Cobra Museum of Modern Art
Modern art - Dalí, Appel, Magritte
The Cobra Museum is a must-see for lovers of modern art, with changing exhibitions featuring the great names of the mid-20th-century CoBrA movement, such as Karel Appel, Constant, Corneille and Jan Sierhuis. There are also major temporary exhibitions of work by individual CoBrA artists and their contemporaries, artists from related movements and contemporary artists who work in the CoBrA tradition. Located just outside Amsterdam, the museum is easy to reach by bus or tram.
The cavernous surrounds of this former munitions-factory-turned-experimental-art-space provide a unique setting for some conceptual art viewing. Het HEM’s artist residency programme changes every season, inviting a new individual or group to write the next exhibition ‘chapter’. The ever-changing events line up encompasses everything from visual art to dance, music, theatre and philosophy. Just a short jaunt outside of the city (with convenient ferry, bus and bike path connections), the space is located at the Hembrugterrein, where you’ll find a ton of exciting restaurants, ateliers and cultural hotspots to explore.
Kunsfort bij Vijfhuizen
Contemporary art and film
Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen is a former military fort located just south of Haarlem, near Zandvoort. It was once part of Amsterdam's Defence Line, a 135 km-long ring of defensive structures that once served to protect the city. The fort was restored in the early 2000s and is now used as a centre for contemporary art, complete with a restaurant. It also hosts film screenings, business functions, and is an excellent departure point for local cycling and walking routes.
In 1973, the abandoned village of Ruigoord was squatted by a group of artists from Amsterdam and has since developed into a small but flourishing creative community. For decades it has been the source of many major Dutch creative movements and continues to play a central role in Amsterdam’s underground art scene. Keep an eye on the agenda for special exhibitions, performances, festivals and parties.
Ruigoord | Ruigoord 76, Ruigoord
Frans Hals Museum
Old masters - Hals, Lucebert, Zadkine
Although the Frans Hals Museum bears the name of Haarlem’s most famous artist, the collection is by no means limited to his work. Of course, Frans Hals himself is well represented at the museum’s beautiful Hof location, but you’ll also find work by many other 16th- and 17th-century Old Masters, such as Jan Nagel, Maerten van Heemskerck and Jacob van Ruisdael. Head to the Hal location on the Grote Markt for modern work by Lucebert, Constant and Zadkine.
Modern art - Mondriaan, De Smet, Rodín
Singer Laren consists of a museum, a sculpture garden and a theatre. The museum’s impressive permanent collection, with work from 1880-1950, is certainly worth a visit. It was assembled by the American collectors Anna and William Singer in the first half of the 20th century. There are also changing contemporary exhibitions. Check the website for programming.
Singer Laren | Oude Drift 1, Laren
Flevoland Sculpture Trail
Contemporary art - Gormley, Serra, Libeskind
Flevoland is home to the world’s biggest concentration of Land Art – huge artworks made in, with and as a response to the surrounding landscape. All in all, there are six works, by artists including Anthony Gormley, Daniel Libeskind and Richard Serra. The pieces vary greatly: some refer directly to the surrounding nature and the (short) history of the land they’re in, while others are inspired precisely by how untouched and a-historical the landscape is. Best of all, you can see them all in one day on a guided tour!
More information here.
Renaissance art and old masters - Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Rafaël
Because the Teylers Museum is dedicated to science and natural history as well as art, people are often surprised to discover that it has some amazing art treasures in its collection. After all, there are few museums in the world where you can see works by Michelangelo and Raphael – and the Teylers Museum offers a generous selection of Dutch Old Masters on top of that. This extraordinary collection in a remarkable setting is just a short trip from the centre of Amsterdam.
Modern art - Libenský, Francis, Verschoor
Besides the Cobra Museum, Amstelveen has another impressive museum on offer. Right on Amsterdam’s doorstep, find Museum JAN (formerly Jan van der Togt), which specialises in glass art and Dutch design. Over the years it has assembled a rich collection of modern work by the masters in this field, as well as other sculptures and paintings. The museum also mounts a wide variety of changing exhibitions.
Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar
Modern art and old masters - Toorop, Van Ruysdael, Van Heemskerck
For an artist’s impression of Alkmaar and the surrounding area, the place to go is the Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar. The museum has a collection of the excellent work depicting the city and its surroundings. There’s also an abundance of 16th- and 17th-century masterpieces, as well as modern art.
Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar | Canadaplein 1, Alkmaar
Modern art - Monet
In 1871, the French impressionist painter Claude Monet paid a visit to Zaandam, just north of Amsterdam. He was so taken by the local landscape, the windmills, the wooden houses and the river Zaan that he produced no fewer than 25 paintings and 9 sketches there. This explains why today you can see work by this world-famous artist at the Zaans Museum in Zaandam.