Winy Maas selected as first curator of Van Gogh Homeland Biennale

Van Gogh Homeland Biennale

Vincent van Gogh had a great love for the Brabant landscape, as can be seen in many of his paintings. Over a century after he left his native Dutch province, this landscape is now under pressure. The number of floods is increasing while farmers, cities, industry, and nature lovers are fighting over the available space.

Given the complications of the Dutch nitrogen crisis, permit applications for projects in Natura 2000 protected areas have come to a standstill. How can Brabant find the balance between idyll and progress? At the initiative of Midpoint Brabant, MVRDV and the Van Gogh Homeland Foundation developed a meaningful experience that aims to make the public more aware of the region’s coming challenges.

By combining knowledge of architecture, landscape design, and sustainability, along with expertise in the leisure industry, the initiators want to reignite the enthusiasm of both young and old people for the Brabant landscape. The ambition is to show, in an attractive and accessible way, how the landscape that inspired Vincent van Gogh 150 years ago can be made more sustainable and greener in the future.

Van Gogh Homeland is being realised in collaboration with the regions and municipalities of Brabant, but also with important regional players such as the Efteling amusement park. At the beginning of March, the plan for Van Gogh Homeland was handed over to Stijn Smeulders, deputy of the province of North Brabant, who is facilitating the development of the plan.

That plan is divided into three parts: Van Gogh Homeland Experience, an attraction that is being developed in collaboration with Efteling, Van Gogh Homeland Biennale, and the Van Gogh Homeland Atelier, a hub for knowledge transfer from which the attraction and the biennale will be developed.

The biennale will come first, planned for 2025. Architect Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV, has been asked to be the first curator to shape this biennale. It will be an outdoor exhibition full of interventions and temporary installations that give the stage to typical Brabant landscape elements.

Visitors can go on an adventurous expedition through temporary super dunes, horticultural towers, rain chambers, and heather houses that will be placed throughout the landscape. Inspired by Van Gogh’s vision of the Brabant landscape, makers are invited to accentuate Brabant’s best features and explore the limits of using the landscape in multiple ways.

The intention is that the biennale will be organised in a different area of Brabant every two years. The first will take place in central Brabant, with the municipality of Tilburg as its centre. Source by MVRDV.

  • Location: Provincie Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
  • Architect: MVRDV
  • Founding Partner in charge: Winy Maas
  • Partner/Director: Gideon Maasland
  • Design Team: Gijs Rikken, Rik Lambers, Bin Wei, Karolina Duda, Kristina Knauf, Mark van Wasbeek, Natalia Lipczuk, Yayun Liu
  • Client: Midpoint Brabant – Stichting Van Gogh Homeland
  • Year: 2023
  • Images: Courtesy of MVRDV