May 29, 2013
There was a great deal of interest when Prinses Beatrix opened the North Brabant Museum and the Stedelijk Museum in ‘s‑Hertogenbosch on Friday 24 May 2013. The official opening was held in the morning for a group of invited guests; in the evening there was a festive programme with DJs, VJs and dancing for a wide audience of art lovers and other stakeholders. On the Saturday both museums were opened for the first time to the public; it was a huge success. Halfway through the afternoon the headcount was almost at 3500 visitors. With the opening of the Museumkwartier (Museum Quarter) ‘s‑Hertogenbosch has a cultural focus once again. Together, both museums offer a rather diversified collection of art and culture in Southern Netherlands; from archaeology, cultural history, ancient and modern masters to present-day art and design. Having more than 5000 m2 of exhibition space, a museum souvenir shop, catering establishment and a library, the Museumkwartier ranks amongst the major museums of the Netherlands. MTD landschapsarchitecten and Bierman Henket Architects were commissioned by the Province of North Brabant, the Municipality of ‘s‑Hertogenbosch and the museums, to develop the plans for the Museumkwartier in the heart of the historical inner city of ‘s‑Hertogenbosch. To this end, the North Brabant Museum was radically renovated and extended. The Stedelijk Museum ‘s‑Hertogenbosch was given a completely new building. The gardens, patios and entrance plazas form the links between both museums, between the museums and the city, and between the existing and the new buildings. They form an oasis of peace in the busy inner city. In January of 2006 MTD landschapsarchitecten was commissioned by the Province of North Brabant to draw up a development plan for the inner gardens, entrance plazas and surrounding environment of both museums. The entrance plaza of the Museum of North Brabant along Verwerstraat has largely remained unaltered. However, in matching up with the architecture, the main entrance will be given more of a symmetrical layout, with centrally positioned stairs and ramps on both sides. It was proposed, as is the case on the southern side of the square, to excavate the Binnendieze on the northern side all the way from Waterstraat, with mooring possibilities for little boats. The new entrance plaza of the SM’S is situated along Mortel, on the other side of the museum quarter. As is the case with the new construction, the idea in the development plan is to give this square an own identity and a contemporary look. The centrally situated museum garden forms the heart of the museum quarter and acts as an important link between the Museum of North Brabant and the SM’S. The idea of the plans is to preserve the image-determining elements from the original design (MTD landschapsarchitecten; 1997), the undulating turf, the vaulted field of ivy and, as the most important feature, the monumental trees that are present. In addition, the terrace at the restaurant will be maintained. From here there are beautiful views onto the collection of statues scattered amongst the greenery. A pathway leads to a sculptural bench on the other side of the garden, which is cut into the undulation. A new aspect for the museum garden is that, in the latest plans, this will be bordered on four sides by museum buildings; the glazed connecting corridor between the Museum of North Brabant and the SM’S is thus an architectural response to the transparent gallery on the opposite side. In the evenings the courtyard is illuminated via these glazed walls. To compliment this, a number of trees in the garden will be subtly lit with ground spots.