Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar offers a stress-free museum

Nude with string of pearls and Comb, 1937, Jan Sluijters, Singer Laren in Stedelijk museum Alkmaar

The city museum (Stedelijk Museum) Alkmaar opened its doors to the public again in early June. The museum has taken special measures, according to the recommended safety regulations, so that visitors can safely enjoy the collection and exhibitions again. The temporary exhibitions 75 Years of Freedom and Paul Rijkens Collection have been extended, so that everyone has the opportunity to admire them this coming summer.

Six-feet museum
“We are very happy to receive visitors again,” says director Patrick van Mil. “The museum is ready. We have taken every measure to safely welcome the public. At a safe distance from each other, our visitors can enjoy these great works of art again from close by. The collection is presented beautifully; now it comes back to life through interaction with visitors.”
In a six-feet museum, a visit looks a bit different than you’re used to. Routes have been set up through the museum rooms. To regulate the flow of visitors and to avoid crowds, visitors must reserve a ticket in advance for a specific time slot. All in all, there is a lot to do, although a visit to a museum should be a relaxing and fun outing. The Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar therefore asked artists’ collective Circus Engelbregt to think about this.
The artists focused on the reception, the protocols to follow and the management of one-way traffic in the museum. Their interventions put the guests in a cheerful mood, so that they can fully enjoy the exhibitions. The entrance hall receives guests in an oasis of plants and offers a relaxing hand massage. People can give a hug to another person in the foyer at an appropriate distance with the installation “Remote Hug” (Allard Medema, 2017).
Although the museum uses one-way traffic, the artists have succeeded in guiding visitors through the building with as few arrows and restrictions as possible. Pink calligraphed texts indicate how many people are in a room and directions have been made more fun. So no signs “It is forbidden to touch the artworks” but “Be touched but don’t touch anything.” And: “Maximum 20 people” becomes: “Space for 20 people.”

Extended exhibitions
The exhibition 75 Years of Freedom had been open for just one day when the museum had to close its doors because of the crisis. Fortunately, it was possible to extend this exhibition until 16 August. The exhibition Collection Paul Rijkens, with works by Jan Sluijters, Matthieu Wiegman, Gustave De Smet, Constant Permeke and other important Belgian and Dutch artists from the first half of the 20th century, will also be extended to 1 November.

A gem of Noord-Holland
The Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar is one of the oldest museums in the Netherlands and connects people, art and history. The museum presents a fine collection of ancient and modern art, crafts and city history. Lovers of the Bergen School can indulge themselves in the museum. The permanent exhibition features the works of artists such as Else Berg, Mommie Schwarz, Leo Gestel, Dirk Filarski, Gerrit Willem van Blaaderen, Arnout Colnot and Piet and Matthieu Wiegman. The ‘Golden Age of Alkmaar’ is represented by paintings by Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen, Maarten van Heemskerck, Gerard van Honthorst, Pieter Jansz Saenredam and Jan de Baen. The large collection of works by Caesar van Everdingen is exceptional.

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