Replete with architectural treasures from the Early Middle Ages, the Dutch city of Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands. Juxtaposed against these historical edifices are all manners of contemporary art spaces, exhibiting works from emerging and established artists. Hailed as a ‘museum city,’ Utrecht is the ideal destination for arts and culture aficionados looking for a tantalizing taste of the contemporary art world.
The Museum of Contemporary Aboriginal Art
The Museum of Contemporary Aboriginal Art is the only museum in Europe solely devoted to contemporary Australian Aboriginal art. The museum showcases a permanent exhibition overviewing contemporary Aboriginal artworks from all regions of Australia. Admission costs €9 for adults and €5 for children aged 4 to 17. Guests should check the museum’s website in advance to ascertain opening hours.
Rietveld Schröder House
Hidden amongst Utrecht’s historical buildings is the Rietveld Schröder House. Visitors can delve into this Mecca of modern architecture with a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The house was designed in the manner of Rietveld’s De Stijl principles, with an emphasis three-dimensional, asymmetrical composition.
Rietveld Schröder House, Prins Hendriklaan 50, Utrecht, Netherlands, +31 30 236 2310
Studio Dick Bruna
Studio Dick Bruna sits opposite the Centraal Museum of Utrecht, home to a collection of 7,000 works by illustrator Dick Bruna. Spend the day with the likes of Poppy Pig, Boris Bear, and the slightly less alliterative little dog, Snuffy. Bruna’s most famous invention is Miffy the rabbit, who found particular fame in Japan.
Dick Bruna Huis, Agnietenstraat 2, Utrecht, Netherlands, +31 30 236 2362
Founded in 1993, the Morren Galleries – located on the water-flanked thoroughfare of Oudegracht – house a perpetually changing series of contemporary art exhibitions. From Gertjan Scholte-Albers, whose oeuvre reflects his penchant for painting rich, colorful landscapes, to Cecile Perra, a multimedia Surrealist artist, the Morren Galleries are well worth a visit.
Morren Gallery, Oudegracht 338, 3511 PM Utrecht, Netherlands, +31 30 231 7752
Casco was established as an “open and public space for artistic research and experiments.” A dynamic program of exhibitions emphasizes design and social theory. This exhibition space incorporates the urban environment of Utrecht into its shows, reflecting local culture.
BAK (basis voor actuele kunst) or ‘foundation for contemporary art’ characterizes itself as an interlocutor, dwelling in the abstract space between artistic disciplines, critical thinking, and art advocacy. BAK is committed to supporting artists in their endeavors to examine the changing role of art in “our crisis-ridden times.”
Impakt’s raison d’être is to offer critical and creative views on “contemporary media culture and innovative audiovisual arts in an interdisciplinary context.” The organization also holds an annual festival, which consists of exhibitions, film and video programs, lectures, and musical performances.
Stichting Impakt, Lauwerecht 10, 3514 BB Utrecht, Netherlands, +31 30 296 3408
HKU University of the Arts Utrecht
HKU University of the Arts Utrecht offers degree courses in the areas of fine art, design, music, theatre, media, and arts management. Every year, graduating students put on their final fashion shows, art exhibitions, plays and concerts, which are open to the public. There is no better place in the whole of Utrecht to see contemporary artwork by young, vibrant emerging artists.
MaHKU Utrecht Graduate School of Visual Art and Design
The graduate school of the University of the Arts, Utrecht, or the MaHKU, offers students the opportunity to take a variety of Masters courses in the disciplines of visual art and design. Although the MaHKU is primarily an academic institution, the student’s final works will be displayed throughout, and at the end of each in exhibitions that are open to the public.