Exhibition Indonesia and the Amsterdam School at Museum Het Schip

Until 27 August, Museum Het Schip is presenting an exhibition on the relationship of the Amsterdam School with Indonesia, the former Dutch East Indies. Using film and photographic material, drawings, prints and applied arts, the exhibition shows how the Dutch architectural movement was influenced by the forms, colours and materials from the former colony.

 Indonesian shapes, colours and materials made a deep impression on the innovators of the Nieuwe Kunst and the Amsterdam School. The temple complexes, folk architecture and crafts in particular were studied by them with great interest and appreciation. Some travelled to the Dutch East Indies, but most gained impressions at international world fairs. In Brussels in 1910, for instance, Indonesian crafts like batik and braiding were shown.

The exhibition Indonesia and the Amsterdam School showcases the Indonesian influence on buildings, sculptures and applied art of the Amsterdam School. A great example are the undulating roofs of Minangkabau houses from Sumatra. These can be found as pictorial rhyme in the Amsterdam School houses of the 1920s. Other Indonesian forms, such as the gunungan and the mythical naga dragon snake, were also incorporated into furniture, masonry dressings and artefacts by Amsterdam School designers.

The exhibition does not only provide a Dutch perspective. In film clips, Indonesian experts on art and architecture talk about the Indonesian influences on the Amsterdam School.