Amsterdam’s 10 Must-See Contemporary Art Galleries
Rein Dufait, Corpus alienum, exhibition view at P/////AKT, 2018 | © Charlott Markus / P/////AKT
There are many smaller, independent galleries in Amsterdam aside from the city’s larger cultural institutions like the Rijksmuseum or Stedelijk, which organise cutting-edge exhibitions and events throughout the year. These establishments include several multi-functional platforms that contain spaces for exhibitions, music and food, as well as more straight-forward galleries that support the local (and international) art scene.
Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$
Mediamatic’s multi-purpose headquarters on Dijksgracht serves as an incubator for many different projects related to sustainability, innovative agriculture, and bio-art. There are areas for smaller art or design projects spread around the complex and a large exhibition space located on its eastern side. After checking out what’s happening at Mediamatic, visitors can relax at the organisation’s waterside restaurant
and order vegan food made from ingredients grown in an on-site aquaponics greenhouse. It is also possible to attend workshops
at Mediamatic that generally focus on modern gastronomy and small-scale, ecological farming..
P/////AKT collaborates with emerging talented artists in order to create exhibitions and shows that explore contemporary developments within the art world. The gallery encourages artists to develop site-specific artworks for exhibitions and often hosts additional performances during finissages. The project is completely non-profit and is financed by several Dutch art initiatives, including the Mondrian Fund. P/////AKT usually organises around 10 exhibitions per year and has a small, rentable living space allocated for travelling artists.
Flemish Cultural Centre De Brakke Grond
Art Gallery, Theatre, Music Venue
As its name suggests, this multi-disciplinary cultural centre mainly showcases works created by contemporary artists, writers and performers from Flanders, Belgium. The centre essentially serves as an artistic embassy for Flanders and was created in order to foster communication between the Flemish and the Dutch art scenes. The centre hosts events throughout the week and has space for exhibitions, talks, and performances. It also has an on-site Belgian-style bar that features one of the largest terraces in central Amsterdam.
De Appel Art Center
De Appel has played an important role within Amsterdam’s contemporary art scene since the mid-1970s and ranks among the oldest and most well-respected cultural centres in the city. The centre has relocated several times over the years, but has always featured a space for exhibitions and performances. Its yearly programme tends to revolve around up-and-coming talent and the centre regularly organises events that showcase work from emerging artists. De Appel also offers training programmes for curators and has an extensive research library.
GO Gallery was originally located underneath a building spanning a street art piece by London Police on Prinsengracht canal, but has since relocated to another site on Marnixstraat. The gallery has championed street art
and contemporary pop art since it launched in the late 1990s and has presented work from many famous figures working within these intertwined scenes. Due to its long term and ongoing contributions to the art form, GO Gallery won the Dutch Street Art Prize for ‘Greatest Gallery’ in 2016 and 2017.
Art Gallery, Music Venue
Although it is mainly associated with music rather than art, Melkweg has space for mid-size exhibitions and often hosts shows that coincide with other events on the venue’s monthly calendar. For instance, it is quite common for Melkweg to display artwork associated with specific festivals or parties for several weeks before these events take place. Melkweg also provides space for solo or group exhibitions that aren’t necessarily affiliated with the venue’s program and regularly presents work created by emerging artists based in the Netherlands.
CORRIDOR Project Space
As CORRIDOR Project Space changes its current exhibitions almost every four weeks, there is a constant stream of new, innovative artwork passing through its halls. The gallery prizes critical, multi-disciplinary thought and regularly presents artwork that engages with the social sciences, humanities and political theory. CORRIDOR Project Space also organises social events and hosts an ongoing series of dinners that involves mezze, drinks and storytelling.
Like many other famous cultural spaces in Amsterdam, W139 started out as an illegal squa
t and has since become an important autonomous part of the city’s art scene. A group of young artists founded the project in the late 1970s in order to create an exhibition space that wasn’t attached to the city’s cultural institutions or commercial galleries. Nowadays, W139 hosts around five major exhibitions each year that are developed and realised on-site by artists in residence. These exhibitions are always artist-led and usually involve site-specific artworks and installations.
Art Gallery, Music Venue
Aside from organising incredibly popular club nights
in its lower levels every weekend and housing a high-end restaurant, De School also hosts temporary exhibitions throughout the year that usually present work created by artists based in Amsterdam. These exhibitions are free to enter and often remain on display until the early morning, meaning that visitors can experience new art while attending other events at de School. De School also hosts talks and workshops most weeks that delve into issues related to contemporary art and media.
Galerie Fons Welter
To access Galerie Fons Welter, guests must pass through a green, metallic door on Bloemenstraat, which looks as though it has been salvaged from an old military bunker. This entrance leads into Galerie Fons Welter’s expansive interior that features two individual exhibition spaces. The first smaller hall in the gallery usually showcases work from emerging artists, whereas its second larger space generally hosts more comprehensive solo or group exhibitions. Although it is common for Galerie Fons Welter to display painting and photography, its exhibitions usually centre around sculptures and other larger three dimensional pieces.