Amsterdam: Van Gogh Museum

I know that photos are prohibited inside. Sometimes I wonder whether they mean just photos of the art, but I would actually be pleased to hear that the building is included, as it too is a masterpiece alongside the art.

The Van Gogh Museum is one of my favorite buildings of all time. Though the exterior is nothing to write home about, I truly love the central atrium, and floor plan, of the building. My favorite spot is the bench on the first floor (the view is the photo above). When I go with people visiting us, I often take in the “Wheatfield with Crows” painting for a few minutes, and then just park myself on “my” bench while I wait for others. It is a place of transcendence.

There are 2 great staircases in this building. One is the semi-freestanding open staircase in the central atrium, and the other hugs the exterior of the building. The former is fantastic for stopping a moment to soak in the atmosphere of the museum (and people watch), while the latter provides a great view onto Museumplein.

In a building like this, I can imagine human creation and imagination flourishing before the computer age. With the aid of 3D programs, a lot of senseless detail is generated complicating the ability one has to experience the space- like spatial overload, similar to information overload.

As for the display of the art, I find that the galleries provide the proper scale of space and flow from room to room. I never feel like I’ve missed something.

Unfortunately my love does not extend to the new extension of the building.

Its been decided that we’re heading back to the states in 2 months. Though I will enjoy having “my” bench at the De Young Museum, I will thoroughly, from the bottom of my heart, miss this genius work by Rietveld.

Website: Van Gogh Museum website

Address: Paulus Potterstraat 7 (Museumplein) 1071 Amsterdam, The Netherlands