Good Hope. South Africa and The Netherlands from 1600

The relationship between South Africa and the Netherlands since 1600 is the basis for this exhibition. And the focus is indeed on relationship: the exhibition covers both sides of the story. For example, the arrival of the Dutch changed South Africa decisively. Think: the population’s composition, the introduction of slavery by the VOC (the Dutch East India Company), the language (Afrikaans), the legal system, the protestant church, the introduction of Islam, the typical façades and the Dutch names on the map. The relationship with South Africa also changed the Netherlands. The Boer Wars around 1900, countless ‘Transvaal districts’ in Dutch cities and the violent anti-apartheid struggle of the 1980s symbolise a continuously tempestuous relationship.

In this exhibition, around 300 paintings, drawings, documents, photos, items of furniture, souvenirs, tools and archaeological discoveries give a vivid impression of the culture shared and the influence reciprocated by the two countries.

The landscape panoramas, by Robert Jacob Gordon, occupy a prominent place in the exhibition. This Dutch traveller illustrated 18th-century South Africa, giving the country an identity. The imposing portraits of children born after 1994 – when apartheid was abolished – by the South African photographer Pieter Hugo illustrate South Africa’s future. Along with the exhibition, the NTR (Dutch public-service broadcaster) will be broadcasting a seven-part TV series presented by Hans Goedkoop, which will be shown weekly starting on 23 March 2017 at 21.05 on NPO2.

You can also book a guided tour of the ‘Good Hope’ exhibition led by a South African guide who present his or her own personal perspectives to the history presented. A free audio tour – presented by writer and Africa specialist Adriaan van Dis – is also available via smartphone app.




Museum informatie

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Museumstraat 1
1071 XX

+31 (0) 20 6747 000




Children aged 18 and under: Gratis

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