Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar
The museum possesses the collection of the city of Alkmaar, which includes over 12,000 objects. On the one hand, the museum emphasizes the city’s (art) history, which is explored with the aid of themes like ‘Golden Age’, ‘Victory!’ and ‘Portrait of Alkmaar’. On the other hand, the museum exhibits important pieces by the Bergen School and valuable objects from the 16th and 17th centuries. As interactive presentation methods are used, which feature prominently in many other Dutch museums, Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar is also a perfect outing for younger people.
Masterpieces from the museum collection
The masterpieces at Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar include a 15th century ceiling boss from the Great Saint Lawrence Church in Alkmaar and a schuttersstuk (militia group) portrait by Caesar van Everdingen, Alkmaar’s most famous 17th century painter.
The painting measures 2 x 3.5 m and represents 14 rich, flamboyant members of the city militia. The creation of such schuttersstukken is a Dutch tradition, its most famous example being Rembrandt’s Night Watch at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Dive into Alkmaar’s history
The starting point of Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar was actually a bit of a coincidence: the Spanish siege of Alkmaar in 1573. After they had besieged the city fruitlessly for eight weeks, they finally gave up. To commemorate the liberation of Alkmaar from the Spanish, the city established an association in 1861 aiming to collect paintings and objects relating to the history of Alkmaar. In 1871, the collection had expanded to the point that a museum was built: Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar. It was opened four years later. It is one of Holland’s oldest museums.
The Bergen School
The charming artist village of Bergen is located not far from Alkmaar. This is where the so-called Bergen School emerged in 1910. The movement included the famous Dutch artists Charley Toorop, Piet van Wijngaerdt, and Henri Le Fauconnier. The artists from Bergen preferred to paint outdoors and used rich colors and strong contrast. They are considered North Holland expressionists. Top works from the Bergen School, such as landscapes, cityscapes, portraits, and still lifes, are also on display at Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar.