Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
A museum for modern art, contemporary art and design in the Netherlands



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Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
A museum for modern art, contemporary art and design in the Netherlands
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Museumplein 10

svdgrift's picture


The Stedelijk Museum is Amsterdam's go-to institution for modern and contemporary art.

Most tourists know the world-famous Rijksmuseum and of course the van Gogh Museum, but the Stedelijk is right across Museum Square. The museum itself has a very rich history that reaches all the way back to 1895. No that’s not a typo, this Dutch contemporary art museum is over 120 years old.

The main building was designed by A.W.Weissman, the city architect at the time. Before it became one of the best (okay, I might be biased..) modern and contemporary art museums in Europe, it housed coins, antiques and other curiosa left behind by Sophia Augusta Lopez Suasso de Bruyn. Four rooms were dedicated to her collection, the rest was filled with rescued interiors from previous Amsterdam demolition work. Some empty spots were filled with modern art the Rijksmuseum didn’t want, such as paintings by that one guy van Gogh. After Sophia died, the new curator could finally say how much he hated her collection. He immediately started to reduce the collection to make room for Modern Art. So yeah, he stole a dead womans’ museum. That’s how the Stedelijk Museum as we know it was born.

During WWII, the Dutch were very clever and moved the Stedelijk collection to a bunker in the dunes near the city of Santpoort. The museum staff was so dedicated they all took turns guarding the bunker. Curator Willem Sandberg almost got arrested when a German search party was sent to bust him. He escaped in time and fled in to the dunes, on his bicycle of course. No really.

In 2003, the old building was closed by order of the fire department. Due to poor maintenance and lack of air-conditioning, it didn’t meet the modern standards. A whopping 9 years later the new and improved Stedelijk Museum finally reopened. The surface area of the museum doubled to 8000 square feet of exhibition space. During these 9 years they basically glued a new museum on to the old Weissman building. This new building is referred to as "The Bathtub”, obviously because it look exactly like a giant white tub.

Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic for The New York Times, apparently isn’t a big fan of baths. He wrote "I can't recall seeing a more ridiculous looking building than the new Stedelijk Museum.”


jtucker's picture


Depending on what kind of person you are, when you think Amsterdam, your mind probably goes to one of three places: wooden shoes, bicycles or legal pot.

While all of these things live up to the hype, there’s one other thing Amsterdam really excels at: it’s awesome for art lovers! There are tons of museums and galleries throughout the city and if you like modern and contemporary art, the Stedelijk Museum should be right up your alley.

Most contemporary art museums have a façade of chic elegance that pleases everyone, but reception for the Stedelijk design was a little different. The New York Times once called it the most ridiculous building around. Kind of a low blow after they dropped $170 million to make the most recent renovations a reality. With that said, the new building does kind of look like a bathtub.

Though, I should probably watch what I say. You really have to be on your best behavior when visiting this institution- they have been known to ban people from coming back! In 1986, one man cut a Barnett Newman painting while in a psychotic episode. The man was sentenced to eight years in prison and was banned from the museum for three years. Eleven years had passed when this man returned to shank another Newman painting! The man pleaded insanity and was banned from the museum for the rest of his life, which is probably what they should have done in the first place. The Newman fixation is strange...perhaps the zips zapped his brain.

In addition to vandalism, the unlucky museum has also experienced theft. In 1988 three paintings were stolen. Ultimately they were recovered undamaged when, in a scene right out of a crime thriller, two police officers posed as potential art buyers and went to purchase the paintings. Gotcha! They busted the guy instead.

The Stedelijk is located in a plaza, along with the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, which makes the art viewing experiencing in Amsterdam that much easier And the legality of marijuana here may just make it that much more pleasant. If you're into that sort of thing.




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Here is what Wikipedia says about Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (Dutch pronunciation: [ˌsteːdələk myˌzeːjʏm ˌɑmstərˈdɑm]; Municipal Museum Amsterdam), colloquially known as the Stedelijk, is a museum for modern art, contemporary art, and design located in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The 19th century building was designed by Adriaan Willem Weissman and the 21st century wing with the current entrance was designed by Benthem Crouwel Architects. It is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, where it is close to the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Concertgebouw.

The collection comprises modern and contemporary art and design from the early 20th century up to the 21st century. It features artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Karel Appel, Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning, Marlene Dumas, Lucio Fontana, and Gilbert & George.

In 2015, the museum had an estimated 675,000 visitors.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.