Adventures in Amsterdam: The Stedelijk Museum

Home to both modern and contemporary art, the museum houses a permanent collection split into three sections (detailed below). Each section allows audiences to engage with well-known artists and those who perhaps they are more unfamiliar with. Tackling themes such as colonisation, revolution, globalisation, digitalisation and the changing environment, this definitely made for a thought provoking visit.

Yesterday Today

Yesterday Today details the history of art and design from 1880 to 1950. One of my favourite sections examined the impact of Expressionist and Surrealist works on the development of modern art. Particular artists of interest for me were Marc Chagall (1887 – 1985), Max Ernst (1891 – 1976), and George Grosz (1893 – 1959). This section also looks at the Amsterdam School and Bauhaus, looking at how they developed within different social and political contexts

Marc Chagall and I. Photo by Lyn Worrall

Furthermore, this exhibition gives an analysis of the impact of colonialism on European art in the 19th century, paying particular attention to Orientalism. Developing in the late 18th century, Orientalism saw the study of art, languages, religion and the cultural beliefs of East Asian and North African societies. This study influenced depictions of the Middle East and North Africa within painting and sculpture. Unfortunately, many depictions of these cultures were one-dimensional. The exhibition effectively explores this, but also shines a light on artists who celebrated these cultures.

Everyday, Someday and Other Stories

Everyday, Someday and Other Stories documents the development of art and design between 1950 and 1980.  

Everyday looks at the way in which art reflects everyday life either through its materials or the activities it reflects. Someday peers into the future, showing interpretations of the ways in which the world could develop. Other Stories gives differing interpretations of well-known art works, allowing audiences to draw their own conclusions about their meaning.

A highlight from this collection was the Protest and Revolution Room which showed how posters became a popular medium for protest after the Second World War (1939 – 1945).

The Protest and Revolution Room. Photo by Paige Worrall

Tomorrow is a Different Day

The final part of the collection, entitled Tomorrow is a Different Day, exhibits work made from the 1980’s onwards. This section hosts several contemporary installations which engage audiences in unconventional ways. The collection demonstrates how artists are more embroiled with the social, cultural and political landscapes of today. As well as tackling themes such as globalisation and consumerism, it also looks at the digitisation of our world.

Worth a Visit

Whether it’s in the way the exhibitions have been constructed (some rooms grouping artwork together based on themes rather than ordering them chronologically), or engaging the senses in different ways, this gallery has something for everyone to enjoy.

General Information

Address:  Museumplein 10, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands

Open Everyday between 10am and 6pm.

I would recommend pre booking tickets and checking the website in regards to exhibits as maintenance work is currently being conducted.

About the Author

Paige Worrall is a BA history graduate and has recently completed her MA in Museum Studies which specialises in making use of co-productive practice within institutions. She currently works as a library assistant and freelance exhibition technician. Her passion for history of art has led her to set up her own blog, The Museum Inspector, where writing on her various interests can be found. She also has an Instagram dedicated to promoting some of her favourite cultural institutions. When she isn’t visiting museums, Paige can probably be found in a bookshop or curling up with a novel or two!


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