Good Hope - South Africa and the Netherlands at the Rijksmuseum

Exhibitions / Amsterdam
17 February 2017 - 21 May

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Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX
Amsterdam
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The Rijksmuseum presents the first big exhibition regarding the history between South Africa and the Netherlands!

Exhibition Good Hope

Good Hope - South Africa and the Netherlands from 1600 zooms in on 400 years of tumultuous history between the Netherlands and South Africa, through 300 objects such as paintings, photographs, archaeological finds and utensils.

The items are mainly from South Africa, and illuminate the mutual influence and shared culture between the countries.

History and future

Prominent in representing historic connections are the metres-long panoramic landscapes by Robert Jacob Gordon, a Dutch explorer who gave the west an image of 18th century South Africa.

The future of South Africa is also reflected, among others, in a series of impressive portraits of South African children who were born after 1994, the year apartheid was abolished. These were created by South African artist Pieter Hugo.

Mutual influence

The dominant presence of the Dutch has had a big impact on South Africa in population, politics, language, religion and law. The Netherlands, in turn, was influenced by the relationship as well, through aggressive anti-apartheid protests in the 80s, and wars between Dutch residentsand locals in South Africa.


Portrait from the series "1994" by Pieter Hugo


"A giraffe with a Khoi", by
Robert Jacob Gordon, 1779​

Thumb image: Nelson Mandela visiting Leidseplein in Amsterdam, June 16, 1990
Photograph by Maurice Boyer

All images courtesy of Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Exhibition specials

Special activities and events as part of the exhibition include:

Guided tours

Tours through the Good Hope exhibition are given by South African guides, who use their background and personal perspectives to shed light on the items on display.

An exhibition book

Along with the exhibition, a richly illustrated book will be published containing 56 contributions from 26 authors in the fields of literature, language, (art) history, archaeology, politics and journalism.

A special South Africa afternoon

March 26
A lively afternoon of music, lectures and talks will include performances by the singers Nomapostile Nyiki and Lungiswa, with various songs about their production South African Road Trip.

Symposium Good hope for a new generation

April 5
The VU Amsterdam symposium "Good hope for a new generation - Reflections on diversity and change in South Africa and the Netherlands" focuses on the current period of transition.

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