The Hermitage Amsterdam museum once had access to the three million artefacts in the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. But it broke all links with Russia when the country invaded Ukraine—and has now announced a new name and a new direction.
From September, the museum on the Amstel river will be known as H’art, and will work in partnership with the British Museum, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Smithsonian American Art Museum—with access to collections of more than 160 million objects.
“Our programme will be attractive and themed from major art exhibitions to intimate presentations of work by contemporary artists,” said Annabelle Birnie, the director of the Hermitage Amsterdam, at a press conference on Monday.
The museum has scheduled a major Kandinsky exhibition with the Centre Pompidou in mid 2024, a British Museum show titled Feminine Power in 2026 and already has a Smithsonian American Art Museum video installation, called Clubbing, by Martine Gutierrez on show in a dedicated room.
Another highlight will be a show of Rembrandts from The Leiden Collection, a private art collection, during Amsterdam’s 750th birthday year, which it will be celebrating in 2025. Thomas S. Kaplan, the philanthropist and art collector, is currently lending work from this collection for the show current Hermitage Amsterdam exhibition Rembrandt & His Contemporaries.
As an independent museum, the Hermitage Amsterdam suffered particularly during the pandemic—when it did not qualify for government support—and started its own fundraising campaign. Birnie acknowledged that since its break with Russia, despite other museums lending works and the Amsterdam museum moving into a new wing, it has been a challenging time.
“We are opening the windows of the world…to show that art connects,” she said. “We look beyond borders in collaborations with world famous museums to introduce our visitors to the most beautiful art from all ages that opens our eyes with its themes and stories, touches our hearts and shows us our world of yesterday, today and tomorrow. We are looking for dialogue.”