Histories of Global Netherlandish Art, 1550-1750


6 February 2019

2nd Global Art History and Heritage Seminar: Maria Holtrop

Maria Holtrop (Rijksmuseum): The (Im)Possibility of Showing the Colonial Past in the Museum

Since its reopening in 2013, after ten years of closure, the Rijksmuseum has been considering how to tell colonial history through objects. In the new presentation of the main building, historical and art historical objects were mixed for the first time, together telling one story of the Netherlands. Although this works really well in many respects, it also brought up a couple of problems. For example, what story or whose story of the Netherlands are we telling? How can we fit in multi-perspective histories in a label of 60 words? How can we let voices speak that have been silenced in the past, while using collections that never involved these voices to begin with? Maria Holtrop, curator in the history department, will reflect on these questions in her lecture on the (im)possibilities of showing colonial history in the Rijksmuseum.