Van Gogh In The Park

After almost a month of bouncing around booming metropolises – Edinburgh to Brussels to Hamburg – these country mice needed a break.  As much as we enjoy the convenience of nearby restaurants and pubs, exposure to museums and such, we needed some quiet, some space, and some fresh air.

So for our first stop in the Netherlands, we did just that.  At the Hoge Veluwe National Park, not only did we revel in the fresh smell of pine and luxuriate in the diverse landscapes, but we were pleasantly surprised by the impressive art exhibit at the Kroller Mueller Museum that sits smack dab in the middle.

As is consistent with our expectations of culture in the Netherlands, there were also bicycles involved, in fact, there were MANY bicycles involved.  The park is known for the thousands of white bicycles at each entrance (free to use with admission) and the 42 kilometers of trails throughout.


Art Exhibit


Hoge Veluwe Landscape


Pete in Hoge VeluweA happy country mouse.


After a morning of cycling, we stopped at the museum with little in the way of expectations.  We had briefly read that there were a *few* important pieces of art, and a *cool* display of sculptures outdoors.

To put it gently…we were simply blown away.

What we saw was the largest collection of Van Gogh’s work (aside from the family collection) in the world.  How can I possibly describe being dazzled by two rooms completely filled with his work?

Van Gogh at Kroller Muller


Van Gogh at Kroller Muller 2


I am far from an in-depth appreciator of art, I know my way around a few paintings and artists, but have never before actually felt any depths of emotions from it.  Observing painting after painting of this genius’ work, I felt like I understood him, as if such understanding would even be possible. The deliberate brush strokes that create such life in his pictures turned to flames before my eyes – his simple landscapes indisputably bearing the fire that was actually within him.

Van Gogh at Kroller Muller 3


Besides Van Gogh, there are a few other pieces from some artists you may have heard of – Picasso, Monet, Rembrandt and some new favorites of Jan and Charley Toorop.

Picasso at Kroller MullerNo biggie.  Just an original Picasso.


To the outdoor garden next, where we were perplexed by some, but thoroughly enjoyed others.

Kroller Muller sculpture gardenThis is just a small part of a massive sculpture that visitors are actually allowed to walk around on.  Kids loved it!


Kroller Muller sculpture garden - RodinThe most celebrated sculpture in the garden – a Rodin.


And so what do you do after you have your mind blown by a few pieces of brilliant art?

You get back on your bike and ride, letting it all sink in.

Hoge Veluwe Landscape 2

32 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • October 13 2011

    That’s quite the nice find there. Like you I’m not a huge art afficionado, but Van Gogh is one of the few that I really do enjoy. Picasso just confuses me.
    Is there any other way to get to the museum other than bike?
    Steve recently posted..You Want to Go to University WHERE??

    • October 13 2011

      Yep, there are buses that will take people right to the museum, but personal vehicles aren’t allowed.

  • Joy
    October 13 2011

    Great post, Dalene. There are so many amazing museums in Europe. I hope you get to see the statue of David in Florence. That moved me the same way I think Van Gogh moved you.

    • October 13 2011

      We saw David when we were in Florence in 2005. But I do want to see him again!

  • October 13 2011

    What a fantastically random discovery! I love it when art takes you by surprise 🙂 Even better, you didn’t have to get in a bus full of chattering people afterward–you got to have some time to yourself, just you and the bike, to take it all in. Lovely.
    Emily Sims recently posted..If you want to know who you really are, get naked.

    • October 14 2011

      It sure was nice that it is a little out of the way, and we could “indulge” by just sitting and staring for as long as we like as it wasn’t too busy!

  • October 13 2011

    Whoa, this is a larger collection than the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. Wow. That is a lot then. So awesome it’s in the middle of a park!
    Phil recently posted..Underarm Pitfalls

    • October 14 2011

      It was an entirely private collection of one woman. She started buying Van Gogh’s stuff before he became well known, and then gave it all over to a foundation when her family was worried about going bankrupt and losing it all! She had some REALLY incredible pieces.

  • October 13 2011

    Wonderful post, the second pic is just Awesome. And Van Gogh was a master, those works of his are gems, Thanks for the glimpse.
    Arti recently posted..Temples in Haridwar – Mansa Devi, Chandi Devi, Daksh Prajapati Temple and Bhim Goda Tank

    • October 14 2011

      Thanks Arti – he was one of the great masters, and one of my favorites, so we were happy to find this.

  • October 13 2011

    Beautiful artwork, what a great find. There’s nothing like a good bike ride 🙂
    Dean recently posted..The Medieval Town of San Gimignano, Italy

    • October 14 2011

      And seeing as we could combine both in one day – perfect! 🙂

  • October 14 2011

    Love, and that is all. Looks like a perfect day in my book.
    Mara recently posted..Travalo means no more spilled perfume (plus a nice giveaway)

    • October 14 2011

      Really, can’t get much better!

  • Emily in Chile
    October 13 2011

    That looks like a gorgeous day out just with the nice bike ride, and what a great surprise to see such amazing art!
    Emily in Chile recently posted..Swimming in Cajón del Maipo

    • October 14 2011

      Not bad for our first day in the Netherlands, hey? Was a great start to a great couple of weeks!

  • October 15 2011

    What’s the park like? Is there camping, or other activities other than biking?
    Taylor recently posted..Home is Where You Hang Your Mosquito Net.

    • Pete
      October 16 2011

      There is definitely camping (more on the outskirts of the park). I suppose you could also just walk the trails, but everyone is one bikes!

  • One of the few artists that I actually like! Sounded like an awesome day you had there.
    jill- Jack and Jill Travel The World recently posted..Getting Scammed at the Peru – Chile border

    • Pete
      October 16 2011

      Van Gogh is a favorite of ours too, and we were quite astounded by the many popular works of his they had there. It was a pretty spectacular day!

  • Laura
    October 18 2011

    What a great find! Van Gogh is one of my favorites. That’s so cool that you were so affected by his work. Sounds like a great day all around.

  • October 22 2011

    How wonderful to come across an exhibition like this out of the blue – one of the joys of travelling.

    • Pete
      October 22 2011

      Hi Carol, thanks for the comment. It was certainly a lovely surprise.

  • October 24 2011

    Beautiful pictures! I never had the chance to visit the countryside of the Netherlands and it seems like there’s much more to this country than touristy Amsterdam. I need to go back!
    Alex recently posted..The Monday Map: Owen Davey

    • October 25 2011

      We had no idea what to expect in the Netherlands (other than popular Amsterdam!), and were so pleasantly surprised throughout the whole country. It is definitely worth a couple of weeks of exploration!

  • NLM
    October 27 2011

    Thanks for this post. I have never heard of this museum. Seeing art in person is so much different from seeing it in books–even works you have seen tons of times are so much better in person.
    NLM recently posted..Sibling Rivalry? Us?

    • October 27 2011

      I 100% agree, and it applies to so much – art, architecture, any kind of scenery. Seeing it personally makes all the difference.

  • November 4 2011

    The best part of cycling in the Netherlands (and Belgium) is that they are flat flat flat! No hills involved!
    Jade Johnston recently posted..Off The Beaten Track On New Zealand’s South Island

    • November 4 2011

      I AGREE! And that is my kind of cycling! 🙂

  • November 23 2011

    Some great art in this post. Nice landscape too, and a nice bike ride on flat land. Sounds like a great day to me 🙂
    Tobias recently posted..Stockholm In The Fall

    • November 24 2011

      It was a fabulous day, also made so by the wonderful (and unseasonable) weather that we had!

  • Meagan
    January 30 2012

    Wow! I love it when things work out like that!
    Meagan recently posted..Mansion House Hotel in Elgin, Scotland

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