8.08.2010

IF YOU LOVE VAN GOGH, DON'T MISS THIS MUSEUM!

Vincent van Gogh is one of my favorite painters.  I love his paintings especially the ones he produced while in the south of France. I love the vivid colors and the heavy, thick brushwork he used in these particular works.

One of the reasons for my trip to the Netherlands was to visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.  This was a trip that had been planned several years ago, postponed (due to lack of personal monetary funding), and finally rescheduled. (then postponed for 10 more days and rescheduled due to volcanic ash.)  Any admirer of van Gogh and his work is familiar with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. (Note: One should learn to pronounce his name correctly when in the Netherlands. It's not Van Go. It's Van Hock with an real guttural emphasis on the Hock.) Needless to say, the Van Gogh Museum didn't disappoint.  However, if you are really a van Gogh admirer, plan a daytrip to the outstanding Kröller-MĂĽller Museum.  The museum is in the town of Otterlo, Netherlands, about an hour's train ride from Amsterdam.


A BIT OF BACKGROUND:
Helene Kröller-MĂĽller, German by birth but married to successful Dutch businessman Anton Kröller, was an avid art collector in the early 20th century. She enrolled in an art appreciation course taught by a Mr. H.P. Bremmer. These lessons ignited Helene's passion for art, and she began to accumulate her vast collection. Between 1905 and 1922, with Mr. Bremmer as her personal advisor, Helene Kröller-MĂĽller amassed a collection of over 11,500 art objects.  Her personal favorite artist was Vincent van Gogh, and she became the owner of more van Gogh paintings than anyone other than the van Gogh family itself, nearly 100 paintings and 175 drawings.

To display her vast collection, Helene originally used the first floor of her husband's business. However, Helene envisioned a grander museum and initiated plans to build it on the 6,000 hectares of land she and her husband had purchased in the Hoge Veluwe National Park in eastern Netherlands. However, during the world economic collapse of the 1930s, the Kröller-MĂĽller's ran into financial difficulties and the dream of the "Great Museum" was put on hold. To save the collection and their large country estate in the park, the Kröller-MĂĽller's donated everything to the Dutch State on the condition the government build a museum worthy enough to display the collection. In 1938, the Rijksmuseum Kröller-MĂĽller opened, one year before Helene died.                                                                                    
                                                                                     
THE MUSEUM
Four Sunflowers Gone to Seed (1887)
And what a beautiful museum it is! Located in a beautiful wooded setting, the museum is on one floor. The main attraction is, of course, the van Gogh paintings. Imagine a room that contains many of van Gogh's most famous works, such as The Sower, Terrace of a Cafe at Night--Place du Forum, Portrait of Joseph Roulin, and Four Sunflowers Gone to Seed (above).  But Helene Kröller-MĂĽller was an admirer of many other artists and throughout the museum, you will be able to see paintings from many different art movements.


SCULPTURE GARDEN
The outdoor sculpture garden is located throughout the wooded area of the museum.  Some of the sculptures can be seen as you approach the entrance; once inside the museum, you can step back outside and walk through the enormous wooded landscape which is dotted with a wide variety of sculptures.  Each piece is placed so it blends in with the surrounding terrain and vegetation. There are pieces by some noteworthy artists such as Rodin, Moore, Hepworth and Dubuffet.
                                      
                                                       Place du Forum (1888)
GETTING TO MUSEUM
From Amsterdam's Centraal Station, you need to purchase a roundtrip ticket to the Dutch town of Ede-Wageningen.

Outside the train station at Ede-Wageningen, you will see various buses. You need to look for Bus 108s (marked "Apeldoorn"). You can use the same strippenkaart strips on this bus that you use on the trams in Amsterdam. Take Bus 108s to the Otterlo Rotonde Bus Stop. The bus ride should be about 15 minutes; the Otterlo Rotonde Bus Stop should be the 4th stop from the Ede-Wageningen train station. (NOTE: Strippenkaarts are now discontinued; the OV-chipkaart is now used as the public transportation ticket in Amsterdam and most parts of the Netherlands). 



Exiting the bus at the Otterlo Rotonde Bus Stop, you will then transfer to Bus #106 which is more of a mini-bus. Here on this bus you will have to buy your ticket for the Hoge Veluwe National Park. The Kröller-Müller Museum is located within the national park; therefore, you need to pay the park entry fee. Bus #106 will enter the national park and drop you off a short walking distance from the entrance to the museum.


TRIP PLANNING WEBSITE TIP
While planning my Netherlands trip, I discovered a great trip planning website. The site is http://journeyplanner.9292.nl/ and it is a great tool to help with planning your transportation options while in the Netherlands. You can plug in from where and to you are traveling and the results will show your modes of transportation available, departure times, train departure platforms, bus route numbers and exact stops. It will give you a step-by-step travel itinerary to your destination. Check it out!


WHITE BICYCLES
A truly unique feature of the Hoge Veluwe National Park are the famous "white" bicycles. Located at each of the three separate park entrances, these bicycles are free for anyone to use to ride throughout the park. The uniqueness of the bicycles is that they can be "borrowed" at anytime. In other words, you can ride one bicycle to a particular site, but since the bicycles can't be locked, you may then have to "borrow" someone else's bicycle because someone may have taken yours. But that's what you are supposed to do.

I'd be interested to know if anyone else has visited this museum. If so, leave your thoughts in the Comments Section. 

Thank you for visiting,

A Great Europe Trip Planner 

All photos were taken by me during my visit to the museum.

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