Contemporary art in Amsterdam

A historical artistic centre, Amsterdam is home to a range of institutions of international significance, from the Stedelijk to Manifesta, not to mention the newly refurbished Rijksmuseum, reopened to general acclaim earlier this year after a 10 year renovation.

The Stedelijk, one of the major museums in the world dedicated to modern and contemporary art, is currently hosting OP DE WIND GESCHREVEN (written on the wind), a comprehensive survey of works on paper by Lawrence Weiner, an artist with a long connection with the city (an interview with him in his boat is available on the website). The museum makes available online thousands of images of artworks from its permanent collection, including more than 400 artists’ books (the library catalogue is also online). The Van Gogh Museum, next door in the Museumplein, has also digitised its collection, and the catalogue of its library is available online. The museum has produced an excellent resource, the Van Gogh Letters, a complete digital archive that includes transcriptions and English translations. Other museums in the city include the Cobra Museum of Modern Art, dedicated to the CoBrA (Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam) movement, Hermitage Amsterdam, a dependence of the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg, Foam and Huis Marseille (both dedicated to photography), and the EYE Film Instituut Nederland.



Stedeljk Collection Online

Stedelijk Museum Library

Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Letters

Cobra Museum of Modern Art

Hermitage Amsterdam


Huis Marseille

EYE Film Instituut Nederland

De Appel arts centre is a small but very influential institution, central to the history of performance art in the 70s and curating in the 90s, with an important programme of publications, including magazines (F.R. David, The Shadow Files). Lima, the newly created successor of the Netherlands Media Art Institute (NIMk) (previously Montevideo and Time Based Arts) specialises in media art, and manages the main collection of its kind in the country (its catalogue is available online), while Mediamatic focuses on new technologies, particularly digital. The Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (SMBA) is a project space of the Stedelijk, located in the city centre. Other local institutions, like the Amsterdam Museum and the City Archives, present regular programmes of art events and exhibitions. De Brakke Grond is a multidisciplinary arts centre showcasing the work of artists from Flanders.

De Appel




Amsterdam Museum

Stadsarchiev Amsterdam

De Brakke Grond

Amsterdam has a rich history of artist-run projects and spaces. Among those active today, Kunstverein, Nieuw Dakota, P/////AKT, PS, De service garage and W139 are among the more active and interesting. Foundations, private collections and other independent institutions also play an important role, from the historical Arti et amicitiae and Castrum Peregrini, to independent artists’ institute De Ateliers, the Frankendael Foundation and Greenbox Museum of Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia. Manifesta, the organisation that runs the European biennial of contemporary art, is also based in the city. It publishes Manifesta Journal, now freely available on the Manifesta website.


Nieuw Dakota



De service garage


Arti et amicitiae

Castrum Peregrini

De Ateliers

Frankendael Foundation

Greenbox Museum of Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia


Manifesta Journal

The city’s many commercial art galleries include:



Boetzelaer Nispen

Ellen de Bruijne Projects

Galerie Fons Welters

Galerie Paul Andriesse

Gerhard Hofland


Radar Architecture and Art

Upstream Gallery

Capital A lists a select 28 galleries on its website, and has produced a mobile device app for new exhibition listings that includes an interactive map. It also organises an annual three-day contemporary art festival, the Amsterdam Art Weekend, celebrating its second edition this year (29, 30 November and 1 December 2013).

Capital A

Amsterdam Gallery App (Android)

Amsterdam Gallery App (Mac)

Art libraries and bookshops

In addition to the museum and gallery libraries already mentioned, the city is home to the one of the largest public libraries in Europe (Centrale Bibliotheek), university libraries (including the Art Library of the University of Amsterdam) and those of the art and design schools (Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, AHK). The independent Boekman Foundation Library is also based locally. OKBN – ARLIS/NL, the professional association for art librarians in the Netherlands, provides information on its website on its member institutions, and about Dutch art documentation and librarianship in general.

Art History / Cultural Studies Library, University of Amsterdam

Gerrit Rietveld Academie

Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten


Boekman Foundation Library


Amsterdam, and the rest of the Netherlands, has long been a major international publishing centre, including for art books and magazines, and the city has got a reputation for excellent bookshops. Art bookshops include those at the Stedelijk and several other museums, the treasure trove/artists’ bookshop Boekie Woekie, Nijhof & Lee (now at the University of Amsterdam), Architectura & Natura, Art Book, Johann Deumens, Athenaeum Boekhandel and Mendo. The website of the Dutch Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (Nederlandsche Vereeniging van Antiquaren NVvA) gives details about their members by location, 14 of them based locally. Two independent art book fairs are also based in the city, Offprint Amsterdam (originally Amsterdam Art Book Fair) and the recently held Unseen Book Market (part of the Unseen Photo Fair).

Sans Serriffe

Boekie Woekie

Nijhof & Lee

Architectura & Natura

Johann Deumens Gallery

Athenaeum Boekhandel



Offprint Amsterdam

Unseen Book Market

[Grandal Montero, G. (2013) Resources online: Research data management. ARLIS News-sheet, no. 226, Nov.-Dec., pp. 3-4.]


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