book launch

walter nikkels
22 Sep 2013

Front cover, depicted abgebildet, afgebeeld, courtesy of Valiz Publishers.
Front cover, depicted abgebildet, afgebeeld, courtesy of Valiz Publishers.

Location: Teijin auditorium, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Time: September 22, 2013, 3:30 – 5:30 pm
Language: Dutch 
Entrance: Entrance price to the Stedelijk Museum + € 2.50 supplement
Reservations: It is necessary to make a reservation. Send an e-mail to, stating your full name, e-mail address, telephone number, and the date of the program you want to attend.

The Stedelijk Museum, in collaboration with Valiz Publishers, is proud to present the recently published monograph by Dutch typographer Walter Nikkels, Depicted Abgebildet Afgebeeld. During this presentation, Nikkels’ extensive oeuvre will be discussed in detail in a conversation between him, Wigger Bierma, and Wouter Davidts.  

The generously illustrated chronological list of works that forms the main thread of the monumental monograph, Depicted Abgebildet Afgebeeld, is intersected by 35 textual “inserts”: Nikkels’ reflections on his profession and the way he works with artists and museums, interviews with Nikkels (including interviews with Wigger Bierma, Wouter Davidts, and Rudi Fuchs), and essays by third parties.

For this book presentation, Walter Nikkels collected ten books, other typographic examples and visual materials that have inspired the dialogue about typography that he has had with Wigger Bierma over the years. The selected work is interesting in terms of design solutions, the historical context, content, structure, material quality, and rhythm. Nikkels explores this collection with Bierma (the designer of Depicted) and Davidts (the discussion leader), and, as they leaf through the documents, formulating opinions and comparing them, they arrive at what typography and design can mean and find the link with museum architecture, the (re)presentation of art and its possibilities and the position of the typographer or designer. The examples discussed by the three men are projected so that the public can follow the discussion as though they are taking part in this exploratory conversation at close quarters.


3:00 pm: Welcome address by Hendrik Folkerts (Curator Public Program, Stedelijk Museum)
3:10 pm: Introduction by Astrid Vorstermans (Valiz Publishers) 
3:20 pm: Discussion between Walter Nikkels, Wigger Bierma, and Wouter Davidts
4:20 pm: Conclusion of discussion by Wouter Davidts
4:30 pm: Questions/responses from the public
4:45 pm: Conclusion by Hendrik Folkerts

More information about the speakers

Walter Nikkels (1940) is renowned as a typographer and graphic designer. He was responsible for the design of countless books and catalogues, including books and catalogues for the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Van Abbemuseum, and other Dutch and foreign museums and institutes. He has worked intensely with artists such as Lothar Baumgarten on the development of their books. He also designed many invitations, banknotes, postage stamps, posters, logos, and house styles. In addition, he created various exhibition designs and designed the new architecture and layout of Museum Kurhaus Kleve (1997, 2012 extension), across the German border near Nijmegen. From 1985 to 2008, Nikkels was professor of typography at the Kunstacademie in Düsseldorf. 

Wigger Bierma is the designer of Depicted Abgebildet Afgebeeld and the professor of typography at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg. Bierma wrote the opening article for Depicted and was one of the editors of the book. He has published articles on typography and graphic design in various magazines, including Typografische Monatsblätter, Dot Dot Dot Magazine, Eye Magazine, Items, and Morf.

Wouter Davidts, the discussion leader for the afternoon, is the head of liberal arts at the St. Lucas University College of Art and Design. He also lectures in the faculty of architecture and urban planning at the University of Ghent and at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp. From 2009 to 2012, he was professor of modern and contemporary art at the VU/Free University, Amsterdam. Davidts has worked on many international publications. For Depicted, he interviewed Walter Nikkels about the link between museum architecture and typography. 

More information about the book

Authors: Wigger Bierma, Enrico Bravi, Wouter Davidts, Meghan Ferril, Rudi Fuchs, Suzanna Héman, Neil Holt, Walter Nikkels, Frits Scholten, Elly Stegeman

Design: Wigger Bierma, assisted by Ana Laura Campos; 528 pages, 27.3 cm x 20.5 cm (portrait) Language: English/Dutch/German; ISBN 978-90-78088-54-7; € 45.00

Published by Valiz, Amsterdam; distribution in German-speaking countries by Tropen, Stuttgart.

The book is available at the museum shop of the Stedelijk Museum, superior bookshops, and from If desired, Walter Nikkels and Wigger Bierma will do a short book signing on September 22 (immediately after the presentation, until approximately 5:15 pm).

The publication was also supported by BKVB/Mondriaan Fonds, Kunststiftung Nordrhein Westfalen, Prins Bernhard Cultuur Fonds, Harten Fonds, the Dordrecht Council, and Stichting Stokroos.