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Amsterdam Museum on the Amstel

    29 Mar - 30 Jun 2024

    Amsterdam Museum on the Amstel

    The Amsterdam of Piet van Eeghen

    How A Merchant Changed the City

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    Afdruk van Prent Henriette de Vries uit het stadsarchief

    29 Mar - 30 Jun 2024

    Amsterdam Museum on the Amstel

    Founder of the Vondelpark

    Without this nineteenth-century businessman and philanthropist, the city would have looked very different. As the founder of the Vondelpark and the Prinsengracht Hospital and through housing initiatives, he left his mark on the city.

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    Het Vondelpark Jacob Olie collectie Stadsarchief Amsterdam

    Het Vondelpark Jacob Olie collectie Stadsarchief Amsterdam

    Benefactor, art collector and banker

    The Vondelpark, Prinsengracht Hospital, Rijk- and Stedelijk Museum: all come from the 19th century. As are the first social housing developments. All began as 'citizen initiatives'. Not founded by the city government, but by private individuals who arrange everything themselves and provide the financing. Behind the scenes of these projects is one central figure: the businessman Christiaan Pieter van Eeghen (1816-1889).

    Together with his wife Cato Huidekoper, he is among the wealthiest Amsterdammers of his time. With all that money and his vast network, Van Eeghen played a crucial role in the modernization of Amsterdam, thanks to his successful civic initiatives.

    Jozef Israëls, Kinderen der zee 1863, Amsterdam Museum.

    Jozef Israëls, Kinderen der zee 1863, Amsterdam Museum.

    Romantic paintings

    Van Eeghen is also a great art lover. His house on the Herengracht is full of contemporary, romantic paintings. In addition, he has a unique collection of prints and drawings by Jan and Caspar Luyken (17th/18th century). After his death, he donated almost all of these works of art to the city. They now belong to the collection of the Amsterdam Museum such as the painting Kinderen der Zee by Jozef Israëls from 1863.

    The exhibition reflects on Van Eeghen as an Amsterdam benefactor, art collector and banker. He made his money through colonial trade, among other things. What does that mean for our contemporary view of his philanthropic work? And what roles did women play in all his activities?


    In this trailer, curators Maren de Wit and Laura van Hasselt give you an introduction to the exhibition.

    Credits: Lef Media

    Van Eeghen, with the help of his associations, changed Amsterdam permanently, provided it was on his terms.

    Maren de Wit

    Maren de Wit

    Conservator Amsterdam Museum

    One of the most important Amsterdammers of the 19th century

    Portret Laura van Hasselt, 2023, UvA

    Laura van Hasselt


    Piet van Eeghen collected his paintings as modern art. Modern has long since ceased to be, and not very fashionable either, but its high quality is still undisputed.

    Tom van der Molen

    Tom van der Molen


    De bocht in de Herengracht, 1882, Cornelis Springer.
    Meisje uit Dalarne, ca 1843-1876, Jozef van Lerius.
    Op de loer, 1857, Charles Verlat.
    Wolfheze, ca 1825-1865, Frederik Hendrik Hendriks,
    Verlaten (l'abandon),1849,Louis Gallait.



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    Pieter Oosterhuis Vondelpark Collectie Stadsarchief Amsterdam 1

    Exhibition on city innovator Van Eeghen

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    Made possible in part by

    The exhibition is made possible in part by het Cultuurfonds, Catherina Halkes Fonds and Fundatie van den Santheuvel, Sobbe.

    The Amsterdam Museum is generously supported by the Municipality of Amsterdam (Main Benefactor), VriendenLoterij (Founder), and the ELJA Foundation (Main Partner for Education).

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