Category Archives: Holland

THE GUGGENHEIM IN HOLLAND – Cobra Museum

Karel Appel's playful sculpture outside the Cobra Museum, Amstelveen.

Karel Appel’s playful sculpture outside the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen.



I feel well disposed towards artists who admit they really don’t understand what they’re doing.

“I just mess around a bit,” said Dutch artist Karel Appel; and it became the most famous thing he ever said in his life.

Appel’s work and that of his 1950s contemporaries from COpenhagen, BRussels and Amsterdam is celebrated in the COBRA Museum in Amstelveen, just outside Amsterdam. The museum’s permanent collection is one of the Netherlands’ greatest treasures.

This year, Appel and his fellow Cobras have been joined in Amstelveen by work from New York’s Guggenheim. Pollack, Rothko, de Koning, Poliakoff and others splashed, dribbled and daubed colour onto canvas, apparently at random, yet by some magical process the effect is wonderful. We thought the exhibition was fabulous, and highly recommend it to anyone who’ll be in Amsterdam over the next few months. Continue reading

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AMSTERDAM TO NAARDEN – a fine spring cycle

By the Amstel River. 'Amster-dam' = 'Dam on the Amstel', remember?

By the Amstel River. ‘Amster-dam’ = ‘Dam on the Amstel’, remember?

We’ve just arrived back in Holland, the breeze is gentle and the rain won’t be with us for two more days. So what better way to fight the jetlag than a ride through the Dutch countryside?

One of the most hit-on posts on this blog is my brief list of Holland’s Prettiest Villages. I decided I’d see how many of them I could manage to ride around in a day. My route took me through Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, Abcoude, Weesp, Naarden, Muiden and back to Amsterdam. A respectable 72kms, plus a few where I forgot to switch the computer back on.

If that seems a bit energetic for Day 1 in the saddle, let me confess up front that Mevrouw T kindly offered me use of her electric bike. I know, that’s cheating, but we thought the beast should be tested again, before we take it farther afield.

It was indeed a lovely ride, and the bike’s electric booster left me energy over for photography. Continue reading

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BIKES ON DYKES – planning a Dutch cycling tour

Cycling in Holland is a family affair.

Cycling in Holland is a family affair.



We’ll be back cycling in The Netherlands in less than a fortnight, so we’re planning some interesting routes.

Coincidentally, my correspondent Lianne just sent me a few questions (with attached compliments – flattery will get you everywhere!) about how to arrange a cycling holiday there.

So here it is – info on bike hire, route planning, weather, all the essentials to get started on planning a bike trip through Nederland. Continue reading

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RUSSIAN ART in The Hague

AES +F Angels and Demons

Studio AES +F: Angels and Demons


A regular sculpture event brings us down to Den Haag whenever it’s held.

The lovely, leafy avenue known as Lange Voorhout hosts an outdoor exhibition, under the aegis of the excellent Museum Beelden aan Zee (‘Museum of Sculpture by the Sea’).

This year’s theme is RUSSIA XXI, featuring work by some of that country’s finest contemporary artists. Continue reading

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HENRY MOORE IN AMSTERDAM – Rijksmuseum

Why is everyone ignoring me?

Why is everyone ignoring me?

To celebrate the reopening of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, the surrounding gardens are hosting a fabulous exhibition of Henry Moore’s sculpture.

We don’t expect to see a better collection of the work of the great British artist, not anywhere, not ever. And certainly not for free. Continue reading

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THE CHINESE BIKE ART PUZZLE

'Forever' by Ai Wei Wei

‘Forever’ by Ai Wei Wei



Ai Wei Wei may be China’s best known artist. I say that only because I know his work, from the Tate Modern in London and the White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney.

I was very pleased to see him included in what’s become for us an unmissable biennial Amsterdam event, Art Zuid. Continue reading

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