Revisit: Van Gogh Museum – Amsterdam

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Inside the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, NL

One month housesit in the Netherlands. My first museum visit in Amsterdam is a return to one of my favourites.

Excited to catch a special exhibition comparing the works of van Gogh and Edvard Munch, only on until January 17. The similarities between these two artists who ran in the same circles but may have never actually met is incredibly striking and visible in many of their paintings. It is wonderful to see that Munch is so much more than just The Scream (on display is the pastel version).

“One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream.” Edvard Munch, 1892


The Scream, Edvard Munch, 1893

My purchase of a Museumkaart for free entry to over 400 museums in the Netherlands has already paid off within a week. It also allows me to hop into a few museums which I would normally not visit due to the cost.

It’s the Christmas season, Museumplein is transformed into a winter wonderland with a Christmas Market and Ice Amsterdam skating outdoor skating rink. A great opportunity to try some winter treats, such as glühwein, olliebollen and kibbeling. Who woulda thunk that I would be craving fish as a snack.

pollard birches van gogh

Knotberken by Vincent van Gogh, pen on paper, 1884

Discovering artwork that is different than an artist’s known style is always a treat, especially when it shows an artist’s evolution. Knotberken (Pollard Birches), 1884, is a pen on paper drawing by van Gogh that is refreshing in its simplicity, void of the extreme colour palette and heavy brushstrokes that we are accustomed to seeing from this artist. It also shows that he was a talented draftsman in his own right.


Van Gogh Museum – Amsterdam, NL

van gogh museum tilleman

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, NL. Photo: Ronald Tilleman

Driving tour of Northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands. A highly sensitive artist of great renown only after his death, Vincent van Gogh has always intrigued me and the Van Gogh Museum was high on my list of destinations.

Museumplein in Amsterdam South, an open public space which hosts events and festivals, as well as the home to the Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum.

Two buildings – the Rietveld Building designed by Gerrit Rietveld, opened in 1973, where the permanent collection is on display. The open central hall is influenced by the De Stijl group of which Rietveld was a member. The elliptical Kurokawa Wing designed by Kisho Kurokawa, completed in 1999, is the museum’s exhibition wing.

The New Entrance Hall, using the latest glass construction techniques, has recently opened. The structure is between the two buildings giving better access to both of them.

The largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh, more than 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 700 of his letters. As well as other artists of the 19th century, who inspired him and those whom he inspired.

Purchase a Museumkaart and also visit the Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum for free.

Tambourin cafe

Heart in my coffee cup at Le Tambourin Cafe.

Le Tambourin café has a lovely view of Museumplein and the Kurokawa Wing.

To celebrate the opening of the new entrance in September 2015, a sunflower labyrinth was created in front of it. The 125,000 sunflowers were given away at the end of the day, it would have been amazing to see the whole of Amsterdam in yellow.

Although The Starry Night is in the MOMA’s permanent collection in New York, I was fortunate that it was on loan to the Van Gogh Museum during my visit, for only the second time in the museum’s history. This painting is proof that art should be experienced, up-close and personal, the thick sweeping brush strokes and vibrant colours elicit a turbulent emotional response. Painted at the asylum in Saint Rémy, one can imagine how the image might’ve correlated to his erratic behaviour at the time.

“This morning I saw the country from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big,” Vincent in a letter to his brother, Theo.

Gain insight into the artist’s pained psyche in Vincente Minnelli’s Lust for Life. Capital “T” Torture for Kirk Douglas (chin thankfully covered with beard). For a more touching portrayal, Vincent &Theo, depicts the complicated, symbiotic relationship between Vincent (a great performance by a young Tim Roth) and his supportive brother.