Discover the beginning of De Stijl in Leiden

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Leiden is a wonderful historic city that has inspired artists for centuries; it is also the cradle of the De Stijl art movement. It was here that Theo van Doesburg established the De Stijl magazine in 1917, breathing life into an influential art movement. Discover how Leiden inspired Van Doesburg and follow in his footsteps.

  • Discover Leiden, the cradle of De Stijl.
  • Admire masterpieces by Theo van Doesburg in Museum De Lakenhal.
  • Follow in his footsteps on a De Stijl city walk.

Museum De Lakenhal

In 2017, exactly one hundred years after De Stijl came into being, Museum De Lakenhal bought one of Theo van Doesburg’s masterpieces: Contra-compositie VII (1924). Although the title of the painting indicates otherwise, it is part of a series of five paintings. With these works Van Doesburg set a new course, taking the first steps towards concrete art. According to Van Doesburg, this type of art should be the product of the artist’s conscious and rational mind.

You can also see Van Doesburg’s first steps towards abstract art at Museum De Lakenhal. Sfeer, his first entirely abstract work, is the highlight in the collection. His work shows how Van Doesburg evolved as a painter.

Renovation and extension of Museum De Lakenhal

Museum De Lakenhal is currently undergoing extensive renovations but will reopen to the public on 15 June 2019. In addition to beautiful works by De Stijl, you will also be able to admire top works by Rembrandt and Lucas van Leyden. Until that time, several masterpieces from the collection are on a road trip. You will be able to see them in Amsterdam  (Rijksmuseum, Hermitage and Rembrandthuis), Haarlem (Frans Hals Museum), Katwijk (Katwijks Museum), and Alkmaar (Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar).

Editor’s tip

Pick up a De Stijl city walk map at the Leiden tourist office, VVV Leiden (Stationsweg 26, Leiden). Follow in the footsteps of De Stijl and discover historic places. In addition to Museum De Lakenhal, the itinerary also leads to the Achmea building, the installation Vierkant in Vierkant, and Theo van Doesburg’s old workshop.

Spending the night in Leiden

Are you looking for a hip design hotel, a romantic bed & breakfast, or a pleasant holiday home for your family? Leiden has suitable accommodations for every taste and budget. Check out the comprehensive selection and book your perfect holiday here!

Mondrian & De Stijl

De Stijl was founded in 1917. Important members of De Stijl were Theo van Doesburg, Piet Mondriaan, Bart van der Leck, J.J.P. Oud, and Gerrit Rietveld. Learn everything about this art movement.


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