Exhibition | Good Hope: South Africa and the Netherlands from 1600
Installation view of the exhibition Good Hope: South Africa and The Netherlands from 1600 at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, 14 February 2017; photo by Olivier Middendorp.
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Now on view at the Rijksmuseum:
Good Hope: South Africa and the Netherlands from 1600
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 17 February — 21 May 2017
Curated by Martine Gosselink
The arrival of the Dutch changed South Africa forever. The population’s composition and the introduction of slavery by the VOC (the Dutch East India Company) resulted from ties with the Netherlands. But this also applies to the language, Afrikaans, the legal system, the protestant church, the introduction of Islam, the typical façades, and Dutch names on the map. The relationship with South Africa also changed the Netherlands. The Boer Wars around 1900, countless ‘Transvaal districts’ in Dutch cities, and the violent anti-apartheid struggle of the 1980s symbolise a continuously tempestuous relationship. In this exhibition, around 300 paintings, drawings, documents, photos, items of furniture, souvenirs, tools, and archaeological discoveries give a vivid impression of the culture shared and the influence reciprocated by the two countries.
Robert Jacob Gordon’s landscape panoramas, several metres long, occupy a prominent place in the exhibition. This Dutch traveller illustrated 18th-century South Africa, giving the country an identity. The imposing portraits of children born after 1994—when apartheid was abolished—by the South African photographer Pieter Hugo illustrate South Africa’s future. Along with the exhibition, the NTR (Dutch public-service broadcaster) will be broadcasting a seven-part TV series presented by Hans Goedkoop. The exhibition is produced under the directions of Martine Gosselink, Head of the History Department at the Rijksmuseum.
“The Good Hope exhibition illustrates a significant aspect of Dutch colonial history in all its nuances—a tale that is both painful and striking, but more especially disturbing and recognisable.”
–Adriaan van Dis, Dutch writer, Africa specialist, and the exhibition’s narrator
Symposium—Good Hope for a New Generation: Reflections on Diversity and Change in South Africa and the Netherlands, 5 April 2017
The aim of this symposium is for the Dutch and South Africans to learn from each other in building an open and diverse nation where talents can develop. For this symposium, two South African speakers are invited to reflect on the past and especially on the future of the new generation.
Martine Gosselink, Maria Holtrop, and Robert Ross, eds., Good Hope: South Africa and the Netherlands from 1600 (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2017), 376 pages, ISBN: 978 94600 43130, €35.
A richly illustrated book accompanies the exhibition, containing 56 contributions from 26 authors from the fields of literature, language, art history, archaeology, politics, and journalism.