Berlage exhibition at the municipal museum in The Hague

The Hague’s municipal museum, the Gemeentemuseum, is one of the most beautiful museums in the Low Countries. In existence for 75 years, it is celebrating its anniversary with an ode to its designer, the world famous architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage (1856-1934). In fact the municipal museum was Berlage’s last creation.

Just as Rembrandt will always be remembered for The Night Watch, so the name of Hendrik Petrus Berlage is inextricably linked to the Stock Exchange (Beurs van Berlage) in Amsterdam. This internationally renowned building is usually seen as the beginning of modern architecture in the Netherlands.

Total Artist

Entitled Berlage Totaal! (27/11/2010 – 27/2/2011), the exhibition obviously devotes attention to Berlage’s most well-known achievements, but mainly it shows Berlage as a total artist. 

He often conceived the furniture, china, glassware and metalwork for the buildings he designed. In addition to this, Berlage was active in typography, making designs for the writer Louis Couperus amongst others.

Berlage’s style was highly rationalistic – sober and averse to decorative elements. Brick was therefore a determining element in his constructions. Berlage was also well-known for designing from the inside outwards, the exterior reflecting the interior. 

Considered the "Father of Modern architecture" in the Netherlands and the intermediary between the Traditionalists and the Modernists, Berlage's theories inspired most Dutch architectural groups of the 1920s.

Further Reading

Here, you can read the article entitled “The Rembrandt of Dutch Architecture. The Work of Hendrik Petrus Berlage” by Hans Ibelings from The Low Countries 1998.

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