Grammar in the Rijksmuseum 

Walking around the Rijksmuseum I couldn’t help but think of Hansen-Glücklich discussion of the grammar of museums. If you saw the areas with Dutch artists depicting Indonesia or Brazil what did the grammar say about the museum’s, and the Netherlands in general, view on these exotic locals? One of which was their colony the other not. 

Or, how did the display of art in the Rijksmuseum differ from that of the Stedelijk? Do these differences have larger implications?

Another random thought but the small section on Dutch stamps was a great example of how design permeates every aspect of Dutch life/culture. 

Images are my own 


3 thoughts on “Grammar in the Rijksmuseum 

  1. Also: those are beautiful little stamps! I saw some of the stamp exhibit, but I didn’t see those. And you’re right they really are designing literally every square centimeter of public space aren’t they!


  2. Yes, the grammar of the museum here presents these artifacts rather unproblematically! Jens discussion of these really highlights all the layers that are going on there that could be explored by the museum. The museum could even questioned our own stance as an audience with these products of colonialism. What with the grammar of a decolonized display of these objects look like.? What would be the elements?


  3. The art and curatorial/exhibit design of the Rijksmuseum differed from the Stedelijk Museum. The Rijksmuseum is organized by year/century and location while the Stedelijk was organized by either exhibition theme or artist. To me, the Rijksmuseum has better organized gallery spaces for the art it contained. In the Stedelijk, some art seemed out of place (ex: the Lichtenstein) and the artworks in the de Stijl exhibit did not seem to flow.

    I did not get to see the stamps and I’m kind of sorry I didn’t. These Dutch stamps can be used to spread Dutch culture, traditions, and ideas because stamps travel with the mail, letters, packages, etc that they are on. The stamps show Dutch industry, history, and architecture in small, easy to understand formats. They show the identity of the Dutch as a culture and they alone are in charge of their stamps/identity.


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