Van Gogh in Brabant church Etten-Leur
© Ernst Wagensveld
Category:News Resources

Rural Van Gogh theme launched

May 9, 2023

Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous painters the Netherlands has ever produced. In 2023, it is exactly 140 years ago since he arrived in Hoogeveen in Drenthe and, later in that same year, settled in Nuenen in North Brabant. This year’s theme – Rural Van Gogh – shines the spotlight on lesser-known Van Gogh locations, and kicks off with the reopening of the Van Gogh Village Museum in Nuenen.

Opening of Van Gogh Village Museum in Nuenen

In 1883, the 30-year-old Vincent van Gogh settled in Nuenen, the place where he first devoted himself to his painting and drew inspiration from nature and peasant life. In the following two years, he painted as much as a quarter of his entire oeuvre, including his first true masterpiece: The Potato Eaters. The Van Gogh Village Museum is the successor of the Vincentre, featuring a new building and revamped permanent exhibition that tell the story of Vincent van Gogh’s personal and artistic development in Nuenen. The architecture and layout have been completely redesigned, and the museum is now home to Vincent’s Lightlab, where visitors can experiment with the effects of these colours and light. The idea behind the Lightlab is based on letters from Vincent to his brother, Theo, in which he described how he was inspired by the palette of colours found only in North Brabant.

The opening of the museum in Nuenen is the first in a series of activities taking place in 2023.

Rural Van Gogh

In 2023, the provinces of Drenthe and North Brabant will be putting the painter in the spotlight in a themed series of activities called ‘Rural Van Gogh’. The main body of this series will focus on the years he spent in the Netherlands, his love of nature and the countryside, and his connection with the provinces.Vincent van Gogh’s short yet eventful life was punctuated by a large number of moves to various places in Europe. Although his period in France has earned the artist his fame, he spent most of his life in the Netherlands. North Brabant is the region where he spent the majority of his life and where he grew as a person and an artist. Despite struggles with his family, faith, and emotions, he moved back home in order to establish himself as an artist, and it was here that he produced his first masterpiece.

For a short but defining period of his life, Van Gogh stayed in Drenthe, where he wrote many letters describing the impression the landscape made on him. His later work was heavily influenced by the landscape, the raw nature of peasant life, and the various effects of light. It is therefore no surprise that Vincent van Gogh’s letters regularly pay homage to his unfaltering love for Brabant and Drenthe’s countryside, and this defining theme in his work can still be admired in many places in North Brabant and Drenthe.

Activities in Drenthe and North Brabant

Following the opening of Nuenen’s Van Gogh Village on 20 April, the renovated Van Gogh Huis (Van Gogh House) in Nieuw-Amsterdam, Drenthe will also open to the public in summer 2023. In addition to the opening of the revamped Vincent van Gogh House in Zundert – Van Gogh’s birthplace – in the autumn, the Drents Museum will be running a Van Gogh exhibition in September. Besides a wide range of activities in Drenthe and Brabant, 2023 is also the year in which the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam celebrates its 50th anniversary and the Van Gogh Europe partners celebrate Van Gogh’s 175th birthday. Visit to read the full story about Vincent van Gogh’s time in North Brabant and Drenthe and his love for the landscape.

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