News — 13 Sep 2017

In the new collection presentation 750 works trace developments in art and design from the late 19th century to the present day.

New plan reflects Beatrix Ruf’s vision for the Stedelijk: clearer layout of the building, more works from the collection on view, more stories and topical perspectives, new entrance area to open 22 September.

Amsterdam, 13 September 2017 – Stedelijk Base, the new collection presentation of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, opens on Saturday 16 December. It is one of the largest installation of the Stedelijk collections in its history, and will remain on view for at least five years. The presentation of the art works is organized in a circuit designed by OMA, the architecture practice founded by Rem Koolhaas. Stedelijk Base will present art and design from the late 19th century up to the present day. The display is a great way for people who are new to art to discover how modern art and design evolved, and allows seasoned art-lovers to experience the Stedelijk’s world-famous icons in a new context.

Stedelijk Base is the final element to manifest the vision of director Beatrix Ruf for the Stedelijk, in which the building is divided into three zones:

  • Stedelijk Base: the entire new building will be devoted to a display comprising the 750-plus works in the Stedelijk holdings, grouped around iconic pieces in the collection, and featuring a mix of disciplines.
  • Stedelijk Turns: the collection in topical and thematic presentations on the ground floor
  • Stedelijk Now: the temporary exhibitions on the first floor.

22 September: renewed entrance area to be unveiled

Five years after the museum’s reopening, the entrance area has been refurbished in collaboration with Benthem Crouwel Architects, the firm that designed the new wing. Scheduled to open on 22 September, the redesigned lobby has become an even more welcoming place to meet: a spacious, uncluttered square with generous seating, facilities for coffee, and improved access to the shop and library. Equipped with large digital screens, the hall now gives visitors an ‘at a glance’ view of current exhibitions and activities and, in the future, will also feature artwork. In addition, the work by Lawrence Weiner, gifted to the museum by Friends of the Stedelijk to celebrate the grand reopening, will take pride of place, executed on a large scale above the cloakroom. The Stedelijk wants everyone to have easy access to the building and this will be more convenient for disabled visitors thanks to a new self-service lift in the entrance area.


In an entire renewed collection presentation featuring over 750 artworks grouped around the icons in the collection, Stedelijk Base explores developments in the arts from the end of the 19th century to the present day, with Van Gogh, Mondrian, Malevich and Rietveld tot Warhol, Kiefer, Koons, Sottsass, Dijkstra and Dumas.
The presentation fans out through all the galleries of the new wing, starting on the lower-level floor with a survey of art and design before 1980. The escalator transports visitors from -1 to +1, which hosts a display spotlighting the arts produced after 1980. For the lower-level story, OMA designed an open circuit with displays designed specifically for the Stedelijk.

Beatrix Ruf: ‘The widespread use of the Internet has given us a new way to gather information: we browse, see masses of images in one go, connect them and make combinations. All of this is expressed in Stedelijk Base: in a fantastic concept designed by OMA, you can move freely through the space, see amazing combinations, and make your own connections.’
What’s new for the Stedelijk is the mix of disciplines – all kinds of visual art are paired with design. Ruf: ‘I see the collection as a whole – each work was created at a particular point in time. By placing different disciplines side by side, we learn more about a period and are able to see new cross-connections.’


For Stedelijk Base, OMA has designed a new display that utilizes the large, 1100 m2 gallery in the lower level to create a space for the different stories that are included in the museum's collection. The firm worked closely together with museum curators, researchers, technical staff and other partners for over a year, digging deep into the museum’s archives. The display system allows an open route through the space in which visitors are invited to create their own parcour. The space is articulated through self-standing walls, encouraging versatile interactions between the art works on display. The traditional room to room museum experience is turned into a quasi-urban experience where every turn of a corner is a new discovery

More about Stedelijk Turns

Stedelijk Turns is a research-driven area, and presents works in the collection from new perspectives and in relation to topical themes. This allows the Stedelijk to engage with new narratives, unlock hidden histories, and explore fresh insights, often in collaboration with guest curators, guest researchers, and other stakeholders. Stedelijk Turns is rich in experiment and serves as a laboratory where perspectives on the present and the past are continually sustained and redefined. In 2016, the first steps towards Stedelijk Turns took the form of exhibitions such as De Stijl and the Stedelijk, a presentation on Russian art and design a hundred years after the Russian Revolution, and the exhibitions this year that engage with the theme of ‘migration’. Stedelijk Turns is accompanied by a platform that acts as both catalogue and magazine, and where relevant essays, videos and sound fragments are collected.

Beatrix Ruf: ‘Society – and, of course, all of us at the museum – wants to see far more works in our collection taken out of storage and put on display, where people can see and enjoy them. Our entire team of curators has worked hard to develop new presentations, and two thirds of the building will soon be dedicated to the wonderful works of art and design in our holdings. We aspire to be a museum that is always evolving, and aim to present the collection from a succession of fresh perspectives. Stedelijk Base, Turns and Now are all interwoven – the temporary presentations of Stedelijk Turns will feature new discoveries, commissions and acquisitions that will have an impact on the museum’s heart: its collection. This new approach gives us scope to present the Stedelijk as a living, dynamic institute that manoeuvres between past, present and future.'

More about Stedelijk Now

The Stedelijk’s temporary exhibition program will remain in their current home, under the banner Stedelijk Now. Major shows such as those featuring Malevich, Marlene Dumas, Isa Genzken, the Amsterdam School, Tinguely and Ed van der Elsken occupied the first floor of the historic building. In November this year, the entire upper level galleries will be devoted to art of the 1990s and 2000s with a show presenting the works gifted by Thomas Borgmann, followed by a large-scale survey of Ettore Sottsass in April 2018.

Broad support for the reconfigured layout

The museum presented its plans for the renewed museum layout to the Amsterdam Arts Council, which greeted them with great enthusiasm. The museum has since succeeded in gaining the support of an additional number of partners – and the group continues to grow.
The Stedelijk is sincerely grateful for the partnership and generous support of the Brook Foundation, Zumtobel, Hans Lensvelt, illy, and anonymous benefactors.

Note to editors

For more information and images, please contact the Press Office of the Stedelijk Museum, Marie-José Raven, +31 (0)20 573 26 56 / Udo Feitsma, +31 (0)20 573 26 60 or