PRINT March 2013


the Stedelijk Museum

Benthem Crouwel Architects, Stedelijk Museum Expansion-Renovation Project, 2007–12, Amsterdam. Photo: Jannes Linders, 2012.

For some reason, monumental buildings do not work in Amsterdam. . . . The monumentality of Amsterdam exists only in the heads of its inhabitants, not on the streets.

—Geert Mak, Amsterdam: A Brief Life of the City (1994)

GEERT MAK, a popular Dutch history writer, is often criticized for ironing the wrinkles out of history, but his antimonumental gloss on Amsterdam’s architecture has been affirmed twice in the past year. First, the shamelessly iconic Eye Film Institute opened to mixed reviews in April. Then in September came the new addition to the Stedelijk Museum, which houses Amsterdam’s modern and contemporary art collection. Except for two brief reopenings in the old building, the museum had been closed since 2004, finally returning last fall after a series of increasingly unbearable delays, caused by circumstances such as structural miscalculations, a bankruptcy, and an

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