2023 marks the celebration of the 170th anniversary of the birth of Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890), one of the world’s best-known and most admired painters. It is also the anniversary of the creation of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which opened 50 years ago and holds the world’s largest collection of the Dutch artist’s works. Less known, however, is that 140 years ago he spent three months in the province of Drenthe where his passion for painting and the world of art in general awakened.
To commemorate the occasion, the province unveiled a seven-storey high Van Gogh mural, launched three Van Gogh Drenthe cycling routes, and declared the current year the year of Van Gogh.
Van Gogh in Drenthe
Van Gogh came to Drenthe in September 1883 on the advice of artist friends. After having worked in various jobs, he decided to become a painter and sought inspiration from the wild, rugged landscape and the Drenthe peat workers. He arrived in Hoogeveen by train from The Hague on September 11, 1883, and lived in a guest house there for about two weeks.
He traveled by canal boat to Nieuw-Amsterdam where he lodged in a small room from October 2. He explored the area, and he drew and painted. It is here that he produced Landscape in Drenthe, one of his most striking and beautiful works currently exhibited at Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum.
He wrote no less than 23 letters to his brother Theo in Paris, which contain a wealth of anecdotes and impressions of the Drenthe landscape and farm life.
On 4 December he returned to Hoogeveen, and from there traveled by train to Nuenen, his parents’ home.
Celebrating great artist
The mural dedicated to Van Gogh’s stay in Drenthe was painted on an apartment block in Hoogeveen. There are plans to unveil an even larger one in Nieuw-Amsterdam on a former grain silo, just a stone’s throw from the Van Gogh Huis Drenthe.
The new cycling routes, about 50 km each, run around Hoogeveen, Zweeloo and Nieuw-Amsterdam. There are so-called ‘see-through panels’ along each cycling path which allow you to look, as it were, through Van Gogh’s eyes at the primal landscape that inspired him so much. The letters that Van Gogh wrote at the time are the basis of the audio stories that can be accessed via a QR code.
Leave a Reply