Festival, 16-25 August) annually celebrates this UNESCO World Heritage Site with a plethora of both intimate and largescale classical music concerts on and around the canals. Visit for more ­celebrations of 400 years of canals.


Rotterdam Unlimited 11-16 June

Rotterdam Unlimited is a huge new multicultural event in the heart of Rotterdam. During a jam-packed five days, visitors can experience music, dance, theatre, film, poetry, art and food, all celebrating cultural diversity. Highlight is the vibrant Street Parade which will wind its way through the city centre.


XXXL 8 June-29 September

This summer the industrial ­Submarine Wharf (Onderzeeboot­loods)­ is being­ transformed into a gigantic­artist’s studio. ‘Inventor’ Klaas Kloosterboer (Amsterdam), ‘bomber’ Chris Martin (New York) and ‘narrator’ Jim Shaw (Los Angeles) are thinking in ­monumental terms and filling the 5000 m2 Submarine Wharf with paintings, installations and objects. This exhibition on contemporary art brings the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen into the Port of Rotterdam. The Submarine Wharf from 1937 is ­com­parable in size to the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern in London. Onderzeebootloods RDM-straat 1

Various locations

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Treaty of Utrecht: Rheingold on the Rhine


Canal Parade

100th Anniversary of the Peace Palace

3 August 2-9 July

28 August-21 September

To celebrate July 2013 being the 200th anniversary of the birth of Richard Wagner, a groundbreaking event is taking place on the River Rhine. Two musical performances, Wagner’s opera Das Rheingold and symphonic ­multimedia-event The Wagner Experience are being staged in an enormous cargo ship. The ship is set to tour through Holland and Germany putting on performances in several major cities. Various locations

Amsterdam Gay Pride is one of the most famous celebrations of its kind anywhere around the globe. It is officially the biggest annual event held in the city, traditionally taking place on the first weekend in August. The city is a rainbow of events in gay and straight venues alike, from dance parties to film festivals, sporting events, culture and more. The 2013 theme is ‘Reflect’, encouraging reflection on the beginnings of the LGBT movement and the continuing importance of diversity. The Canal Parade is the festival’s centrepiece, where lavishly decorated­barges give the term ‘float’ a literal meaning. Participants on eighty ­vessels put on a show with their ­onboard DJs, show-stopping themes and p ­ lenty of smiles.

The Peace Palace is the home of the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. During its centennial year several exhibitions and activities will be held in the impressive building itself and at various locations in the city. There will be exhibitions on women and peace, architectural designs for the palace­ by international architects, peace ­philanthropists, works by international­ contemporary­artists inspired by peace quotes from famous individuals and at the Historical Museum of The Hague on the Peace Palace’s extraordinary interior. You can visit the Peace Palace in a guided tour (please book in advance) or attend the visitors' centre. Peace Palace and various locations


Prinsengracht and Amstel River

Carnegieplein 2

North Sea Jazz

12-14 July


Switzerland may have Montreux but Holland has North Sea Jazz, the largest indoor jazz festival in the world. Sarah Vaughan and Stan Getz appeared at the first edition in 1976. Since then the event has built on its jazz roots to host major artists such as Prince, Stevie Wonder and Lenny Kravitz. Despite its size, it still manages to retain an ­intimate feel across thirteen stages. Ahoy Ahoy-weg 10

125 Years of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra 3 November THE HAGUE

The resident ensemble, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, celebrates its 125th anniversary by premièring a new work by Louis Andriessen (3 November). The orchestra is undertaking a world tour of unprecedented magnitude, becoming the very first orchestra ever to visit all six continents in a single year. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

List of symbols

Crossing Border 13-16 November

Crossing Border festival turns twenty-­one this year. This hybrid of music and literature annually blurs the boundaries between two disciplines by programming writers and musicians, such as Salman Rushdie, Alan Hollinghurst, Patti Smith and David Sylvian. Various locations






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Eat & stay ROTTERDAM

Hotel Rotterdam 25 May-2 June (Wake up in Opera) 28 June-14 July (Wake up in Jazz)

A unique hotel experience in which overnight stays are offered in the studios and homes of the city’s resident artists. That could be Florentijn Hofman, the creator of the giant floating Rubber Duck (Osaka 2009); award-winning artist duo V&B; or ‘car sculptor’ Olaf Mooij. Where you’ll be staying is only revealed once the booking is confirmed. In 2013 Hotel Rotterdam offers Wake up in Opera (25 May-2 June) and Wake up in Jazz (28 June-14 July). Various locations




Hotel de Goudfazant

Hotel Des Indes

Not a hotel, in fact, but a water­front restaurant within an office-­fashioned industry-meets-chic interior occupying a vast warehouse in Amsterdam-Noord (North Amsterdam). Imagi­native dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients are complemented by an eclectic wine list and make for a delightful graze whether you’re a fish lover, carnivore or vegetarian.

If you’re after old-fashioned elegance, with service to match, then this is the place to stay in The Hague. First built as a palace in 1853, this luxurious hotel has been the preferred destination for royalty and celebrities for the last 130 years. High Tea, including a mouth­ watering array of pastries and petit fours, is served daily. Lange Voorhout 54-56

Aambeeldstraat 10H UTRECHT

Keuken & Deli


The Penthouse

Superb à la carte dining is offered on the 42nd floor of the Hague Tower at the Penthouse; the highest restaurant in the country. It boasts spectacular views over the city, and state-of-the-art projections on its windows, as well as a balcony. At weekends DJs spin and the vibe is decidedly urban and cool.

A black-and-white tiled wall, huge weighing scales, and tables made from vintage sewing machines lend this restaurant a charming retro feel. Great pride is taken in preparing the food – from the daily baked French bread to the organic grill and extensive­ charcu­terie. Vegetarians are well catered for. Oosterkade 30


Rijswijkseplein 786

Hotel The Exchange ROTTERDAM

Nieuw Rotterdams Café (NRC)


Hotel The Exchange is an independent­ design hotel in central Amsterdam that playfully weaves together fashion and architecture in unique rooms ranging from one to five stars. Together with Stock and OPTIONS! the hotel forms a design destination in central Amsterdam. Launched in 2011, the trio is located in interconnected buildings on the Damrak, one of the liveliest and oldest streets in the city.

Hotel Dom

This luxury design hotel can be found in the heart of the city, behind an eighteenth-century facade. In fact it’s just around the corner from Utrecht’s famous Dom Tower, hence the name. It has eleven stylish suites – two of which have a private terrace – plus an in-house restaurant and cocktail bar.

Damrak 50

Housed in the former office of the NRC newspaper, this two-floor café calls itself the ‘living room of the Witte de Withstraat’, the city’s artistic­ street. A variety of colourful spaces­ and d ­ esigner furniture attracts a ­stylish, discerning crowd all day until late into the night. Wherever possible,­ the menu is devised using organic ­ingredients and sustainable fish.

Domstraat 4 Witte de Withstraat 63

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Holland & Russia


Peter the Great, an Inspired Tsar 9 March-13 September

a great many high-quality activities.

This major exhibition devoted to Peter the Great (1672-1725) depicts an inquisitive and transformational­ Russian Tsar who drew inspiration from Amsterdam and leading figures in Dutch society when founding St. Petersburg. The influence of the West is portrayed through a number of his personal effects.

One of the highlights in Holland

Hermitage Amsterdam

Holland and Russia are giving a big boost to their cultural ties in 2013 with

is, of course, the exhibition in the

Hermitage Amsterdam, the prominent Western satellite of the Hermitage


Russia XL

Museum of St. Petersburg. In the fall, the emphasis will be on a wide range of Dutch art in Russia, including exhibitions, performances and film screenings. While you’re here in Holland, become acquainted with the artists that the Russians will soon be going to see!

24 May-27 October

With Russia XL , The Hague Sculpture and the Beelden aan Zee Museum are presenting a selection of work by established names and young talents. The participating artists ­include AES+F, Grisha Bruskin, Andrei Filippov, Dmitri Gutov, Alexander Kosolapov, Oleg Kulik, Boris Orlov, Sergey Shekhovtsov, Leonid Sokov, Alexander Taratynov and Vadim Zakharov. Museum Beelden aan Zee is showing a rich variety of objects, installations and other ­spatial work. Monumental work is on view free of charge on the stately tree-lined ­L ange Voorhout. Museum Beelden aan Zee and on the Lange Voorhout

List of symbols






Also being presented in Russia, are dance performances by the Nederlands Dans Theater, con­ certs by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, celebrating its 125th anniversary, shows by the dance company Guy & Roni, work by artist Aernout Mik, creations by fashion designers Iris van Herpen, Lucas Ossendrijver and lots more.

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Group Portraits of Amsterdam’s Elite from the Golden Age

The Big Change – Revolutions in Russian Painting, 1895-1917

Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival 5-8 September

1 June-1 October

The Golden Age and the Russian Year are converging in an exhibition of group portraits of influential Amsterdammers from the Golden Age, presented at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. These paintings of civic guards are from the collection of the Amsterdam Museum, where a large show on the Golden Age is on view through 31 August.

Through 11 August

Paintings by masters like Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky and Vladimir Tatlin hang next to less well-known artists such as Natalia Goncharova, Ilya Mashkov, Vasily Denisov and Aristarkh Lentulov. Some ninety paintings are on loan from ­various Russian museum collections, such as the famous Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow and the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.

A large-scale festival that will have a distinctly Russian flavour this year. The conductor at the heart of this unique symphonic music festival – the ­inde­­fatigable Valery Gergiev – is celebrating­his twenty-fifth year in Holland as well as turning sixty. The festival’s cosmopolitan programming always ensures artists of international­ standing. Various locations

Bonnefantenmuseum Hermitage St. Petersburg


Distance between cities

1 km = 0.6214 mi

Amsterdam to AMSTERDAM

Toneelgroep Amsterdam – The Seagull by Chekhov 13-23 June (20 June with English surtitles)

The internationally celebrated director Thomas Ostermeier is tackling a Chekhov play for the first time as guest director for Holland’s most prominent theatre company. In the fall, Toneelgroep Amsterdam is taking­ two shows to Russia: De Russen! (The Russians!), a radical adaptation of Chekhov’s Ivanov and Platonov, and Scenes from a Marriage, the classic work by Ingmar Bergman. Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam


Holland in Russia Mondrian and Abstract Art 19 September-24 November

As one of the three pioneers of ­abstract art, Piet Mondrian is the most important Dutch artist of the 20th century. The two other pioneers were Russians: Kandinsky and Malevich. The exhibition comprises­ works by Mondrian on loan from Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, the ­municipal museum of The Hague, home base for De Stijl, the group ­centred around Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg.

Rotterdam The Hague Utrecht London Paris St. Petersburg

Rotterdam to Amsterdam The Hague Utrecht London Paris St. Petersburg


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74 km 24 km 56 km 470 km 443 km 1825 km

The Hague to Amsterdam Rotterdam Utrecht London Paris St. Petersburg

63 km 24 km 63 km 497 km 469 km 1822 km

Utrecht to Amsterdam Rotterdam The Hague London Paris St. Petersburg

Tretyakov Gallery

74 km 63 km 40 km 532 km 504 km 1771 km

40 km 56 km 63 km 496 km 469 km 1778 km


this is my home

This Is my Home An Expat Perspective

Like many expats living in Holland, Nigel Bagley, f­ell in love with the Lowlands, ­particularly with its life of the arts and ­culture. After living in Amsterdam with his wife for twelve years, in a canal house filled with contemporary a ­ rtworks, he can offer a unique perspective on Dutch cultural attitudes.

Mr. Bagley (Scotland, 1959), direc­ tor of industry affairs at Unilever, and his wife are cultural omnivores, one day getting down with The Killers in the Ziggo Dome, the next day attend­ ing the opera, and the next scouring ­local galleries for new works by littleknown artists. ‘Prior to coming to Amsterdam we lived in New York and London, so we are familiar with those fantastic cultural cities,’ he says in his living room looking out over Prinsengracht. ‘My awareness of Dutch culture was just about zero. I had been taught about Rembrandt and Van Gogh at school, but who was interested?

‘I remember our first weekend here. We arrived on a Sunday and at night we went out for something to eat and there wasn’t a single place open. And then it rained for three months. We thought: we can’t live here. Luckily we’d agreed to stay for two years. After a few months we started to see a different side of Amsterdam; it was the arts and the culture that changed our minds. ‘The main quality of Dutch culture that appealed to us, compared to London or New York, is just how accessible it is. People here would always say that Amsterdam is just like a village, and they meant that in a very negative way. But I think that’s actually very charming. You

As an expat, you should also give back, not just take

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this is my home

can go out on a Saturday afternoon and visit the galleries and the museums, and they’re all minutes away. In the evenings there are world-class concerts, performances and the most fantastic events, all within walking distance. And in all these places you often see the same people, so it’s easy to meet up with them and to keep in touch. That’s a great charm, and something you can’t do in New York or London.’ Bagley and his wife stayed on after their first two years. They bought the apartment they were living in. ‘I dislike being called an expat, because this is my home.’ Bagley has seen a great deal of change in Amsterdam’s cultural institutions over the last decade, and most of it for the better. ‘Take the Van Gogh Museum for instance: it was a nice place, but suddenly they started opening on Friday evenings. So when we have visitors for the weekend, could there be a nicer way to commence their stay than go to a museum and have a drink? So you start spending more time in the places you already love. And you also have a fantastic cultural plus in Holland: the Museumkaart, with which you can visit almost any museum free of charge for a small yearly subscription fee. So you can say: I’m going to the Rijksmuseum again today just to see that painting of the winter scene by Avercamp with the man having a crap.’ “When Foam opened ten years ago it was quite a different building to most of the museums in the city, and the way they presented their exhibitions was unique; more modern, less musty. As a photography museum it’s in the top league with ICP in New York or the Photographers’ Gallery in London. But the astonishing thing is: just down the road there’s Huis Marseille, and in The Hague there’s another photo museum, and in Rotterdam another. So you have four fantastic photo museums in an area the size of greater London. That’s incredible.’

Marjolein Rothman, Boy, 2005, private collection Nigel Bagley

Amsterdam is like a village and that’s very charming

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this is my home

As an art collector Bagley spends a lot of time in local galleries. Again, accessibility is the key. ‘When you walk anywhere in Holland, you can look into people’s homes because no-one closes their curtains. And many, many people have paintings on their walls. There’s a culture here of art purchase at all levels, which doesn’t exist in the US or the UK. This is reflected in the art galleries: many focus on young artists, there’s no snootiness and the prices are realistic.’

How can a country so small manage to do all of this?

Bagley has even become an evangelist of sorts for Dutch culture, especially the performing arts. ‘Some of the best dance I’ve ever seen was by the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) with choreographers Lightfoot and León. We have friends in London and Germany who now go to the NDT because we told them how good it is. But there’s so much more: The National Ballet, Conny Janssen, Emio Greco, The Netherlands Opera. How can a country so small manage to do all of this?

Bagley also returns the favour in another way. He contributes to the famous Grachtenfestival, during which classical concerts take place every summer on pontoons in the Amsterdam canals. ‘During the festival people opened their homes for inhouse concerts. Violinist Lisa Jacobs, then unknown, now a soloist with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, played in our living room for 36 visitors. It was a sunny day, and I sat in the open window and saw people on the street stop and listen to the music. That was a wonderful experience and it really felt like the essence of Dutch cultural life.’

‘Part of the answer is government subsidies. I’ve lived very well, having my entertainment delivered by Dutch arts subsidies. And I believe strongly that as an expat, you shouldn’t only come in for two or three years and take things, you should also give back. So we sent a letter to the Holland Festival which we enjoyed very much, saying we’d like to give back some of the subsidy they spent on us. ‘Shortly after that we received a phone call, and the Festival said that nobody had ever written to them offering to become a sponsor. So you can see that in Holland a culture of giving is still in its infancy. So the money you give is really well received. In London you can sponsor something and no one from the institution you support will ever talk to you. In Holland there’s a coyness about asking for your money that I find rather endearing.’

More to Explore The I amsterdam City Card is your key to Amsterdam. Valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours, this card includes a city map, unlimited use of the public transport system and free entrance to Amsterdam’s best museums and attractions.

The Rotterdam Welcome Card offers discounts at 50 attractions, museums, restaurants and places of enter­ tainment in Rotterdam and 1, 2 or 3 days of unlimited travel with public transport. Photography museum Foam enables people all over the world to experience and enjoy photography, whether it's at the museum in Amsterdam, through Foam Magazine or on the website

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KLM’s home is voted Europe’s number one airport When you fly with KLM, chances are you’ll pass through Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. In 2012, it was once again proclaimed best airport in Europe. That’s mainly due to its efficient single terminal layout, which ensures every traveler enjoys the most comfortable experience possible. Welcome to our home. Visit for more information.

NICK - KNACK ONE LINE, MANY POSSIBILITIES One line, many possibilities: in the ‘70s cartoon La Linea, Osvaldo Cavandoli made a little man come alive from one line of his pen. Nick-Knack, the new floor lamp of Lirio, is inspired by the same idea: starting from a straight line, Nick-Knack can be twisted into 16 different positions. Available in 5 vivid colors, this playful floor lamp brings direct and indirect lighting - to read a book or to create a nice atmosphere in your home. Combining smart design with LED, Nick-Knack is the first line of a great story. Lirio by Philips presents you a unique collection of lighting designs that inspire you to Create Light and Control Shadow.

Find your dealer at



tune merchants

T une e M rchant s Subbacultcha! is an independent, multidisciplinary music and culture platform from Amsterdam. It produces a free monthly music magazine and organizes and promotes concerts and exhibitions throughout Holland and Belgium. It runs a label, releasing music, art, and photography in various formats. Its main goal is to use its platform to promote challenging, uncompromising, cutting-edge artists and provide them with the audience they deserve. Subbacultcha! explores the contemporary Dutch music world. – Carly Blair is a chemist turned writer and editor from Arizona who has been trying to shove her square peg-shaped American-ness into Amsterdam’s round hole for the past four years. text

Welcome to Holland, home of a contempo­ rary music scene as surprisingly diverse, tol­ erant, and modest as the Dutch themselves. While the Dutch are extremely interested in international music and Holland hosts many performances by artists from all around the world, Dutch music is rarely heard beyond the nation’s borders. Trade remains a cornerstone of the Dutch economy. However, while the re-exporting of foreign goods has increased fivefold since 1990, the export of Dutch goods has hardly changed, and re-exporting adds little net value to the economy. Analogously, the most internationally famous figures in the Dutch music industry are DJs, which hasn’t really helped build the international reputa­ tion of the Dutch music scene.

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When Dutch bands aspire to international success they sing in English, a handicap that often results in mediocre lyrics and wide­ spread covering and copying of artists from the US and UK. Dutch music is little known internationally because the bands signed to bigger Dutch labels and/or embraced by major Dutch media outlets, are often either mediocre copycats, or they sing in Dutch. Meanwhile, the handful of quality bands interested in reaching an international au­ dience tend to be badly promoted outside Holland. The promotion problem is made worse by the fact that almost all the decent music press in Holland is only available in Dutch, and, well, even Dutch people will tell foreigners not to bother learning Dutch.


tune merchants

This self-effacing attitude to their own language hints at their deep-seated Calvinist modesty. Two com­ mon Dutch expressions seem particularly relevant: boerenkool mentaliteit (cabbage mentality) reflects the self-focused nature and scepticism of the outside world rooted in Dutch culture, while the concept of the maaiveld (poppy field) reflects the tendency to view the proud or ambitious as arrogant and needing to be cut down to everyone else’s level. One can imagine how this might hinder young Dutch musicians from as­ piring to make and daring to disseminate great music beyond their own borders. But there is reason for hope. Interesting things are happening, albeit under the radar, and entities rang­ ing from Eurosonic Noorderslag to Subbacultcha! are working to build international audiences for up-andcoming Dutch acts and local audiences for under­ ground artists from abroad. Holland is also one of the most internet-connected countries in the world. Much as colonialism and trade caused the traditional Dutch diet of potatoes, cabbage and sausage to become infused with exotic spices and ingredients, all this ex­ posure to the outside world will presumably lead to a more exciting Dutch music scene in the years to come.

The four largest Dutch cities The Dutch landscape may be famously flat and the major part of it below sea level, but the same cannot be said of the country’s diverse and sometimes extraordinary musical topography. Some beautiful stuff is happening in the music scenes of the four largest Dutch cities. Amsterdam tends to overshadow the rest of the country when it comes to music, and not without reason, since on any given night there are dozens of concerts and DJs sets in every imaginable genre happening around the city. Classic venues like Paradiso and Melkweg host many of the major bands passing through town and are the focal points of festivals like Amsterdam Dance Event, 5 Days Off, and Indiestad. The Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ hosts contemporary classical concerts in a spectacular setting, while its neighbour the Bimhuis stages jazz concerts and regular jam sessions. Meanwhile, small promoters like Subbacultcha! regularly book shows at underground clubs like De Nieuwe Anita, OT301, and OCCII.

Rotterdam is the nation’s second largest city and one of the biggest ports in the world. Since it is home to the country’s most ethnically diverse population, and was rebuilt in a predominantly modern style after wartime destruction, it is the city with the least traditionally Dutch feel in Holland. All that diversity and dynamism is apparently inspiring. Rotterdam has the nation’s richest hip hop scene, and its relatively new Buma Rotterdam Beats Festival aims to transform this working class city into the epicenter of hip hop from Europe and beyond. It also has perhaps the most productive experimental music scene in the country, with venues like WORM, Roodkapje, and the Poortgebouw regularly hosting shows and an active and ever-evolving scene centred around the Samling Recordings label. Rotterdam has also been home to the legendary North Sea Jazz Festival since 2006, as well as the free Metropolis pop festival and the more experimental Motel Mozaique. Although Utrecht is only the fourth largest Dutch city in terms of population, it is second only to Amsterdam in terms of the number of cultural events it hosts. It is increasingly common for touring bands to skip Amsterdam in favor of playing in one of Utrecht’s many great venues, which range from Vredenburg’s huge but temporary concert space on the city’s outskirts and the large concert hall and former squatted church Tivoli Oudegracht to smaller venues like Tivoli de Helling, EKKO, dB’s, and underground squat venue ACU. For a whirlwind tour of Utrecht’s venues, big and small, a trip to the annual Le Guess Who? indie music festival is highly recommended, since it makes use of nearly all of them and is one of the finest festivals the country has to offer. Catching a show in Utrecht sooner rather than later may also be wise, since the city plans to consolidate much of its music scene within the massive, nearly completed

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tune merchants

Dance Music While most Dutch music remains below the international radar, the one glaring exception is dance music. Chicago house, Detroit techno, and UK rave culture infiltrated Holland in the late 80s, and the Dutch did more than just collaborate with the occupiers: dance music has become Holland’s biggest cultural export. First off, the Dutch have mastered the art of DJing. DJ Magazine’s Top 20 DJs of 2012 included eight Dutchmen, and each one of these superstars, who include current #1 Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Afrojack, Hardwell, Headhunterz, and Nicky Romero, spin at parties around the world. Besides helping to make trance a household genre, Dutch DJs invented gabber, their own specifically Dutch and particularly influential offshoot of early hardcore techno. Amsterdam promoters ID&T got their start organizing the seminal hardcore and gabber Thunderdome parties back in 1992, and have since gone on to organize some of the biggest dance events in the world, such as the more house-oriented Sensation and Mysteryland parties.

Vredenburg music complex, and whether or not this will involve shutting down several of the city’s existing venues remains uncertain. The Hague hosts a surprisingly large number of music festivals throughout the year. Far from the edgiest Dutch city, The Hague is mostly known as a stronghold of mainstream Dutch music, since it is the hometown of early crossover successes like Golden Earring and Shocking Blue as well as the annual Beatstad festival. However, its largest venue, Het Paard van Troje, does host the occasional alternative show, and with the PIP cultural podium holding warehouse dance parties with good DJs, and more and more festivals popping up focused on innovative music and art, such as Rewire, Crossing Border, State-X New Forms, Walk the Line, and TodaysArt, The Hague is shaping up to be a cultural capital. With first class festivals and bustling local music scenes in Groningen, Nijmegen, Tilburg, Haarlem, and Eindhoven as well, in Holland you’re never far from something great for the music lover.

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The all-encompassing Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) is electronic music’s biggest club festival, staged at a staggering 75 clubs and venues within Amsterdam, and is the world’s largest electronic music conference, attracting over 3000 professionals, 200,000 visitors and a thousand artists from around the world each year. Amsterdam’s 5 Days Off Festival is more compact than ADE but with an equally highquality lineup. Throughout the year the Amsterdam-based magazine DJ Broadcast is a key Dutch-language reference for all matters electronica. Influential local labels Rush Hour and Clone have rosters featuring talent from Holland and beyond, and their shops, as well as the Redlight Complex in Amsterdam, are key gathering points for local vinyl enthusiasts, DJs, and musicians. Partly because it’s destined to be torn down, but more so for its Berlin-style, post-industrial vibes, Trouw is perhaps Holland’s most special club, and many of the finest DJs and electronic artists touring the Lowlands have graced one of its stages. The Dutch also produce some high quality material in their own right, ranging from early stand-outs like Speedy J and Dutch D&B pioneers Black Sun Empire


tune merchants

to newer acts poised for international success, such as Noisia, Martyn, Tom Trago, Nobody Beats the Drum, and NON Records artists Palmbomen and Thomas Azier. Meanwhile, Italian-French import Stellar Om Source has garnered a good deal of positive press.

City festivals A typical festival, such as Lowlands, conjures up images of a wide open space, far from the responsibilities and routine of city life, camping for several days in tents filled with friends, and parties that last into the wee hours of the morning, but also of stinking portable toilets, lines for showers so long you trade them half the time for an extra spray of deodorant, mud-encrusted flip-flops, and packing up amid mounds of litter. For those made queasy by all that communal filth and weary by the festival grounds’ (and your initial enthusiasm’s) inevitable decay, a welcome trend in Holland is the city festival. The advantages are many: relatively convenient locations; affordability; eating whatever you want; sleeping in a real bed, or couchsurfing with an enthusiastic and knowledgeable local, washing in a real shower and doing your business in a toilet that actually flushes; seeing shows in real, often unique venues; exploring a place you might want to visit anyhow;

and rubbing elbows or maybe even sharing a beer with a favorite band, because there’s more for the musicians to do than just hang out backstage. More city festivals are popping up in Holland each year. For example, beyond its adventurous programme, Motel Mozaique offers festivalgoers the additional adventure of sleeping in unusual locations all over Rotterdam (think tree huts or shop windows). The Hague newcomer Rewire stages its exciting mix of experimental rock and electronica in unconventional locations like warehouses and parking garages. Amsterdam-based festivals like Amsterdam Dance Event and Indiestad offer rich lineups in their respective genres at prices much more affordable than usual, but since they take place at all the standard locations they attract a lot of bargain-hunting regulars, and have a lot to learn about coziness from the maestros: Incubate and Le Guess Who? Incubate, Tilburg’s annual celebration of cuttingedge culture, has developed a rabid following for its deep and impressively diverse line-up and for its unbridled sense of adventure, which brings genuinely progressive music, dance, film and visual arts to an international audience in an intimate atmosphere. Meanwhile, Le Guess Who? fills Utrecht’s peaceful streets with festival-goers hustling between venues in the hope of witnessing a staggering selection of today’s finest independent bands, and the excitement of doing so is made all the more endearing by the festival’s charming location in what Lonely Planet ranked among the ten most unsung places in the world. A good city festival experience is kind of like backpacking with friends, if while backpacking you were also able to catch dozens of excellent performances. Instead of leaving the festival feeling burned out and somewhat anxious to get back to city life, you feel you’ve just experienced city life as it’s meant to be, and can’t wait for next year.

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tune merchants

Internet and Music in Holland The internet is hugely influential in Holland, the most internet-connected country in Europe and one of the best connected in the world. A whopping 96% of Dutch households are connected to the internet, and 87% of the population uses it every day. With 42% of Dutch people using smart phones and 27% using tablets, and both those percentages rising steeply, a huge part of the Dutch population is online all the time. The Dutch love using the internet to listen to music and watch films and TV so much, they would rather place a home-copying tax of no more than five euros on every device that could potentially be used to illegally copy videos and music than explicitly forbid illegal downloading, much less try to track down pirates individually in the style of the US’s RIAA witch hunts.

For those interested in more than just singles, 3voor12’s Luisterpaal streams a regularly rotating selection of dozens of new albums (often Benelux exclusives) from Dutch and international artists ranging from mainstream to underground, and is unique enough to serve as a reference for international taste­ making music sites such as And for underground lovers, Red Light Radio is a little red beacon in the darkness. This internet radio station, which broadcasts from a former prostitutes’ window in the heart of Amsterdam’s Red Light District, features shows programmed by major Dutch DJs and musicians, guest DJ sets and in-studio performances from touring international artists, as well as crate-digging resident DJs spinning tracks you won’t hear anywhere else.

Unsurprisingly, social media and online tools are very popular here – 77% of the Dutch population is on at least one social network, with Facebook being the most popular (68% of adults use it). While many industries are stagnant, web design is flourishing and social media management is emerging as a major field within marketing. All but the tiniest of music-related media have websites and/or social media pages. Even traditional media outlets like TV programmes and radio stations are making active efforts to establish themselves online, offering streams of their normal programming as well as online exclusives. Much of this media stampede towards the internet has resulted in primitive execution and poorly maintained or simply superfluous content, but a handful of Dutch sites are doing it right, sometimes even building large international audiences. 22Tracks, for example, is a music discovery service founded in Amsterdam which features rotating playlists of 22 tracks each spanning various genres. Voted Startup of the Year in 2011, by early 2012 the site already had over 50,000 daily listeners, and has since expanded to Brussels, London, and Paris. Meanwhile,, another Amsterdam startup, is a superhandy “audio magazine made by music blogs” which can continuously stream music from blogs based on the tracks’ popularity or genre, or can focus on tracks from a single blog.

More to Explore To buy your favorite tracks on vinyl, visit the web­ store of the popular record shops Plato in Utrecht and Concerto in Amsterdam at Listen to music from Holland at music

Subbacultcha! uses its platform to promote challenging, uncompromising, cutting edge artists and provide them with the audience that they deserve.

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View more with

behind the scenes


Behind the scenes Paris is known for its haute couture; they call London the capital of street style. But what about Amsterdam? Since 2004, the city has been steadily building its international reputation as a fashion destination by holding the biannual Amsterdam Fashion Week.

– Marieke Verhoeven is a freelance writer for the newspaper De Volkskrant and magazines including ELLE, Ode and Schiphol Magazine. She writes about work and career, travel, human-interest stories, lifestyle trends, technology, art and fashion. She studied Communication, Policy and Organizational Science at the Faculty of Social Science, Vrije Universiteit and completed a PhD Program in Newspaper Journalism at Erasmus University, Rotterdam. text

– Jan Willem Kaldenbach has been an all-round photographer for over twenty years, with an old-school, technical background. He has Masters degree in ­Portraits, Reportage and Fashion.


Amsterdam Fashion Week Every January and July, fashion’s finest unite at the impressive Gashouder in the Westerpark for ‘Uptown’, a series of fashion shows by both established and young designers. Fashion lovers not lucky enough to have secured a front row seat can enjoy themselves at the many ‘Downtown’ events, organized all over the city centre. Amsterdam Fashion Week, with its fashion shows, trade fairs, presentations, lectures, a private training program and a business program, always aims to find a balance between creativity and commerce. And it is not limited to those two weeks. Amsterdam Fashion Week organizes on- and offline activities all year round. So even if you’re not in town during the fashion season, you can still keep up to date with what’s happening in Dutch fashion. Arts Holland Magazine put on its classiest outfit and stepped into the world of Amsterdam Fashion Week, visiting shows by two established brands and three talented young designers. p 70

behind the scenes

People of the Labyrinths

They’re a household name in Dutch fashion: People of the Labyrinths (POTL). Hans Demoed and Geert de Rooij started their label back in 1984 and are known for their handprinted and hand-dyed creations. Impervious to short-term trends and hypes, Demoed and De Rooij have always set their own course. And successfully so. Their sharp graphic prints and unique colours are never out of fashion and have gained them a faithful group of adherents.

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behind the scenes

Claes Iversen

It’s no wonder the creations of Claes Iversen are loved by many Dutch celebrities. With his superfeminine silhouette, luxurious use of material and a great eye for detail, Iversen creates a perfect balance between ready-to-wear and haute couture. Actresses Carice van Houten and Sylvia Hoeks are big fans of his designs. In the Claes Iversen salon on Amsterdam’s Herengracht he welcomes them and other private clientele for unique made-to-measure pieces.

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behind the scenes

Marga Weimans

Is it fashion, or is it art? With Marga Weimans’ designs, you can never be too sure. By combining fashion, architecture, design and fine arts, Weimans creates spectacular architectural showpieces and minimalist dresses. Her work is characterized by a highly innovative use of wood, iron, resin, semi-precious stones, fibreglass and her own fabrics and prints. Fortunately she also has a prêt-a-porter collection that’s very wearable off the runway.

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behind the scenes

Cold Method

Cold Method is one of those brands that feels as if it’s been around for­ ever. The immense success of this men’s label throughout Europe and the US makes it feel like a classic even though it dates back only to 2007. By combining quality and design with a luxurious look and feel, Cold Method creates clothing that’s both affordable and fashionforward. Head designer Dieter de Cock (Viktor & Rolf, Blue Blood) is convinced that every man can look stylish – and to judge his collection, he’s probably right.

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Sjaak Hullekes

Watching a Sjaak Hullekes show is like taking a journey back in time. With his love of classical looks, materials and colours, Hullekes creates a men’s look that is both nostalgic and stylish. Craftsmanship is highly important to Hullekes, as is evident from his perfectly fitting suits. At his store in Arnhem he sells his classic line of made-to-measure suits and shirts.

More to Explore The Amsterdam Fashion Week is held twice a year, in January & July. For dates and information, visit Another art initiative that is worthwhile visiting is salon/1, a showcase for art, fashion and design, with editions in Amsterdam, Aruba, Istanbul and Buenos Aires. is the online platform of the Arnhem Fashion Biennial, of which the 2013 edition will be on Fetishism in fashion, with Lidewij Edelkoort as curator. p 75


orange in transit

Orange in Transit It was a pleasant reunion with a much-loved old friend. The new Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam has now reopened after years of closure for renovation. You could suddenly stand face-to-face again with a stunning work by Willem de Kooning: Rosy-Fingered Dawn at Louse Point, an abstractexpressionist painting that refers to one of De Kooning’s favourite places on Long Island in New York. Willem de Kooning was born and raised in Rotterdam. Yet you could hardly call him a Dutch artist. As a house painter and interior designer, he did establish a firm foundation for his later career, but his life as an artist began only after his emigration to the United States as a young man in his twenties. Rosy-Fingered Dawn at Louse Point is the first of his works to be bought by a European museum. This Dutch-born American artist loosely illustrates one of the findings of a recent We are not so study: while Holland might be too attached to ‘Dutch small for artists with serious ambitions of conquering the world, it is Art’ if ‘Art from Holland’ can tell a great starting point for an international career. The world is steadily a better story internationally growing smaller, but in today’s international art world it still matters where you live and work. Even the most nomadic considerably over the years and, as a result, so has the internaartist needs a place to start from in order to be able tional visibility of Dutch artists. However, researchers at the to arrive somewhere. So, Holland actually would Erasmus University in Rotterdam recently stated that in the not seem to be a bad place at all to start. It is one of visual arts this mainly concerns a select vanguard whose work is the most globalized countries on earth, connected primarily shown offshore. That vanguard includes many foreign with both the major centres and the furthest out- artists who live and work in Holland. posts. Monetarily, this position has enabled us to Just as Willem de Kooning once boarded a ship to the States to hold our own quite well in these times of crisis. seek his fortune there, many up-and-coming foreign artists arBut is Holland also a transit country for culture? rive here every year. Usually their reason for coming to Holland Are you really able to get from here to somewhere is a study programme or a residency at renowned institutions like the Rijksakademie or the Sandberg Institute. Many foreign else? To immediately answer that last ques- artists stay on here to work, and as a result they become part of tion: yes. The export of Dutch art has increased the Dutch national art scene without breaking their ties with p 76


orange in transit

places and countries elsewhere in the world. Those ties buoy up Holland’s position in the international arts. The researchers in Rotterdam also examined the visibility of different countries at international art events. It turned out that in the period from 1980 to 2010, no less than 40% of the artists sent by Holland to biennales came from abroad. Apparently we are not so attached to ‘Dutch Art’ if ‘Art from Holland’ can tell a better

Holland is a great starting point for an international career story internationally. Marlene Dumas is just as dear to us as Atelier van Lieshout; Steve McQueen is not called a ‘black British artist’ here but an ‘Amsterdam- and London-based artist’; and the fact that one of Holland’s representatives for a Venice Biennale has since returned to his native Mexico will not keep us from selecting talented international residents here for other national presentations, or including them in overviews of activities abroad that come from Holland. The United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and, to a certain extent, France are considered centres of the international art world, with New York, Berlin, London and Paris functioning as magnets. And they will not soon lose that position, because what happens there does not go unnoticed. Or it does, but then it’s not worth mentioning – they say. Seldom will you catch a leading institute in one of those art Valhallas spontaneously knowing what is happening in art outside those centres. Luckily, the Dutch are traders, references well used to operating across borders, and with so many foreign - Territorial factors in a globa­ artists in this little country and lised art world? The Visibility of other gatekeepers who are related Countries in International Conto the Dutch art world and in- temporary Art Events by Femke ternational events in one way or van Hest, Erasmus University another, the whole world comes Rotterdam, 2012 - Nederlandse kunst in de within reach just the same. And the masterly work by Willem de wereld 1980 – 2010, valedicKooning hangs in the Stedelijk tory lecture by Ton Bevers at Museum in good and internation- Erasmus University Rotterdam, 7 December 2012 ally famous company. Go see it!

More to Explore Visit the Stedelijk Museum and see Willem de Kooning’s Rosy-Fingered Dawn at Louse Point in the permanent collection. The Rijksakademie organizes RijksakademieOPEN each year in November, opening the studios of its resident artists. This year’s artist to represent Holland at the Venice Biennale is the internationally acclaimed Mark Manders.

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facts & figures

Facts & Figures

At least once a year: 28% of the Dutch visit a theatre; 15% see a comedy show; 13% attend a classical concert; 5% go to a ballet or a house party; 55% visit a cinema; 41% visit a museum. Between 2009 and 2010 61,000 people in Holland worked in the arts as an artist, singer, dancer, musician, DJ, author, choreo­ grapher or photographer.

A selection of titbits from many ­researches into arts and travel in Holland. 16,655,799 Dutchmen and

Airport Amsterdam Schiphol Airport was one of the first airports in the world with a cultural offering. The Rijksmuseum’s Schiphol branch celebrated its tenth anniversary in December 2012. Roughly 175,000 people visit its changing exhibitions every year.

11,300,000 visitors


– Niels Bakkerus

Holland ranks eighth in both The Economist’s 2013 whereto-be-born index and the 2012 Legatum prosperity index.

p 78

Since 2012 visitors have been able to leaf through one of the 1,250 books in twenty-four languages in the Schiphol Airport Library.

Film For the last twenty-five years Amsterdam’s International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) has occupied the city’s cinemas for a ten-day period in November. Locals are eager to get a ticket every year and join international professionals from 81 countries for one of the four hundred screenings at eight festival sites. The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) sold 274,000 tickets for 220 feature films in


facts & figures

2012. In 2013 it showed some 540 films in six cinemas and hosted 774 film professionals from around the globe.

Most Italians and Americans claim visiting museums is their most important activity during their visit to this country.

Nineteen independent art house cinemas in South Holland and Amsterdam have united in Cineville. Together they offer 155 screenings in 49 rooms. Members have free entry to films of any genre; from Lawrence of Arabia to Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry and the latest James Bond.

Amsterdam claims to have the world’s highest museum density. In roughly three square kilometres (1,9 square miles) you can find thirty museums and heritage sites.

Museums Holland counts 773 museums, 518 of them open all year round. Together they present 2,420 exhibitions to 20,540,000 visitors, of whom 5,437,000 are from abroad.

every year, and 27,500 visitors roam the streets for a programme in which young meets old. No fewer than 83% of the visitors claim to have discovered new museums. Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht have similar events.

Spending on art

The largest museum of Holland is the Rijksmuseum (8,030 square metres) but the KröllerMüller might be said to beat it with its 180,000 square metres of land, including a statue garden.

In 2012 11,675 sponsors raised a total of €1,111,834 via online crowdfunding platform Voordekunst, which enables art professionals to fund their projects through donations from individuals and companies. Together they funded 176 projects, ranging from theatre plays to rap albums and poetry set to film.

Once a year, Amsterdam’s museums are open until two o’clock in the morning on what is known as the Museum Night. It sells out p


According to a thesis from 2002, Holland counts approximately 1,000 to 1,500 small-to-medium art collectors, each buying between 300 and 750 works of art in their lives. According to the same thesis, 40% of the interviewed art collectors made their first purchase between the ages of twenty and thirty.

Literature 3,996,000 people are members of a public library, including two thirds of all Dutch children. Dutch is the national language. Holland is known for its translation culture. With the support of the Dutch Foundation for


facts & figures

Literature more than a hundred titles a year are translated into Dutch, another two hundred titles a year are translated from Dutch into various languages. Germany, the Scandinavian- and English-speaking countries take the lead, while publishers in Turkey and China are ­showing a growing interest in Dutch literature.

Dutch authors you can readily find in English translation include Arnon Grunberg, Herman Koch, Gerbrand Bakker, Tommy Wieringa, Frank Westerman, Margriet de Moor, Harry Mulisch and Geert Mak.

The library of the Dutch Foundation for Literature (by appointment only) holds some 11,000 translated titles in 75 languages. The mostread Dutch author outside Holland is Cees Nooteboom. Poet Rutger Kopland and 2012 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award winner Guus Kuijer are also well known. Outstanding

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2013 by playing concerts on every continent of the world, the first orchestra ever to do so.

in such places as Australia, the US, Norway, Singapore and Switzerland. Playwright Maria Goos’ play Cloaca (also known as Alte Freunde, Baraka, Amistad or Fuk) has been performed well over 1,300 times in sixteen countries. It has been particularly popular in Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Germany and Holland (of course) where the film adaptation was a great success.

Performing Arts

In the 2012/2013 season the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) is performing 132 plays of which forty are international,

richly the local nightlife. In five days 200,000 visitors join 3,800 conference visitors to go and see some 1,700 artists.

Creative Industry

Music / Nightlife

According to the most recent survey, the Dutch design industry is made up of an estimated 43,000 companies, employing around 261,000 people. The creative sector is growing at twice the rate of the total Dutch economy, currently amounting to around 2% of GDP.

The Amsterdam Dance Event is said to be the world’s leading conference about electronic dance music, and its seventyfive participating clubs it adds

The share of the creative industry in total national employment is, at 3.6%, the highest in Europe. 62% of the French and British, and 75% of the American visitors

p 80


facts & figures

like Holland for its architecture and design.

Lady Gaga is another of Van Herpen’s fans.

Amsterdam is becoming known as the world’s jeans capital. It is the home of prominent European bases of Levi’s and Tommy Hilfiger, and the headquarters of G-Star, the innovative Glue Jeans and a new innovation and training platform called House of Denim.

A couple of noteworthy buildings by Dutch architects: the CCTV Tower in Beijing by Rem Koolhaas’ OMA, the Dutch Pavilion at the Hannover World Expo 2000 by MVRDV and the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart by UNStudio.

Dutch Design is characterized as being humorous (ironic), prag­ matic (consensus-oriented), con­ ceptual (design derived from a core idea), simple (less is more, outside the box (bending the rules). Björk is seen in dresses by fashion designer Iris van Herpen on the covers of her recent releases.

the Arts The Hague (4), Design Academy Eindhoven (8) and the Amsterdam School of Arts (9). The Design Academy Eindhoven (founded in 1947) and TU Delft (founded in 1969) are amongst the world’s most renowned providers of design courses. The first is housed in a converted Philips light-bulb factory; the pedigree of the latter can be traced back to King Willem II.


Sixty visual artists from Holland and abroad get the chance to deepen, broaden and accelerate their artistic practice for two years at The Rijksakademie/ De Ateliers.

In 2011-2012 17,496 people moved to Holland to study. In the top ten schools with the highest percentage of foreign students are five art schools. The Gerrit Rietveld Academie tops the list, followed by Codarts (3), The University of

The Nederlands Dans Theater selects sixty talented dancers out p 81

of 400 applications for its ‘summer intensive’, a two-week course based on the current practice of the company.

sources Statistics Netherlands (2007, 2011, 2012), NBTC (2011, 2012), The Economist (2012), Legatum Institute (2012), Rijksmuseum (2012), Vereniging Openbare Bibliotheken (2012), International Film Festival Rotterdam (2012), Voordekunst (2012), N8 | Museum­ nacht Amsterdam (2012), Renée Steenbergen (2002), Dutch Foundation for Literature (2012), Amsterdam Dance Event (2012), Ministerie van Economische Zaken / SenterNovem (2009), Premsela / TNO (2011), Nuffic (2012)



cobra museum 12.03 02.06 2 013

Š Photo: Anton Corbijn, 2012

voor moder ne kunst muse um of m o de r n a r t





Foto: Jan Willem Kaldenbach


Typografie: Avenir

NBTC Holland Marketing

Er is gekozen voor: • Lettertype Avenir


• Kleur B PMS 445 • NBTC Holland Marketing en NBTC Services in het grote lettertype. Voor NBTC Netherlands B.. enz (de 2 varianten) is gevraagd om de grootte van het lettertype aan te passen; iets groter dan de kleine getoonde variant, maar kleiner dan het grote lettertype. Dit in balans/evenwicht met het tulp Holland logo. Er lijkt nl bij de kleine variant nog wel iets meer ruimte voor de tekst te zijn zonder dat evenwicht met de tulp wordt verstoord.

Editors: Yvette Gieles, Kim Nanne, Taco de Neef, Femke van Woerden-Tausk

Arts Holland Magazine


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Arts Holland Magazine is a coproduction of Arts



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Cultural Activities. This collaboration provides a

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Arts Holland

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Holland they jointly promote Holland internationally as an attractive, cultural destination. Arts Holland is sponsored by the cities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht, the City Region of Amsterdam, the provinces of North-Holland and

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ISSN: 2213-1906

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Copyright: The contributors and the publisher have made every effort to secure permission to reproduce the listed material, illustrations and photographs. We apologize for any inadvertent errors or omissions. Parties who nevertheless believe they can claim specific legal right are invited to contact the publisher.

cultural policy of the Dutch government. SICA stimulates and realises international cultural exchange in collaboration with the (international) cultural field, civil society, the business world and governments. Deneuve Cultural Projects Taco de Neef and Daniël Bouw have been Deneuve Cultural Projects since 2008. They lead projects and elements of projects in the cultural domain. Their fields of work include production, content, communication

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