A Postmodernist Place for the Arts
The regional character of Groningen is very much down to earth, but the Groninger Museum is far from that. It is housed in what is beyond doubt the single most exuberant museum building in the Netherlands, for which Alessandro Mendini was lead architect. It is considered a highlight of postmodern architecture, and even if you don’t like it, you will be amazed at the sight of it — never in their wildest dreams, or their worst nightmares, would the good citizens of Groningen have imagined their museum looking like this, at least not until 1994, when it opened to the public. Inside you will find a varied collection of art & design, and exhibitions on painting, applied art, photography, fashion, archaeology, and local & regional history.
Of special importance is the permanent exhibition of works by members of the local artists’ collective De Ploeg, founded in 1918 in response to the artistic climate in the city. Its name, meaning ‘the plough’, indicated that Groningen had to be cultivated with regard to modern art; its foremost members were Jan Wiegers, Johan Dijkstra, Jan Altink, and the printer H.N. Werkman. The group did not adhere to an artistic manifesto, but within its ranks painters developed appealing expressionist & impressionist styles during the 1920s, characterized by a close connection to the region & an international orientation. On the whole, the collective succeeded in its objective quite well, and the rich harvest gathered here at the museum’s Ploeg Pavilion is a feast for the eyes.groningermuseum.nl