Rotterdam’s museums offer a highly diverse range of collections and expositions: from modern art to historical artefacts, from architecture to photography and from historical ships to exotic animals. There are also many interesting galleries at various locations throughout the city. The area around the Museumpark, in the heart of the city, is particularly well blessed with museums. A nice route runs from Museumpark to the Leuvehaven, via the Witte de Withstraat with its wonderful atmosphere, where the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art and many galleries are situated.
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Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is one of the oldest museums in the Netherlands. The collection includes paintings, sculptures and objects, as well as an important collection of drawings and etchings.
For more information/collections: www.boijmans.nl/en
The Sonneveld House
The Sonneveld House stands adjacent to Het Nieuwe Instituut on the corner of Jongkindstraat and Rochussenstraat in Rotterdam. Built in the early nineteen thirties, it is one of the best-preserved houses in the Nieuwe Bouwen style, the Dutch branch of the International School of Modernism. It was designed by the architecture firm of Brinkman & Van der Vlugt, also known for the Van Nelle Factory and Feyenoord Stadium. As a visitor, you can see for yourself what it was like to live in a hypermodern home in 1933. Audio tour and special children’s audio tour available.
For more information: www.huissonneveld.nl/english
Since the late 1980s, the Nederlands Fotomuseum (Dutch Photography Museum) has been home to much of the country’s photographic heritage. The museum also hosts international photography exhibitions, with a strong focus on innovation in the documentary tradition. Some are on a specific social or artistic theme, while others showcase a leading international photographer.
For more information/exhibitions: www.nederlandsfotomuseum.nl/en
Kunsthal Rotterdam is housed in a striking building designed by Rotterdam’s OMA/Rem Koolhaas architectural practice and was opened in 1992. Since then, the Kunsthal has put culture in the widest sense of the word on show, from elitist to popular.
For more information/exhibitions: www.kunsthal.nl/en
Maritiem Museum Rotterdam
The Rotterdam Maritime Museum brings the seafaring world of the past, present and the future to life. As well as its permanent collection, there are special exhibitions, events and guided tours on offer. The history of the Netherlands is covered with special attention being paid to the role of Rotterdam as a world port.
For more information/exhibitions: www.maritiemmuseum.nl/en
Het Nieuwe Instituut
Design and innovation – in the fields of architecture, design and e-culture – are at the heart of the activities of the Nieuwe Instituut. Three multiyear programmes – Landscape and Interior, Things, and Materials – and a programme with a theme that changes annually (2015: World’s Fairs) are the starting point for everything the institute does. The Nieuwe Instituut organises events, including exhibitions, research, lectures and publications around these programmes.
For more information/exhibitions: www.hetnieuweinstituut.nl/en
Natural History Museum Rotterdam
For The Natural collection is the foundation of exhibitions, museum lessons, research and publications. The collection has about 390,000 ‘monsters’ (collection units) whose base well before the establishment of the museum was laid (in 1927), in 1859 to be precise, when the old Rotterdamse Diergaarde a collection East Indian shells and Dutch acquired birds. These and other nineteenth-century collections came in 1939 in the possession of the Natural History Museum. The biggest increase was in the insects (butterflies, beetles) and mollusks (clams).
For more information/exhibitions: www.hetnatuurhistorisch.nl
The building that currently houses the Wereldmuseum served in the 19th century as the gathering place of the Royal Yacht Club of Prince Hendrik. The club’s members included merchants and scientists who travelled all over the world to do business or conduct research. They brought back unusual objects which they shared with each other at the Yacht Club. They also held exhibitions of maritime and ethnographic objects. This formed the basis for the Wereldmuseum and its collection. After Prince Hendrik died, the Yacht Club was disbanded and the building became a museum. From its inception, the museum has received major donations from private collectors, from shipping companies, and from the Dutch Missionary Society. In 1939 Rotterdam’s Blijdorp Zoological Society made a major contribution to the ethnographic collection.
For more information/exhibitions: www.wereldmuseum.nl/en
Witte de With, center for contemporary art
Witte de With was established in 1990 as a center for contemporary art with the mission of introducing contemporary art and theory in the context of Rotterdam as well as in the Netherlands as a whole. The institution initially sought to present an alternative to the classic museum for modern art and to existing artist’s initiatives. Over the years, Witte de With has evolved, now also commissioning and producing new works of art.
Thanks to its internationally renowned exhibitions, publications and theory programme, Witte de With became the Netherlands’ foremost window onto the international art world.
For more information/exhibitions: www.wdw.nl
CBK Rotterdam, TENT
TENT has already been presenting visual art in Rotterdam for over ten years. The 1,000 m2 exhibition space is located in a characteristic former school building in the cultural street of Witte de Withstraat. Dynamic solo and group exhibitions reveal the many-sided manifestations of contemporary art. In addition to a wideranging art programme, TENT regularly organises events such as film evenings, discussions and evening openings.
For more information/exhibitions: www.tentrotterdam.nl/en
The intimate Chabot Museum has a varied international programme of exhibitions. The museum is home to one of the most important collections of Dutch expressionist painter and sculptor Henk Chabot (1894-1949). He holds a special place in Dutch modern art as a painter of farmers, gardeners, the landscape of the Netherlands and of refugees and people who were forced into hiding during the Second World War.
For more information/exhibitions: www.chabotmuseum.nl/english
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