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4 must-see exhibitions in the Netherlands in 2023

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

The Netherlands has a rich artistic heritage and a buzzing contemporary art scene. So it's no surprise that the country has a number of stellar exhibitions planned for 2023.

And now that the Dutch exhibition of the decade (or maybe even the century) has closed — Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum in case you were wondering — it means some of the other incredible shows can enjoy some limelight.

But it's not just all eyes on the exhibitions in Amsterdam either. Here are four stand-out shows in three Dutch cities that you should aim to see this year.

Escher – Other World at Kunstmuseum Den Haag, the Hague

2023 marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of MC Escher, the graphic artist whose mind-bending illusions continue to fascinate today. With the world’s largest museum collection of Escher’s work, all eyes are on the Kunstmuseum Den Haag for their major exhibition which is letting visitors experience Escher’s work like never before. His famous prints, featuring optical illusions, impossible architecture, reflections on the natural world are combined with spectacular installations by Belgian artistic duo Gijs Van Vaerenbergh. You literally step into his world. Until 10 September.

A gallery showing four architectural sculptures including Tower Bridge and the Arc de Triomphe
Rollo, 2019, Courtesy BQ, Berlin and the artist, © Raphaela Vogel, Kunsthaus Bregenz. Photo: Markus Trette

Raphaela Vogel: KRAAAN at De Pont Museum, Tilburg

Raphaela Vogel has taken over Tilburg's contemporary art museum with her huge installations encompassing sculpture, painting, experimental videos and music. Theatrical is an understatement. Vogel studied in Nuremberg and Frankfurt, as well as at De Ateliers in Amsterdam and has caught the attention of the international art world in recent years. But KRAAAN is her first survey in the Netherlands. The exhibition stretches the entire length of the museum, with highlights including the large-scale installations A Woman’s Sports Car and Können und Müssen (Ability and Necessity), a piece that was recently on display at the Venice Biennale. Until 27 August.

Royals & Rebels — British Fashion at Kunstmuseum Den Haag, the Hague

British fashion is big business and this major show will delve into its rich history. Playing a huge role in the exhibition will be the work of Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, but there will be dozens of other British designers, including Charles Frederick Worth, Liberty’s, Lucile, Edward Molyneux, Mary Quant, Katharine Hamnett, Paul Smith, John Galliano, Phoebe Philo, Richard Quinn, Gareth Pugh, Simone Rocha and young talents such as Bora Aksu, Robert Wun, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy and Matty Bovan. Visitors will explore everything from tailored suits to rainwear, tweeds to cardigans, and hunting outfits to the rebellious dress of the Royal Family. Opens 9 September 2023.

Painting depicting a steam train going over a bridge across the Seine river with boats in the water
Vincent van Gogh, Bridges Across the Seine at Asnières, 1887, Oil on canvas, 53.5×67 cm Emil Bührle Collection, on long-term loan at the Kunsthaus Zürich

Van Gogh along the Seine at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

He may be one of the most exhibited artists in the world, but still there are new things to learn about the work of Vincent van Gogh. This landmark exhibition at the museum dedicated to the artist will look at how the area along the Seine near Asnières, to the north-west of Paris, was crucial to his artistic development. The works Van Gogh created at this important stretch of the river have now been studied as a separate group for the first time, and this show will compare them with the work of four contemporaries who were equally inspired by the same locations. Visitors will get to see 75 works, united for the first time, and in some cases never-before-seen at the Van Gogh Museum, or even in the Netherlands. Opens 13 October 2023.

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