200 years of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Atlas Van Stolk

Dec. 20, 2014 – May 31, 2015 This exhibition has ended
Sebastian Krüger, 1993
As of Saturday 20 December, the Kunsthal Rotterdam presents the historical exhibition ‘Two Hundred Years of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Atlas Van Stolk'. Hundreds of prints, drawings, photographs, cartoons and posters from the Atlas Van Stolk - atlas is an Old Dutch term meaning collection -illustrate the lives of the Dutch people during two centuries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and show how they have viewed themselves over the years.

The exhibition takes visitors on a journey into their lives during this period and compares this with today's social environment. The Second World War plays a pivotal role in this journey. The exhibition is part of the celebrations taking place to mark two hundred years of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (from November 2013 to October2015).

The Atlas Van Stolk

The founder of the Atlas Van Stolk was the Rotterdam-born timber merchant Abraham van Stolk. In 1835, driven by a passion for the history of his fatherland, he began collecting pictures that would provide a broad perspective on society as it was in his day. The collection, which was further expanded by several generations of the Van Stolk family, now contains over a quarter of a million pictures and is still growing. The Atlas is one of the largest image collections in the Netherlands to date.

Image carriers past and present

Not only did ideas and opinions change significantly with time, the image carriers themselves also changed, in the past with the advent of photography, and today with the popularity of amateur photography and Photoshop. Even images from the very recent past quickly lookoutdated, partly due to the explosive increase in television and Internet filmsand images. The images in the exhibition provide a glimpse of the past and complement the collective memory of the Dutch people. The stories behind the images bring recognition and surprise, and are a reflection of the Dutch people's past and present.

A dramatic change

Using themes from an essay by author Rudy Kousbroek as a basis, the exhibition illustrates life in the Netherlands from 1813 to the present day. In his essay (Restjes Anathema's 9, 2010), Kousbroek states that Dutch society remained more or less unchanged for thousands of years, but that their way of life began to change dramatically after 1950. Within just a few generations, ideas and views on both urban and rural life, the segregation and desegregation of society, civil assertiveness and women's emancipation were radically transformed. From the 1950s, prosperity increased and society's relationship with authority began to change. The police were regarded as more approachable, the church lost significant influence and women became more independent than ever before. The arrival of labour migrants promoted social discussion on the subjects of integration and civil integration. All this affected the composition of the Dutch population, its appearance and outward style, how the people interacted, and how society was illustrated.


06_A. Afzelli met Certificaat Inburgering Oudkomers, 2006 foto Jan Lankveld_AVS - LR.jpg
A. Afzelli met Certificaat Inburgering Oudkomers, 2006 foto Jan Lankveld


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01 Cornelis van Stolk 1909 foto J van der Rijk_AVS - LR.jpg
Cornelis van Stolk, 1909 Foto J. van der Rijk, Rotterdam


21_Scheveningen Holland 1959_AVS.jpg
Scheveningen Holland, affiche, 1959