Editor’s pick: Museum Voorlinden

Since September 2016, the Dutch city of The Hague welcomed a new exciting museum named Voorlinden. Permanent and temporary collections, the impressive library and the restoration workshop are housed in a modern square glass building of Kraaijvanger architect Dirk Jan Postel amid a beautiful property surrounded by woods, meadows, dunes and a flower gardens.

Until March 26 you can discover the Full Moon exhibition showing part of the permanent collection. More than 40 art works from various periods, movements and styles brought together for the first time. Ai Weiwei, Michaël Borremans, Andy Warhol, Marcel Broodthaers, Magritte, Damien Hirst, Pyke Koch, to name a few. It is up to the visitor to make the connections.

Say Cheese! is a remarkable solo exhibition by Englishman Martin Creed you can only start to visit by first crossing a room half-filled with big blue balloons, which make you loose all sense of direction. A fun experience when you do not suffer from claustrophobia or when you can use some volume in your hair. To us, a perfect start for a show full of humor, chaos, self-mockery and a critical but playful view on society. One of the works consists of 1000 colourful broccoli stamps, which you can even try out yourself in a “family” fun workshop at the museum. When eventually dry, your own broccoli print is sent by post. We bet the vegetable will be much more appreciated by your children afterwards. This exhibition runs until May 7th.

A number of works have specially been created for the museum and are thus permanently installed. Do not expect static works but experience art, as the guides refer to them. One is Couple under an umbrella by Ron Mueck, showing a detailed giant scaled lifelike sculpture of an elderly couple, which leaves everyone speechless. Not that you are expected to be quiet!The 216 tons of curved steel plates used for the Open Ended maze of American artist Richard Serra, produce a really loud echo when exploring from the inside (something I only found out after I launched my scariest moohaha-laugh chasing my daughter when walking through the sculpture. #embarrassing). Leandro Erlich’s Swimming Pool – that you can experience both from above as under the water – as well as the bustling mini elevators by Maurizio Cattelan and the instrument-less orchestra installation Sigh by Sam Taylor-Johnson are not only fresh and hilarious, they fascinate.

Good to know:

  • Voorlinden Museum is open daily from 11 to 17h.
  • As an adult, you pay € 15, youngsters between 13 and 18 years get a 50% discount, free visits for anyone under 12 years of age.
  • The restaurant, located in the historic manor house you will find entering the property serves good food
  • The museum’s garden was designed by landscape architect Piet Oudolf, known for his design for the Highline in New York and the Millennium Park in Chicago. The surrounding forests, dune grassland and dune areas are open as long as you stay on the well-maintained paths.
  • The museum library, designed by Andrea Milani, counts more than 40,000 titles on the different artists showcased or preserved in the museum’s collection. To this day the library is still closed to the public, but is said to open its door to the public soon.
  • Not far from the Voorlinden Museum, you can explore Clingenbosch, a sculpture garden where you can see sixty modern and contemporary statues. Berlinde De Bruyckere especially made her first outdoor sculpture for the Clingenbosch garden. Unfortunately the sculptures can only be visited on Thursday afternoon from May to October, always accompanied by a guide.
  • More information: www.voorlinden.nl

No clue how to enthuse your child(ren) for a day at the museum? This is how we seem to have tackled it…

  • As the saying goes: practice makes perfect. Well, almost. Of course there’s stress and the regular “Do not touch” screams, but if you don’t persist they will never learn. So get out, do it, scream and get the heart attacks but know that after a while they will probably get the hold out of it, there’s a big chance they will behave the way they’re told to and hopefully start to enjoy and appreciate the experience.
  • Involve them, talk about the things you’re discovering together! Ask your child(ren) what they see from their perspective, or how they experience an art piece and share your own point of view or ideas.
  • On a personal note: we once gave our kid a notebook in which we suggested her to copy the artworks she liked. It became a tradition. It’s great to see her absorb every little detail of the works she likes, thus developing her own way of experiencing art. Even to a point where we sometimes have to wait as two impatient brats until she finishes her visit.

Foto’s © Amélie Rombauts Koen Van Weverberg

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