history and archive

The Stedelijk Museum ARtours project began in 2010 when the museum building on Museum Square was closed for extensive renovation. The experiments with the latest forms of multimedia technology and augmented reality for smartphones presented innovative ways of sharing stories about the collection and entering into a new dialogue with the public. The project resulted in a number of projects on Museum Square, at the LowLands pop festival and, later, in the museum. The collaboration with artists such as Jan Rothuizen, Sander Veenhof and Willem de Ridder reveals that augmented reality can be a powerful tool, also from an artistic point of view.

ARtours projecten 

Me on Museum Square (2010)

The ARtours project ‘Me on Museum Squarearose from a collaboration with the HvA/UvA Medialab and consists of an exhibition of augmented reality artworks created by art students, on Museum Square.   


ARtotheek @ Lowlands/Picnic (2010) 
In the ARtours project ‘Artotheek’ festival-goers at the Lowlands pop festival and at the Picnic new media event ‘borrowed’ works from the collection of the Stedelijk Museum and installed them throughout the festival grounds using their smartphones. 

Visual identity: Fabrique/technical production: TABworldmedia.


Jan Rothuizen tour @ Temporary Stedelijk (2011)
Famous for his hand-drawn maps, in 2010, artist Jan Rothuizen created an Augmented Reality tour for smartphone users for the temporary opening of the Stedelijk Museum. The tour draws on his childhood memories and observations he made during a night spent at the museum. 

Visual identity: Fabrique/technical production: TABworldmedia.


Willem de Ridder @ Temporary Stedelijk (2011) 
After his first ‘secret museum’ at the Stedelijk Museum in 1997 when, in an audio tour, Willem de Ridder revealed to visitors the meaning of all kinds of ‘invisible’ elements in the museum, in 2011, de Ridder created a new tour for the ARtours project, which once again features his amazing stories. 

Technical production: TABworldmedia

Recollections: Op losse schroeven@Temporary Stedelijk (2011) 


Some exhibitions continue to ignite our imaginations, even today. This ARtour gave visitors a chance to re-visit the groundbreaking exhibition Op Losse Schroeven (1969) by curator Wim Beeren in the galleries where the exhibition actually took place. The tour was an add-on to the exhibition ‘Recollections’, an evocation of Op Losse Schroeven, organized by Margriet Schavemaker.  

More information.

Technical production TABworldmedia.

AUgmentizer @Lowlands (2011) 

With the help of the AUgmentizer created by artist Sander Veenhof, festival visitors could immortalize a picture of themselves or a self-made artwork on the festival grounds using augmented reality. The images were simultaneously placed in the museum.  

Technical production TABworldmedia. 

You can see the video on: SNDRV 

Background: the discovery of the audio tour
For decades, the Stedelijk Museum has keenly followed the evolution of new media and innovative technology. The museum began collecting new media art as early as the 1960s, with work ranging from video to TV and film, and has mounted a number of thought-provoking exhibitions dedicated to new media such as The Luminous Image (1984), The Arts for Television (1989), Deep Screen (2008), and Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms, (2008). And, way back in 1952, the museum developed the world’s first ever museum audio tour in partnership with Phillips!

Video: Beeld & Geluid 

Publications about the ARtours project
The ARtours project has been featured in numerous (e-) publications that deal with the background and context, and are intended for a diverse international audience; from fans of innovation to museum employees. 

Further reading: Schavemaker, M., ‘Is Augmented Reality the Ultimate Museum App? Some Strategic Considerations’, Proctor, N., (ed.), Mobile Apps for Museums. The AAM Guide to planning and Strategy, 2011.


Margriet Schavemaker and Hein Wils, Stedelijk Museum; Paul Stork and Ebelien Pondaag, Fabrique, The Netherlands,  ‘Augmented Reality and the Museum Experience,’ Archimuse.com 2011


ARtours evenementen 

During the Stedelijk’s temporary opening in the historic building (autumn 2010 - autumn 2012), its subsequent re-closure and reopening in 2012, the Stedelijk Museum dedicated a number of events to exploring the relationship between art and new media in which the presentation of ARtours projects played a vital role. These so-called ‘Do it!’ nights attracted over 500 visitors per night, and made it possible for a diverse public to discover the latest cross-fertilization between art and media culture.

On 17 May 2012 augmented reality technology was once more at the heart of a dynamic Stedelijk Do it! evening, attended by a wide audience. The event was a collaboration between partners including Temporary Stedelijk 3, Trouw Amsterdam (which also hosted the evening), ‘Poezie op het Scherm’ (an on-screen poetry project run by the Dutch Fonds voor de Letteren and the Fonds BKVB), visual artist and guest curator Sander Veenhof and the Stedelijk ARtours project.  

 With thanks to

The ARtours project came about through a collaboration between the Stedelijk Museum (Margriet Schavemaker, Head of Collections and Research/Curator) and design bureau Fabrique (Paul Stork, Ebelien Pondaag, Merijn Hillen). The ARtours have further evolved over recent years thanks to collaborations with a great many technical, cultural and education partners such as 7scenes, Medialab of the University of Amsterdam/Hogeschool van Amsterdam, NIMK, PICNIC, LowLands, Tab World Media. We would like to thank the artists Jan Rothuizen, Sander Veenhof and Willem de Ridder for the extraordinary works they created for this project. We would also like to express our appreciation of those people who worked so tirelessly on the project: Hein Wils (project leader ARtours 2010-2011),  Erna Bomers (project leader ARtours 2012-2013), Victoria Anastasyadis (researcher), Adelijn Huis (researcher), Lex Reitsma, Ernst van Deursen (photography)

The ARtours project was made possible thanks to a grant from the Dutch Ministry of Education and Culture as part of the Innovative Cultural Expressions incentive scheme (regeling Innovatie Cultuuruitingen/agentschap.nl)  

To learn more about the ARtours project please email us at: info@stedelijk.nl