Discover Benelux, Issue 14, February 2015

Page 43

2_3_DiscoverBenelux_Issue14_January2015_Scan Magazine 1 26/01/2015 19:17 Page 43

Discover Benelux |  Special Theme |  A day at the Museum


The idyllic town of Huizen, just 30 kilometres east of Amsterdam, has a rich cultural history. From intricate old costumes with the typical wide-brimmed hats throughthe tough herring industry to picturesque alleys in the old town centre, Huizen is definitely worth a visit. At Het Huizer Museum, the story is told of how the agricultural town transformed into a thriving fishermen’s community through the use of wonderful paintings, artworks, photographs and old agricultural and fishing tools. The museum also has one whole room dedicated to the evolution of the unique Huizer costumes, including the simple daily garments and the  beautiful  and  elaborate  Sunday  dresses. Some are up to 150 years old. “They have so many  layers,  just  putting  their  hats  on  would easily take the women an hour,” says museum curator Margriet van Seumeren. A new exhibition, opening on 5 September this year, will show how time and religion influenced the clothing. “Older costumes from the

18th century are very colourful, purple for men and red, yellow, green and floral decorations for women. Then when the protestant reformation swept  the  country,  they  became  much  more sober with darker colours,” she explains. Also Henk Bos, a local painter, is well represented at Het Huizer Museum. Known for his still lives, his work became world famous, especially in America. Van Seumeren adds: “His paintings were  used  for  biscuit  tins,  placemats,  beer coasters,  all  sorts.  We  show  this  at  the  museum.” Run  predominantly  by  volunteers,  the  museum  hosts  regular  activities  such  as  workshops,  lectures  and  guided  tours  through  the town. “Our volunteers are all very enthusiastic and love to chat to visitors. This makes a visit much more personal and interesting,” she concludes.

Herman Heijenbrock (1871-1948) Stringing herring in Huizen

The past and future of contemporary art TEXT: BERTHE VAN DEN HURK

Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art is well known for exploring developments in art worldwide, and this year they celebrate their 25th anniversary with a rather special installation. Established in 1990, Witte de With became an international institution because of prestigious exhibitions, publications and educational programmes. “We show not only the past, but also the future of art,” says Defne Ayas, director of Witte de With. “Exhibitions are more than just showing art. The visitor is very much in-

Photo: Bob Goedewaagen

volved and will be moved to think about everything in life.” To celebrate 25 years of innovation and quality in contemporary art, Ayas invited wellknown Dutch artist (albeit based in Berlin) Willem de Rooij to present his new installation Character Is Fate, which showcases the astrological birth chart Piet Mondrian made in 1911. Ayas: “It gets really exciting between 2.15 and 2.30 pm, every day. A special display system that relates to the solar calendar allows for Mondrian’s birth chart to be illuminated by the sun.”

Illustration: Apfel

In 1911 Mondrian was about to move to Paris and leave his native country, the Netherlands, behind. Born under the sign of Pisces on 7 March 1872, he was, according to his horoscope, “very susceptible and had psychic tendencies”. The actual chart is on loan from the Dutch Institute for Art History (RKD) in The Hague. Character Is Fate also visualizes Witte de With’s physical position in relation to the sun. Ayas: “Witte de With’s birth chart will tell us what the next 25 years will bring. It is really worth it, I promise.”

Defne Ayas. Photo: Else Kramer

Issue 14 |  February 2015 |  43

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