CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Museum Rotterdam


Museum Rotterdam is currently in transition. People are hard at work creating a new city museum. The Second World War display at Coolhaven is open to the public, however.

For more than a hundred years, Museum Rotterdam has been telling the story of this city. Its collection has grown from a modest collection of antiquities to over 110,000 objects. The focus differs from one period to the next: it may be the city administration, the layout of the city, the splendor of Rotterdam’s elite, or everyday life and work. Today’s multicolored city provides important material for the collection.

The collection contains over 1,000 paintings, by artists including Rotterdam masters like Hendrick Sorgh, Ludolf de Jongh, Adriaen van der Werff, and Nicolaas Muys. Painters from elsewhere also feature, such as Isaack Luttichuys with his portraits of prominent local figures. Recent publications and exhibitions on the city’s colonial history and its role in slavery have cast the portrait series of directors of the Rotterdam Chamber of the Dutch East India Company in a new light.

Apart from portraits, there are painted wall hangings – including some by the leading studio of Van Nijmegen – and numerous cityscapes depicting the prosperous merchant city. A recent acquisition is a monumental Cattle Market by Cornelis Saftleven from 1659, depicting Honingen Castle in Kralingen, east of Rotterdam.

In addition, the museum contains a large collection of decorative arts, including Rotterdam silver, engraved glass, and pewter. One of the many masterpieces is an impressive silver tobacco box by Louis de Haan, which the city council donated to the town clerk Jacob van Belle in 1757. The box’s gold lid displays Rotterdam’s coat of arms. Finally, the museum’s collection also features countless examples of Rotterdam’s gigantic tile production.

Liesbeth van der Zeeuw, Curator of Art and Applied Arts (April 2023)

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