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Places Around Maastricht: Bonnefanten Museum

Type of Place: Art Museum
Location: Avenue Ceramique 250

Unmissable along the banks of the Meuse as it flows through Maastricht is the silver tower of the Bonnefanten Museum. Inside is housed an every changing collection of art, both old and new. From here in the Netherlands and around the world. The “Old Masters” collection focuses on medival art from the Southern Netherlands, Maas region woodcarvings, and several Italian masters. Rounding this out is the Contemporary Art collection which includes an ever changing mix of artists from all over the world.

Museum steps by andrebiazoti via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.

Temporary exhibits are the highlight of the Bonnefanten Museum and they will frequently have 3 or 4 special exhibits at any give time. In addition there is often a special installation in the top of the silver tower, and even their permanent collection gets changed up periodically; making return visits every so often worth your time. Currently the permanent collection is laid out for “Augenspiel”, an attempt to re-contextualize various pieces across traditional lines. The temporary exhibits are on Sidi El Karchi, Bas de Wit, Pierre Kemp, and The Invisible Color.

Art is naturally very subjective, but I’ve enjoyed the Bonnefanten Museum when I visit. The temporary exhibits in particular are frequently a great chance to see something a little different and often are very modern or abstract.  Sidi El Karchi’s beautiful, comic-like portraits are particularly worth going to see, especially when placed in contract to Bas de Wit’s grotesquely surreal works.

On the other hand, I did not enjoy the attempt by the “Augenspiel” exhibit to deconstruct the cultural and temporal context of the permanent collection. Personally I feel that art is strongest when viewed within its original cultural context and without that the viewer is simply left to flounder. The inclusion of booklets detailing each piece just added to the feeling that this reorganization is missing its mark.  Still, you will find some interesting works within; even if you don’t like the organization.

In addition to the museum, the Bonnefanten also has a small, but tasty cafe with outdoor seating within view of the river, which is nice during the summer. Live music events are often hosted there as well.  They accept the Museumkaart and if you plan on returning (or visiting other Dutch museums) frequently, I highly recommend you pick one up.

The Bonnefanten Museum is 8 euros for adults and 4 for children. They are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:30 am to 5 pm and Mondays when there is a national holiday.

Image by andrebiazoti used via Creative Commons.

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