The Kröller-Müller Museum holds the second largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world.The museum is located in the midst of the quiet woodland forest of Dutch national Park Hoge Veluwe. The museum makes for a great day trip visit from Amsterdam. From Amsterdam it takes 2 hours by train and bus to get to Kröller-Müller in Otterloo, province of Gelderland.
Kröller-Müller refers to the name of Helene Müller, the daughter of a wealthy German industrialist. Helen married the Dutch Anton Kröller, an employee of her fathers corporation who eventually took over the company. The couple moved to The Hague, where they became a regular sight in the upper classes of The Hague’s bourgeois society.
The story took an interesting turn when Helene fell under the spell of Bremmer, a mediocre painter who appealed to Dutch women in highest of social circles, teaching them the love of art.
Helene’s private collection
Helene was particularly fond of the work of the unknown painter named Vincent van Gogh. Helene started to collect his work obsessively, thereby turning Van Gogh’s work from unknown into the latest fashion.
Unfortunately, the painter himself, who had lived his whole life in poverty, had already shot himself in 1890, so he did not benefit from the rise to fame and fortune of his work. But Helene wanted more.
Her dream was to find a museum for her ever growing art collection, to show the future generation how refined a rich merchant family at the turn of the century could be. Finding a location, however was a problem.
When after 25 her dreamed ‘museum-house’ still wasn’t there, she donated the whole collection to the state of The Netherlands. The government built a museum quickly opening in 1938. Helene died 18 months later, 70 years of age.
Impressionism, symbolism, cubism
Helene collection at the The Kroller-Muller museum in Otterloo, Gelderland, is an excellent representation of Europe’s contemporary art of the 19th and 20th century. Impressionism, symbolism and cubism are represented by artists such as Renoir, Fanti-Latour, Paul Gauguin, Georges-Pierre Seurat, Cézanne, Mondriaan and Pablo Picasso.
Van Gogh at Kröller-Müller
Most of the work was made in the same year that Helene bought the works, which also gives the museum a personal view on Helene personal style and preference.
The heart of the museum is reserved for Van Gogh, with many famous works like: The Potato Eaters, Cafe Terrace at Night and Sorrowing Old Man (‘At Eternity’s Gate’) and other more unfamiliar masterpieces.
During her life, Helene bought over 90 Van Gogh paintings.
The Kröller-Müller Museum holds the second largest collection of his work, after the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.
60s Avant Garde
There is also a rich collection of avant garde art from the ’60’s and contemporary work from the large of Dutch desinger and art collector Martin Visser; work by Anselm Kiefer, Richard Long and Elssworth Kelly.
In 1961 a beautiful sculpture garden was added. The garden is surrounded by trees and flowering plants, ponds and bushes. Romantic paths lead you to the fine collection of modern and contemporary sculptures on the grounds of the museum, once part of the huge private estate of the Kröller-Müller couple. The collection includes works by Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Jean Dubuffet, Mark di Suvero, Lucio Fontana, Claes Oldenburg, Fritz Wotruba, Joep van Lieshout and many more.
How to get to the Kröller-Müller Museum
The Kröller-Müller Museum is located on the Veluwe, a 1100 km² large unDutch hilly area in the middle of The Netherlands. The 60-kilometer long high range is a remainder of large glaciers from the ice-age, who left behind these mountains of debris when they withdrew.
The Veluwe is beautiful nature reserve with woodland, dry heathland, lakes and remarkable sand dunes. If you are lucky you can spot wild boars here, deer, foxes and badgers. of dry heathland with for walks and bike rides. Dutch people visit the area in holiday season, staying at the many camp sites and bungalow parks in the area.
If you come by public transport you have to take a train to Ede-Wageningen or Apeldoorn (around 1 hour). From both train stations there are buses to the museum.
By car and bike
If you come by car, you can park your car in front of the museum. You can also park at one of the entrance of the park and cycle to the museum. The special white bicycles can be used free of charge within the park.
More information about the exhibitions and how to get there you find on the website of Kröller-Müller Museum.
Entrance Otterlo : 2,5 km (15 minutes by bike)
Entrance Hoenderloo: 4 km (20 minutes by bike)
Entrance Schaarsbergen: 10 km (1 hour by bike)