From 16 December, the television programme ‘Het Museum van Nederland’ by the Dutch broadcasting organisation Omroep Max will follow the quest for these objects and the intensely personal stories behind them. The sixty most memorable, funny, characteristic, and sometimes also cringeworthy objects will be included in the exhibition. They all tell us something about Dutch history, culture, national temperament, traditions, and customs. The objects have been nominated by people from all over the Netherlands.
Omroep Max’s call asking the public to rummage through their closets in search of exhibition-worthy pieces found massive response. Together with guest curator Jörgen Tjon, a panel of seven experts – including historian Herman Pleij and culinary phenomenon Janny van der Heijden – will consider which items should belong in ‘The Museum of the Netherlands’. It is of course impossible to present an exhaustive, historical overview with only sixty objects. Therefore, the sentiment or story conveyed by the person who has nominated the object is often more decisive than the potato masher, suitcase or cassette tape in itself. The exhibition at the Kunsthal will show a wide range of objects that, according to their owners, are all worthy of a place in ‘The Museum of the Netherlands’.
The choice of the Netherlands
In the exhibition, Tjon clusters the objects around various themes. During five episodes on Omroep MAX the programme offers an insight into his working methods. ‘The Museum of the Netherlands’ has an emotional appeal. Nostalgic finds from our kitchen cabinets, orange paraphernalia, and items that have become obsolete reveal what things we like to eat, how we party, go on holidays, and do sports in the Netherlands. Included are objects that have gone out of style over the past century, as well as items that are here to stay and have been passed on from generation to generation in Dutch households. And in the wake of a changing society, other objects have taken on an entirely different meaning over the years. Finally, a number of private belongings illustrate the personal impact of national tragedies like the MH17 plane disaster.