- The Netherlands
- Lauren England
Art lovers are spoiled for choice in Amsterdam. With a number of historical and up-and-coming districts bursting at the seams with independent galleries and established museums, the city is home to some of the most progressive and high- quality cultural organizations in Europe, and a number of unique, artsy restaurants. With a strong focus on emerging artists and the innovative use of new technologies and media, these ten independent galleries present the best of Amsterdam’s contemporary art offerings.
Located on the east docklands in Amsterdam, Mediamatic is a little off the beaten track but definitely worth a visit. The unique cultural organization offers an extensive program of events, exhibitions, workshops, lectures, performances, concerts and conferences throughout the year. Featured exhibitions are highly evocative and extremely versatile, each one transforming the large, open exhibition space into an immersive environment. Mediamatic focuses on works of new media and those which explore the impact of technology and media, provoking critical discourse about contemporary art and society. Over the years they have shown works by numerous renowned and emerging cutting-edge artists and designers such as Maiko Takeda, Marina Abramovic and Ana Rajcevic. With their vast agenda of cultural events and their own aqua-phonics farm and mycology lab, Mediamatic is one of a kind.
Van Gendthallen, VOC-kade 10, Oostenburg, Amsterdam, Netherlands, +31 20 638 9901
Housed within the super-slick Art’otel Amsterdam, 5&33’s gallery is an ideal venue for established and unknown artists and designers alike. This trendy lifestyle venue opened in October 2013 with a multi-purpose creative space offering a diverse range of exhibitions, artistic and cultural events throughout the year alongside numerous social events. The gallery also offers the space free of charge to first-time exhibitors. These shows, in addition to those by more established names, are distinguished by their consistent high quality across all media including sculpture, street art, video and animation. Live performances also take place during exhibitions, enabling the public to further engage with the process of art-making. 5&33 have shown works by Atelier Van Lieshout, Boxie and Marion Bloem, and design lovers will be inspired not only by the gallery but the attention to detail and commitment to contemporary Dutch design displayed throughout 5&33’s bar, lounge, kitchen and library.
Martelaarsgracht 5, Amsterdam, Netherlands, +31 20 820 5333
Grimm Gallery represents a wide range of artists from a 72-year-old Dutch conceptualist through mid-career artists to young emerging talents. The gallery has presented a diverse exhibition program of national and international artists across a wide range of mediums since it opened in 2005 in the lively, cosmopolitan De Pijp district of Amsterdam. Within Grimm’s large exhibition space visitors will find thoughtfully curated exhibitions and works by notable contemporary artists such as multidisciplinary artist Matthew Day Jackson and painter Matthias Weischer. Grimm is noted for supporting its represented artists in their artistic endeavors and exploring different mediums and practices including video, installation and mixed media sculpture. Notably, Grimm has also participated in a number of national and international art fairs such as Art Rotterdam, Frieze New York, Art Basel and The Armory Show.
Frans Halsstraat 26, Amsterdam, Netherlands, +31 20 675 2465
KochXBos Gallery was founded in 2005 by Esther Koch and Hans Bos, whose enthusiasm for the artworks on show in their gallery is inspiring. The welcoming, well-presented independent gallery space is funded by the pair’s graphic design company which enables them to follow their hearts and exhibit works that inspire and appeal to them personally. The gallery holds a number of solo and group exhibitions throughout the year featuring a small, eclectic selection of artists such as Ciou, Zoé Byland and Meryl Donoghue. Works on show display a unique combination of beauty and uneasiness; they are also often incredibly detailed and feature a number of new techniques, mediums and styles. Alongside their personally tailored and carefully considered exhibitions, KochXBos have a number of side projects into which they pour equal amounts of enthusiasm. For example, they produce a magazine and have recently gone into limited edition publishing.
Eerste Anjeliersdwarsstraat 36, Amsterdam, Netherlands, +31 20 681 4567
Ideally located opposite the Rijksmuseum and in the heart of Amsterdam’s arts and antiques district, Reflex gallery is distinguished by the high quality of their exhibitions. Their impressive roster of national and international artists working across multiple mediums includes Miles Aldridge, Marcus Harvey, Daido Moriyama and Hisaji Hara. Collaboration is a key focus at Reflex. Every show is accompanied by published books, and catalogues featuring contributions from top curators from around the world. They also collaborate with artists and designers on limited edition pieces sold exclusively at the gallery such as Marcel Wanders’ new sculpture Snotty Valentine in conjunction with his solo exhibition Pinned Up at the Stedelijk Museum. Reflex features at numerous international art fairs and has founded the Miniature Museum, which can be seen at the Gemeente Museum Den Haag.
Weteringschans 79A, Amsterdam, Netherlands, +31 20 627 2832
Located in the heart of Amsterdam’s red light district, artist-run presentation and production space W139 began in 1979 and has since maintained their belief that the creation of contemporary art comes above all else. Originally an anti-establishment squat, W139 is now a professional non-institutional organization formed of self- organized artist groups. However, exhibitions on show at W139 still guarantee an alternative experience to Amsterdam’s many museums and commercial galleries. The large, industrial-looking space is transformed on a regular basis by invited international and national artists creating site-specific artworks. Risk-taking and experimentation are actively encouraged at W139 ensuring the presentation of sensitive, innovative and immersive projects. In addition to their exhibition program, W39 also host gigs, book launches, parties, film screenings and debates on current critical issues in contemporary art.
Warmoesstraat 139, Amsterdam, Netherlands, +31 20 622 9434
Upstream Gallery opened in 2003 with a regularly changing exhibition program of bold, top-level contemporary art. Their main focus is on engaged art and new mediums, including the internet. In particular, Upstream features artists whose work combines concept and minimalism through a variety of materials and mediums including glass, concrete and mixed media sculpture, video, animation, photography and installation. Their list of represented artists incorporates a wide range of ages and career levels, enabling Upstream to create links and show artistic context across generations through their carefully curated exhibitions. Artists of note include international and national figures such as Christian Anderson, Cristóbal León, and Frank Ammerlaam. The enriched contemporary art experience provided by Upstream is further developed by their events programme and collaborations with local cultural organisations.
Kloveniersburgwal 95, 1011 KB Amsterdam +31 20 428 4284
Galerie Fons Welters
With its unique padded entrance and large, open-plan, clean-cut interior, Fons Welters is sure to leave a lasting impression even before the quality of presented artworks is taken into account. Exhibiting works of photography, performance, video, neon, painting, sculpture, installation and multimedia, the gallery has no set focus although exhibitions often feature sculpture as a central element. The gallery opened in 1988 in the romantic Jordaan district and has two exhibition spaces. The Playstation project space at the front of the gallery is dedicated to showing works by emerging artists, some of whom go on to achieve national acclaim, while the main exhibition space in the back hosts solo and group exhibitions by represented national and international artists and guest-curated shows. Occasionally, artist-oriented events and talks are also held in conjunction with the exhibitions on display.
Bloemstraat 140-C, Amsterdam, Netherlands, +31 20 423 3046
Flatland Gallery is based in the bustling arts and antiques district in central Amsterdam within a complex of galleries and close to many notable art institutions such as Foam, the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum. Founded by Martin Rogge, the gallery has gained international acclaim for their commitment to contemporary art, particularly in the field of photography although they also have a strong reputation for film, video, installation, sculpture and drawing. Characterized by a sense of dynamism, Flatland Gallery represents artists at different career stages whose works encompass a variety of genres. With photography in particular, these genres such as documentary, fashion and art photography are often juxtaposed during group exhibitions. Flatland also has its own publishing house, Flatland of the Record, which produces artist books and The Flatland Journal, with contributions by acclaimed art critics from around the world.
Lijnbaansgracht 314, Amsterdam, Netherlands, +31 20 330 5321
Annet Gelink Gallery
Founded in 2000, Annet Gelink Gallery is dedicated to the promotion of new trends and talents. Focusing on both Dutch and international art, the gallery has earned a reputation for presenting groundbreaking works of art across a wide variety of media. Although the gallery has no one set focus, it’s often noted for the presentation of top-quality photography. Exhibitions at Annet Gelink are often highly evocative and address a number of thought-provoking topics. The gallery also has a designated project space, The Bakery, which is dedicated to the first- time presentation of up-and coming contemporary artists. The gallery is a regular presence at international art fairs, including The Armory Show and Frieze.
Laurierstraat 189, Amsterdam, Netherlands, +31 20 330 2066