Eijk van Otterloo and his wife Rose-Marie have built up a collection of paintings from the Low Countries which some experts argue is the finest private collection of its kind in the world. Featuring paintings by artists such as Rembrandt, Jan Steen and Frans Hals, the collection is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Several galleries in the United States are battling to obtain the outstanding collection of 17th century Dutch and Flemish paintings after the owners decided not to give them to the Netherlands.
The Low Countries
This English-language blog, which is linked to the yearbook, The Low Countries, offers news about language, culture and society in the Low Countries for a broad foreign public.
It was a quiet affair compared to the opening of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum three weeks earlier, but then the Van Gogh Museum had only been closed for seven months compared to the national museum’s ten years.
Tree-lined boulevards, shady public squares, places to sit and stroll. It sounds like any European city, but this is how Las Vegas could look by next year under plans drawn up by the Dutch landscape architect Jerry van Eyck.
By now, you will probably have read that the Netherlands has a new monarch. King Willem-Alexander succeeds his mother, Queen Beatrix, after the latter signed the Act of Abdication earlier today. You will also have noticed that the whole Dutch nation is covered in orange today. But do you know why the Dutch wear orange hats and eat orange cakes instead of, let's say, yellow ones or red ones? You can find out in the article "Orange: a Colour that Unites and Divides", that was published in the 2011 issue of The Low Countries Yearbook. Read it here.
Flemish actress Veerle Baetens has been voted best actress at the Tribeca International Film Festival for her role as Elise in The Broken Circle Breakdown. Directed by Felix van Groeningen, the film tells about a couple’s passionate relationship brought low by their six-year-old daughter’s terminal cancer. The film also won the best screenplay award at the New York festival.
They do things differently in the Netherlands. The investiture of King Willem-Alexander on April 30 is being planned as an exuberant festival of national pride with orange flags flying in every town. But not everything has gone according to plan and a song composed for the investiture has sparked off a fierce controversy that has divided the nation rather than brought unity.
In a shopping mall in Breda last week, a flash mob dressed in 17th century costumes, some carrying long pikes, startled shoppers by recreating Rembrandt’s famous painting The Night Watch.The event was organised to mark the reopening later this week of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum following a ten-year renovation project that has been dogged by practical and political problems. The most recent issue of The Low Countries Yearbook features an article on the reopening of the Rijksmuseum. Read it here.
The Unbearable Lightness of Borders is the theme of the 21st yearbook The Low Countries. Arts and Society in Flanders and the Netherlands that appears today. The inspiration for this theme is the commemoration of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, which was proclaimed exactly three hundred years ago. We explore historic, social, mental and cultural borders.
The Flemish architect Henry van de Velde is best known in the Low Countries for designing the university library in Ghent and the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Hoge Veluwe Park. But the Ghent-born architect spent much of his early career in Weimar where he created some of his most important works. To mark the 150th anniversary of his birth, Weimar has joined with several other towns in the region to organise a series of 14 exhibitions on the architect.
Eleven saplings cultivated from the chestnut tree that Anne Frank described in her diary are to be planted at locations across the United States.