February 7th, 2015


Fifty shades of black

We're staying in Den Haag at the moment -- Friday I had a day off, and the Rothko exhibit at the municipal museum was still on the list after last year's debacle. So why not book a bed & breakfast (this one, a cozy mini-apartment) and make it a nice weekend outing? Why not indeed, so that is exactly what we did.

Yesterday we arrived around 13:30, and after getting installed into the apartment, we walked to Panorama Mesdag. I had never been there before, and klik wanted to show me. We had lunch on the way.
It was great fun -- it is an impressive painting, and the illusion you're standing on a dune is quite nice. But we also saw some photos of New Horizons, a photography project that took a photo at every hour in 2012. A few selected photos were on exhibit, and it was really beautiful and interesting. (Most photos won't show anything special, but of course for this exhibit the selection featured night shots with illuminated ships passing by, shots with fog or beautifully orange sunsets.) It's also thematically quite close to the Panorama, which is an added bonus!

After that, we walked into the city centre. We withstood the urge to go paper shopping at Daamen (we already have too much paper in store), and wandered around aimlessly. But around dinner time, our wandering was aimed at Burgerz, a gourmet hamburger restaurant.
Verdict: Not bad at all, with a much larger selection than Wally, but it is much less culinairy. Ketchup is served in mass-produced portion packages, for instance -- something that simply does not happen at Wally. But if you're there and in the mood for a burger, it's certainly a good option! (The seats are kinda high, though, so getting in and out of your seat can be a bit uncomfortable.)

Today, we took the bus to the municipal museum, and arrived an hour after opening. I had bought tickets in advance so we did not have to wait in line for the ticket window -- but I had forgotten those at home! So we had to buy tickets anyway... At least the money goes towards the museum, that's a small comfort.
The Rothko exhibit was really interesting, but also quite packed with people who had gotten the audio tour. This resulted in people wandering around like zombies with headphones -- and since there was a large horde of them, getting to see everything required frequent side-stepping.

I liked some of his early work, but the reason we wanted to see the exhibit was of course to see more of his 'classic style' paintings, which we had been 'confronted with' at the Tate Modern some years ago when we visited London. I like his darker paintings, because they have so much structure. It's not all black, because if you look closer (or longer) you can see different shades of black, and the interplay of the light and the structure of the paint gives a different view depending on your viewpoint or your mood. It's just a shame he had to be so depressed in order to make these beautiful artifacts.
We leafed through the catalogue, but on paper the paintings feel 'flat', and didn't interest me.

Then we walked through some of the fixed collection, and then it was time for lunch. The line for the cafetaria was quite long, and once we had our food, we could not find a place to sit -- the place was packed. In the end, we managed to find a spot.

Most of the other exhibits were interesting as well, with notable mentions for the ceramics and the 'romantic fashion'. We also checked out the 'Wonder Rooms' in the basement, with a lot of fun interactive exhibits about art. (We skipped on the interactivity, we were getting tired...)
While we were strolling along, we passed our king and queen. I saw a family of three coming towards us, and heard the little girl say something, and then the mother sais something like "Yes dear, but we have to go on". I didn't pay attention (the Wonder Rooms are aimed at children, so it's not that out of the ordinary to see a family there), but klik did because she thought the mother sounded like our queen.
She looked up and saw the three of them (king, queen and one of the princesses) walk by us in the opposite direction, with a security guy behind them...
I guess visiting a museum with your kids is a fun thing to do, but when you're the king you can't wander through the exhibits like we do. That's kinda sad, really.

Anyway, after making the rounds we checked out the shop (didn't buy anything) and went back to the B&B to rest up before heading out to dinner...