CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

De Gouden Eeuw: proeftuin van onze wereld

The Golden Age: gateway to our World Exhibition: 13 December 2012 - 31 August 2013

Information from the museum, 11 October 2012

On 13 December of this year, the Amsterdam Museum opens its new exhibit The Golden Age, gateway to our World. This presentation tells the fascinating story of the Netherlands in the Golden Age. An age of world trade, the Dutch East India Company, the rise of an economic superpower, wealth, silver, regents, cultural and religious diversity, flourishing science, immortal paintings and the construction of the Amsterdam canal ring. But also an age of slavery and war. The Amsterdam Museum tells the story of the Dutch Golden Age in stirring fashion, with the latest multimedia techniques and a treasure trove of world-class pieces by Rembrandt, Pieter de Hooch, Maerten de Vos, Dirck Hals and Melchior d’Hondecoeter, to name just a few.

A society in development

The 17th century is a historical period that continues to fire the imagination, and a time that is considered to be the foundation for the Netherlands as we know it today. The year 2013 will see commemorations of the 400th anniversary of the building of the Amsterdam canal ring and the 150th anniversary of the abolishment of slavery. What better moment to spotlight this turbulent century in a new exhibition? The production presents a unique perspective on the society of the Netherlands of the day, a society in the midst of enormous upheaval and movement. The exhibit highlights the impact these changes had on politics, religion, economy and culture, and what they meant in the lives of real people, from serving maid to sailor to merchant.

Presentation of showpieces

The Amsterdam Museum tells the story of the Dutch Golden Age with cutting-edge new media and world-class historic pieces. One such piece is Melchior d’ Hondecoeter’s Birds with the Town Hall in the background, an exotic illustration of the new urban extension of Amsterdam in 1613 and the economic prosperity of the day. Alongside masterpieces like Rembrandt’s Elsje Christiaens and Tending the orphans by Jan de Bray, a number of other extraordinary objects will be on display, such as a forgotten chest filled with 17th century letters and the death mask of a Dutch general. The openness of 17th century society allowed an incredible variety of cultural expression, and that richness and variety will be seen in pieces by Rembrandt, Pieter de Hooch, Maerten de Vos, Dirck Hals and many others.

Bridging past and present

The exhibit presents the society of then as the birthplace of the Netherlands of now. History is linked to the present at every turn. The series of contemporary portraits by photographer Hendrik Kerstens, which allude to the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, are particularly evocative as a modern echo of the olden days.