Visit the birthplace of De Stijl


Visit the birthplace of De Stijl

Visit Leiden, the city where Van Doesburg and Mondrian launched the De Stijl art journal in 1917.

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Explore the history and influence of the De Stijl art movement in Leiden, the city in which Dutch artists Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian initiated the movement in 1917. During the summer months of 2017 you can experience the impact of De Stijl via a series of open-air and free exhibitions showing work by contemporary artists inspired by the movement. The fantastic ‘Open Air Museum de Lakenhal’ also invites you to check out an exclusive prototype of Theo van Doesburg and Cor van Eesteren’s 'Maison d’Artiste'.

  • Explore the historic Dutch city of Leiden, where Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian launched the De Stijl art journal in 1917.
  • Pay a visit to a prototype of Theo van Doesburg and Cor van Eesteren’s 'Maison d’Artiste'.
  • Discover the impact of De Stijl in 2017 as 20 international artists contribute to a large open-air artwork.

The birth of De Stijl in Leiden

De Stijl – translated simply as 'The Style' – was a major artistic movement in the 20th century and is regarded as Holland's most important contribution to modern art. It was in the historic city of Leiden, in 1917, where Dutch artists Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian launched an artistic journal called 'De Stijl’ to share their new artistic vision. Working closely with peers such as Bart van der Leck, J.J.P. Oud and Vilmos Huszár, their work soon became much more than a publication.

A growing group of Dutch and international artists and designers embraced De Stijl’s ethos: to make a playful, visual and optimistic impact on people's lives, be it with paintings, interiors or architecture. The movement’s most famous characteristics were geometric abstraction, juxtaposing the geometry of the straight line with asymmetry, and eye-catching primary colours used alongside non-colours.

The De Stijl art journal continued with Van Doesburg as its sole editor until its final issue in 1928. Undoubtedly, the movement’s artists and artworks have now influenced the international art and design world for an entire century and continue to attract new followers.

100 years of De Stijl at Open Air Museum De Lakenhal

One of the oldest monuments in the city of Leiden, Museum de Lakenhal has a collection of some 23,000 artefacts covering the cornerstones of Dutch art and history, from Rembrandt to Van Doesburg. Although the museum building will be closed for restoration until 2018, Museum de Lakenhal plays a key role in De Stijl's centenary celebrations by hosting the exhibition 'Open Air Museum De Lakenhal' from 2 June until 27 September 2017. Visit the beautiful Pieterskerkplein (the square outside the Church of St. Peter) to see a prototype of the stunning 'Maison d’Artiste', an elaborate cubist artists' house designed by Van Doesburg and architect Cor van Eesteren in 1923. Additionally, an open-air artwork, taking inspiration from Mondrian’s ‘Composition No. 10’, features contributions by 20 international contemporary artists and showcases the ongoing impact of De Stijl 100 years on.

Celebrating De Stijl in style

Leiden’s additional celebrations for 100 years of De Stijl will be suitably festive and inclusive. From 11 May until 2 September 2017, Galerie LUMC unveils works by 10 contemporary artists inspired by De Stijl’s geometric abstraction. While outside the Hooglandse Kerk, an impressive Gothic church that looms over the city centre, the public can encounter a host of new De Stijl-influenced sculptures from 18 May until 6 August 2017. The musical theatre group De Veenfabriek will also delve into the world of De Stijl icons like Van Doesburg, Mondrian and Van der Leck during a series of theatrical performances taking place throughout the year.

Explore the region: Leiden

Just a short hop north of The Hague, Leiden is a city with a beautiful historic centre, an international outlook and a young, vibrant population of students. It was the birthplace of Rembrandt van Rijn, a home to the Pilgrim Fathers before they set sail for America, and even Albert Einstein was a frequent visitor to Leiden to meet with acclaimed theoretical physicist Paul Ehrenfest. The city is situated near the North Sea coast and is typically at its busiest in springtime when the flower fields in the surrounding area are in colourful bloom.

Getting around

  • Travel to Den Haag in less than 30 minutes
  • In under an hour you can reach Utrecht, Amersfoort, Brabant, Amsterdam or Schiphol Airport
  • Drachten is almost a 2-hour journey, although the route takes you across the Afsluitdijk, a 32 km sea dike, which is an engineering marvel and a breath-taking international attraction in itself


Experience the grandeur of historic Leiden by spending the night in the luxurious Villa Rameau, next to the iconic Pieterskerk.

We recommend

Discover the roots of De Stijl in Utrecht and Amersfoort. Visit the birthplace of Piet Mondrian and view the world’s largest Gerrit Rietveld collection.


Check out the full program of the Mondrian to Dutch Design Year in Leiden.

Click here for a list of activities

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Mondrian to Dutch Design

‘Celebrate 100 years of De Stijl in 2017, from Mondrian to Dutch Design. Dutch artist Theo van Doesburg founded the De Stijl art movement in 1917.’

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