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The Drents Museum in Assen is one of the main attractions in the Northern Netherlands and for good reason. With no fewer than 90,000 different objects, the museum can even count itself as one of the largest in the Netherlands. In fact, the size and quality of the archeology collection makes the museum considered the most important in Northwest Europe. In addition, the museum houses the country’s Largest Doll’s House and there are regular exhibitions to admire. You may remember the impressive 2008 exhibition, “Xi’an Terracotta Army”.
The history of the Drents Museum starts in the year of 1854. In that year the museum received a provincial subsidy of 100 guilders for a simple cupboard with archaeological and historical objects. This cupboard was housed in the provincial building, which makes it easy to explain the then name, the Provincial Museum of Antiquities. In 1901 the collection was moved to the State Archives in Assen, which is now known as the Drents Archief. The name was changed to the Provincial Museum of Antiquities and Historical Objects.
When Professor van Giffen joined the museum in 1916, it received a great impulse that is noticeable to this day. Through his excavations and research into the archaeological treasures of Drenthe, he laid the foundation for this top museum in the field of archeology.
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The Largest Dollhouse in the Netherlands
The oldest house in Assen was restored in the style of the 18th century in 1964 and added to the Drents Museum in Assen. The Receiver’s House, as this house is called, now houses the Largest Dollhouse in the Netherlands. Here you go back to the time where wigs defined the fashion image and there was no electricity yet. The Dutch actress Liz Snoijink fulfills the role of owner and takes you to her doll world. A world in which the Van Lier family plays the leading role. They will be visited by none other than Stadholder Willem V.
Contemporary figurative art
Ten years after the restoration of the Receiver’s House, the museum moved permanently into the old Provincial House. The name was renamed the Provincial Museum of Drenthe. In 1978 the museum expanded with the Drostenhuis and a few years later the Abbey Church was added. Because the Fine Arts Foundation was also housed around 1900 in 1983, the museum has also been collecting art from around 1900 since that year. In addition, contemporary figurative art was also added to the museum’s collection during the 1980s.
It was not until 1996 that the museum was officially given the name of Drents Museum in Assen. This was decided after the museum was once again expanded with the underpass and also the roofing of the courtyards. These were designed by architect Gerard Schijf of Team 4 Architecten. Another three years later, the museum was disconnected from the province of Drenthe and it became an independent foundation. The museum’s name recognition was further increased in 2011 by the expansion with a new wing designed by Erick van Egeraat, an internationally renowned architect.
From Archeology to Contemporary Realism
The permanent collection of the Drents Museum in Assen includes unique and special exhibitions. For example, the Archeology collection provides a picture of the influence of man on the Drenthe landscape. In addition, you will find special nature and geology pieces here. What about mammoth bones, for example, but also objects from burial mounds and hunebeds? In addition, the world’s oldest boat can be viewed here, which comes from the Drentse Pesse.
A great diversity of exhibitions
The exhibition “Xi’an’s Terracotta Army” brought the museum to fame in 2008. The museum’s exhibitions are therefore particularly impressive and are characterized by great diversity. While the exhibition “The American Dream” was popular at the end of 2017 to June 2018, the exhibition “Iran, Cradle of Civilization”, among others, took over.
The Drents Museum in Assen also frequently collaborates with other cultural institutions. For example, the museum, together with others, programs exhibitions in the exhibition space of De Nieuwe Kolk in Assen. Under the abbreviation KINK (Kunst in de Nieuwe Kolk), visitors are treated to contemporary art, in particular art installations and contemporary design. In doing so, the museum invites other cultural organizations, such as Minerva Academy, KunstSalon Assen and Kunst aan de Vaart, to develop activities and set up exhibitions for this purpose.