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Museumnacht: When Art Brings Us Together


Words by: Paiman Azizi, PR Manager

On a crisp Saturday evening in early November, I had the privilege of experiencing the magic of Museumnacht. The annual event sees more than 50 museums across Amsterdam open their doors after dark (alongside live music, DJs and more street food stalls than I could possibly count), and it’s one of the highlights in my calendar every year – even if the queues seem to grow longer each time I attend.

But as I wandered around some of my favourite museums last week, I realised that I wasn’t only captivated by the exhibitions. I was also deeply moved by the sense of community and connection that I could feel all around me.

In a world marked by uncertainty and upheaval, the power of art to bring people together is nothing short of inspiring. Seeing individuals from all walks of life come together in shared appreciation for art and creative expression is testament to the enduring resilience of the human spirit, and the basic human need for unity and connection during even the most challenging of times.

With dozens of exhibitions on display, it was impossible to visit everything that was on offer. But there were a few events where I felt this sense of togetherness more keenly. If you have the opportunity to visit any of them in person in the coming weeks or months, I highly recommend them all.

#15 Cosmism at Central Space, Buro Stedelijk

At Central Space, my friends and I embarked on a journey through the realms of science fiction, immortality and infinity, thanks to an immersive and truly eye-opening film. This experience was more than a visual feast; it was a philosophical exploration that expanded our horizons, challenging us to contemplate our place in the universe and the boundless potential that lies beyond.

Esmay Wagemans Workshop

Guided by the talented Esmay Wagemans, we delved into the realm of sculptural self-portraits, using unconventional materials as our medium of expression. Inspired by Carlijn Jacobs' exhibition "Sleeping Beauty" and its theme of escapism, we ventured into our own fantasy worlds, giving shape to our innermost thoughts and emotions through the art of sculpting. The resulting creations represented our individual journeys, and could be taken home as tokens of introspection and self-discovery.

Replenish by Night

The evening took an experiential turn as we delved into the theme of water at "Replenish by Night." Conceptual cocktails, delicious finger foods, and the rhythmic beats of live DJs set the stage for an exploration of the intricate dance of symbiosis, as presented in Giacomo d'Orlando's captivating project. The experience served as a poignant reminder of our profound dependence upon marine ecosystems, urging us to recognize and protect the wellspring of life that sustains us all.

Smile Like You Really Mean It!

In the thought-provoking exhibit "Smile Like You Really Mean It!" guests embarked on a journey through the realm of emotional labour, where a smile becomes a tradable commodity in an otherwise emotionless reality. This exploration left me contemplating the value of our emotions, and whether or not it’s possible to be authentic in a world that seeks to quantify even our most heartfelt expressions.

This year’s Museumnacht experience left a powerful impression upon me – reminding me that through art, we will always find a way to break boundaries and for new bonds. As divisions and differences seem to threaten to overshadow our shared humanity, the power of creative expression shines a beacon of light during otherwise dark times.

Let us not wait until next year’s event to feel that sense of togetherness again.

November 08, 2023