7 must-see exhibitions for summer 2021

Now that Dutch museums have opened again, we highlight seven of the most interesting new exhibitions of summer 2021 for you. All so you can have a summer full of art and culture!

Tropenmuseum: Fleeing the Dark

Fleeing the Dark is an artistic intervention that centers the Syrian crisis. The exhibition combines works by Syrian artist Issam Kourbaj with his selection of pieces from the archives of various museums, including Tropenmuseum, Naturalis and the Dutch Museum of Antiquities. The eye-catcher of this exhibit is Kourbaj’s installation of thousands of small boats. These boats represent the days, weeks, months and years that the Syrian crisis has been ongoing, seemingly without an end. But to represent hope for a new beginning, the artist has added seeds to some of the boats. This exhibition also includes a creative component in the form of a soap-making workshop. Take a seat at the large table in the museum’s main hall and learn how to make a Syrian eye idol out of Aleppo soap.

  • Fleeing the Dark will be on display at the Tropenmuseum until 3 of October. The soap-making workshops will be held until 22 of August.
  • Tickets and information.

Kunsthal: Youthquake

Youth is the norm on TV, in advertising and on social media. Many people feel a longing to attain eternal youth. The exhibition Youthquake at Kunsthal Rotterdam challenges this norm with a playful exhibition that explores the notions of youth, youth culture and aging. These notions have changed a lot over time. For example, did you know that separate children’s clothing lines are a relatively recent innovation? These did not exist before the early twentieth century. In modern times, however, fashion dsigners like Bas Kosters actively take inspiration out of childhood and youth culture with their playful designs for adults. This exhibition also examines how people deal with the biological fact of aging in a world in which beauty standards are above all youthful. From the rise of cosmetic plastic surgery to examples of self-confident elderly people, who refuse to participate in this norm.

Jewish Cultural Quarter: Gil & Moti – Forget and Remember

Gil & Moti are an artist couple. Their work focuses on themes of identity and individuality. Originally from Israel but having lived in The Netherlands for decades, this couple does everything together. They dress identically and share one set of keys, one wallet and one cellphone. In this way, their lives are an eternal artistic performance. For the exhibition Forget and Remember at the Jewish Cultural Quarter, the couple explores the personal histories of their parents. Using collections their parents have kept throughout their lives, they reflect on personal family histories as well as on larger themes surrounding Jewish-Israeli identity.

  • Gil & Moti – Forget and Remember will be on display at the Jewish Cultural Quarter until 28 of November.
  • Tickets and information.

National Maritime Museum: I love Banda

The histories of The Netherlands and the Banda islands are strongly intertwined. Four hundred years ago, the islands were conquered by the Dutch army and therefore became the country’s first colony. Many inhabitants of the islands were killed or made to flee by the Dutch army. Others were enslaved and put to work on plantations. Many Dutch people, however, know almost nothing about this violent part of Dutch history. The photo exhibition I love Banda aims to create awareness by giving a face and voice to six young people from modern Banda. The exhibition explores the ways they feel about themes like identity, history and future.

Eye: Vive le Cinéma!

The exhibition Vive le Cinemá! honors the 75th anniversary of Eye and the 50th anniversary of International Film Festival Rotterdam. For this exhibiton, five directors, hailing from five different continents, have created unique cinematic works in which the audience takes an active role. Vive le cinéma! is an interactive, three-dimensional experience that plays with the boundaries of what the medium of cinema constitutes. These films, projected on large screens in dark rooms, are a testimonial to the enduring power and diversity of physical cinema in a digital world.

Drents Museum: Deborah Poynton – Beyond Belief

Beyond Belief is Deborah Poynton’s first solo exhibition in Europe. The exhibition presents an overview of recent (2008-2020) work of this South-African artist, who has specialized in large, hyperrealistic works of nature and people. Featuring her family and friends as models, these detailed and intimate works portray a world that could be from a fairytale or a dream. Poynton has stated that she does not wish to transmit a certain message through her works and that her aim is to simply make people start carefully looking at things again – a skill that has almost been lost in our fast-paced, digital world.

Hermitage Amsterdam: Tsars and Knights

Did you know that medieval court culture was of a great inspiration to the Russian tsars? Tales of knights and damsels, kings and tournaments still appeal to the imagination today, but were of unparalleled popularity at the court of the tsars. Throughout the years, the tsars curated an extensive collection of medieval art at the hermitage in St. Petersburg, which is still on view today. More than 250 objects from this collection are now on display at the Hermitage Amsterdam, where they will be admired by a Dutch audience for the first time. From classic medieval paintings to fully-preserved suits of amor. There is also plenty to see for all ages at Tsars and Knights; for children there is even a Lego exhibition.

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