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Dutch Private Museum Voorlinden in wassenaar

1. The merging of art, nature, and architecture, as mentioned in the museum’s vision on the website.

Vision of the museum: “Museum Voorlinden connects people, art, nature and architecture”.[1]

The museum envisages to be a meeting place where people like to sojourn. The Voorlinden museum is located in a beautiful green environment. A visit to the museum can be combined with a walk through nature. For a city dweller, this area looks like an oasis of tranquility. Surrounding the museum is a lush garden which was developed and landscaped by the internationally renowned Dutch landscape architect Piet Oudolf .[2]

I believe that the vision of the company is well adhered to. People of various nationalities walk through the museum, nature almost enters the building through the large glass walls. The architecture of the building promotes this integration, as it resembles a building by the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. This architect was known for his designs of buildings that were intertwined with nature (fig. 3). [3] The building of the museum Voorlinden was designed in close collaboration between the museum and the architectural firm Kraaijvanger Architects.

The exterior and interior of the museum Voorlinden. (Figures 1 and 2 created by the author on April 7, 2022).

Mies van der Rohe architect, The Farnsworth House (figure 3).

2. Information about the collector museum founder Joop van Caldenborgh.

“Van Caldenborgh (82 years old) earned his money with chemical company Caldic”. [4] J. van Caldenborgh was the owner of chemical company Caldic and has an estimated net worth of approximately 8 million euros (fig.4). As an art collector, he had the Voorlinden museum built on his own estate. The museum opened in 2016. His collection also includes works by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Anselm Kiefer, Yayoi Kusama, Dan Graham, and Ai Weiwei.[5] Van Caldenborgh started collecting his collection of modern and contemporary art in the late 1970s. The collection also includes sculpture, photography, artists' books, installations and videos. In 2018, Van Caldenborgh donated the museum, the surrounding estate, a depot and his precious art collection to Stichting Voorlinden. Van Caldenborgh has invested € 175 million in another foundation. The return profits that this other foundation yields goes to Museum Voorlinden. This allows the museum to make art purchases. Van Caldenborgh has a rich career in the art world. He was chairman of the International Sculpture Commission of the Municipality of Rotterdam, he also held the position of chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Stichting Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, he was also chairman of the supervisory board of the art fair Pan Amsterdam. Mr. Van Caldenborgh is seen as "the most influential person in the Dutch art world".[6] Like Uli Sig, Mr. van Caldenborgh has left a footprint in cultural entrepreneurship. Cultural entrepreneurship can be seen as a process that creates something new through a new combination of factors recognized in the cultural sector.[7] Mr. Van Caldenborgh added to his passion for art his business instincts and his talent for building the right networks.

Figure 4. Joop van Caldenborgh, source: Harvard Business School website. [8]

3. One artwork that you would consider experiential (i.e. an artwork that invites physical interaction)

We come to Voorlinden often, because we live near Wassenaar. My 13 year old daughter and I both really like the permanent artwork Open Ended by the American artist Richard Serra. One can walk through this work of art (fig. 5). This work of art gives the impression of being a grotesque and robustly mysterious construction in which the sound sounds different inside than outside the construction. The artwork weighs 216 tons, its dimensions are: 4 meters high, 18 meters long and 7 meters wide. Because the museum visitor has to walk through this work of art, it invites the visitor to interact with it. You often hear screaming and laughing children running through it. This is definitely a work of art for the whole family. It requires wonder and encouragement to interact: because you will yell "hey" a few times when you're in there. This work can also be viewed from above, if one goes up the stairs. It satisfies the viewer's curiosity and answers the question, "what would this large piece look like if it were small." Open Ended contributes to the image of the Voorlinden museum as a "visitor-centered museum, socially responsive, in service to the public" museum.[9]

The permanent artwork Open Ended from the American artist Richard Serra. (Figure 5, created by the author on April 7, 2022).

4. Commercial practices

Various commercial practices are present in the museum, such as an internal shop where you can buy books or souvenirs, adults pay their entrance fee to visit the museum or the sculpture garden. The museum also has its own online store. In addition, finances are generated from investments by the foundation, which Mr. Van Caldenborgh still coordinates himself. The Voorlinden museum also has partnerships with companies from which it receives an annual donation, such as Porsche. Voorlinden also rents out a room for business meetings and concerts.

5. Anything aesthetic that stops you “dead in your tracks”- a ‘wow’ factor

I like the photography work La Palma by Axel Hütte (1951) from the year 2005 (fig.6). This artwork is a kind of "diptych" that consists of two photos of a mountain range on the Canary Island of La Palma. In the photo on the left, the viewer sees a mountain that merges with the clouds and the sky. In the second picture nothing can be seen except as fog and clouds. In his landscape work, the artist works with the concept of 'emptiness'. The intention of this work of art is to let the viewer get 'lost' in it. This is because certain elements have been left out, such as any sign of civilization.

Axel Hütte, La Palma, 2005, c-print. (Figure: created by the author on April 7, 2022, figure 6: photo was taken by the employees of the museum).

6. An image from a temporary exhibition and/or from the permanent collection display

My attention was drawn to a large bear on the wall. This was the artwork Skin by the Russian artist Dimitri Tsykalov (1963) from 2012 (fig. 7). The artist has made a bear from empty wooden boxes that were used to store the ammunition, which was used to hunt the bears. With his works of art, the artist refers to the subject of violence, but also to transience and consumption.

Dimitri Tsykalov, Skin, 2012, wood glue, pencil, stickers, nails, handles, hinges and screws. (Figure 7: created by the author on April 7, 2022).

7. End with a summary of ways that you would define Voorlinden as a private museum vs. a public institution.

The museum Voorlinden is a private museum because of the way it is set up. The collection was collected for years by Mr. Van Caldenborgh. This means that this collection is the result of the personal taste, connoisseurship, knowledge and expertise of Mr. Van Caldenborgh. Naturally, this museum provides Mr. Van Caldenborgh with an aura of cultural and social prestige.[10] Given his many managerial positions at important institutions in the art world, his knowledge is based on experience. In its start-up phase, the museum has recruited the former director of the Rijksmuseum, Mr. Wim Pijbes. Mr. Pijbes is still on the board of the ANBI foundation under which the museum falls. His extensive knowledge and his networks benefit the Voorlinden museum. The museum's director is Suzanne Swarts, an art historian (fig. 8). She herself says: "Last year we were proclaimed the most Instagrammable museum in the Netherlands. That was not an aim or a mission, but mainly the result of the wonderful experience people had with us; they share it via social media.”[11] In view of the above, we can classify the Voorlinden museum under the term “visitor-centered museum, responsive, is service to the public”. As a museum of modern and contemporary art, it only approaches the public who is interested in this form of art.

Despite its own extensive collection, the museum also collaborates with other museums. For example, from October 16 to February 13, 2022, an exhibition was organized in collaboration with the Musée national Picasso-Paris and the Fondation Giacometti, devoted to the work of two of the most important artists of the twentieth century, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). ) and Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966).[12]The Voolinden museum functions well alongside the public institutions.

The policy and the collection, the necessary information provision, the interaction via social media and works of art, the building and the environment: all this is aimed at lovers of modern and contemporary art and nature. This is why visitors visit this museum several times a year. In conclusion: the mission has been accomplished, the Voorlinden museum is an oasis of tranquility where your eye is spoiled with challenging art that makes the human brain think.

Figure 8: Suzanne Swarts, director of museum Voorlinden. (Picture source: magazine Nouveau.[13])

[1], website of the museum Voorlinden, Vision and mission, accessed on April 8, 2022, from [2] Ibid. [3] Archdaily website, accessed on April 8, 2022, from [4], business magazine Quote, “Joop van Caldenborgh, mijn macht is heel beperkt”, accessed on April 8, 2022, from [5], website of Artnews, “Joop van Caldenborgh”, accessed on April 18, 2022, from [6], website of newspaper Het Parool, “Van Caldenborgh invloedrijkst in Nederlandse kunstwereld”, accessed on April 12, 2022, from [7] “Cultural Entrepreneurship Using the Example of Uli Sigg as Patron and Mediator of Contemporary Chinese Art”, The Journal of arts management, law and society, p. 9. [8], Website of Harvard Business School, “Sharing a passion for art”, accessed on April 12, 2022 [9] Laurie Kalb Cosmo, “Private museums ub twenty-first century Europe”, in Holly O. Farell and Pieter ter Keurs, ed. Museum, collections and society: yearbook 2020. Leiden: University Leiden (2021): 34. [10] Laurie Kalb Cosmo, “Private museums ub twenty-first century Europe”, in Holly O. Farell and Pieter ter Keurs, ed. Museum, collections and society: yearbook 2020. Leiden: University Leiden (2021): 55. [11], the website of the magazine Nouveau, Babs Assink, ‘Suzanne Swarts is directeur van Museum Voorlinden”, consulted on April 12, 2022, [12], the website of the Voorlinden museum, consulted on April 12, 2022, from [13], the website of the magazine Nouveau,Babs Assink, ‘Suzanne Swarts is directeur van Museum Voorlinden, consulted on April 12, 2022,


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