It’s going to be a hugely busy year for exhibitions in the Netherlands in 2024, with major shows planned on everything from fine art to fashion.
And while there are many very exciting Amsterdam exhibitions coming up, your eyes shouldn't solely be on what's on in the capital. There are blockbusters scheduled in towns and cities right across the country.
So here are six stand-out Netherlands exhibitions you should see this year.
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Amsterdam exhibitions 2024
Frans Hals at the Rijksmuseum — 16 February to 9 June 2024
While it’ll be near impossible for any Dutch exhibition to beat last year’s truly blockbuster Vermeer show, the Rijksmuseum is having another crack at offering a sweeping retrospective of a Dutch master.
This survey of 17th-century portrait painter Frans Hals comes to Amsterdam after a critically acclaimed run at London’s National Gallery. Visitors will come face-to-face with dozens of exceptional paintings on loan from around the world, which collectively show the effervescence and life captured by Hals' in the paintings he completed 400 years ago.
Without a doubt, the highlight will be Frans Hals’ The Laughing Cavalier which is one of the most famous paintings in the world. This will be the very first time it will have been seen outside the UK in nearly 150 years.
Directed by Rembrandt at the Rembrandt House Museum — 2 March to 26 May 2024
Situated in the heart of Amsterdam, the place where Rembrandt lived and worked for nineteen years reopened to the public after a major upgrade in spring 2023. A year on, the museum will host a major exhibition on the Dutch artist’s strong connections to the city’s theatre scene.
Billed as the first exhibition to portray Rembrandt as a ‘director’ of his compositions, it’ll feature around 50 objects. These include the loan of several masterpieces such as Joseph Accused by Potiphar's Wife (1655) from Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie which returns to the location it was first painted.
Visitors will also get to explore how Rembrandt applied techniques common to the theatre, such as acting in front of the mirror to reproduce reflections, and universal hand gestures used by actors to emphasize their words.
Marina Abramović at the Stedelijk Museum — 16 March to 14 July 2024
Another highlight of London's art scene in 2023 travels across to the Netherlands for 2024. This major retrospective of globally-renowned performance artist Marina Abramović will cover the entire spectrum of her fifty-year career.
It'll feature over 60 works, including photographs, videos and sculptures, as well as four of Abramović’s seminal performance pieces which will be re-performed live in the galleries. It'll be the first time these performance works will have been seen in the Netherlands.
The show has been arranged in close collaboration with the artist. Visitors will explore everything from her early works made in the former Yugoslavia and in Amsterdam, to the pioneering performances with her former partner Ulay, and up to and including works from her solo practice today.
Exhibitions elsewhere in the Netherlands in 2024
Pioneering Ceramics at Museum Prinsenhof Delft — 16 February to 8 September 2024
Ceramics are uber trendy again, as this exhibition hosted in one the world’s most famous cities for the medium will show.
Delft’s striking blue-and-white ceramics might be 400 years old, but they are still globally recognised. The Museum Prinsenhof Delft holds a huge collection of items spanning the past four centuries, and in this show their masterpieces will be displayed side-by-side with the work of radical makers working in the Netherlands today. There’ll be around 100 items on show in total.
The premise is that while the formula for ceramics has remained the same, the world to which makers are responding has changed profoundly. Pioneering Ceramics will therefore present multiple points of view and narratives, and will invite visitors to look at the past from a contemporary perspective.
If not now, when? Collection Max Vorst at Museum Beelden aan Zee — 12 April to 8 September 2024
One of the most important private art collections in the Netherlands will be shown for the first time as a fully-formed museum exhibition. The huge show will give an impressive overview of the developments in contemporary sculpture in the twenty-first century, through 70 works and installations.
The exhibition will feature some of the biggest and most important artists of recent years, including global names such as Sarah Lucas, Donald Judd, Phyllida Barlow, Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Jenny Holzer, Steve McQueen, and Kara Walker. Together, the displayed artworks will demonstrate the diversity, originality and quality of sculpture produced since the turn of the century, and how Max Vorst’s collection represents that full spectrum.
Dior: A New Look at Kunstmuseum Den Haag — 21 September 2024 to 26 January 2025
This show is billed as a totally new examination of the French fashion house, and so fully distinct from the hugely successful Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition that has toured the world in recent years.
Here in the Hague, the focus is on the fashion house’s unique DNA. The common thread will be how Christian Dior’s successors have always respected the label’s ‘founding father’ including through the continued use of motifs such as flowers, strong women and the so-called ‘Dior Dream.’ A specific focus will be the dialogue between Christian Dior and Dior’s current creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri. This will be the first time that her work is given such a central role in a Dior exhibition.
Other highlights will be a focus on costume jewellery, fashion drawings and iconic images by famous photographers. The exhibition will feature works from the collection of Kunstmuseum Den Haag, alongside loans from Dior Héritage and public and private collections in Europe and the United States.