The Kunsthal does not have its own collection. It is not a museum but an exhibition building where several exhibitions run at the same time. The Kunsthal offers temporary accommodation to culture in the widest sense of the word, from ancient art to contemporary design, from elite to popular. Popular subjects including photography in Playboy, football clubs and cars are given full exposure here. The Kunsthal attracts many visitors, especially on Sunday afternoons. Big exhibitions such as ones on Picasso and the Impressionists have attracted more than one hundred thousand visitors. The building, which was designed by the architect Rem Koolhaas, is ingenious. All outside walls are different: expensive materials such as hardwood and marble are used in combination with cheap materials like raw concrete and corrugated iron. The building is constructed against a dyke and thus bridges the five metre height difference between the dyke and the park. The entrance is reached along a ramp. Inside all the spaces are also linked to each other by a ramp, and moving between the different floors you follow a spiral pattern. De Kunsthal, Westzeedijk 341, www.kunsthal.nl.
The Netherlands Architecture Institute (Nai) houses almost everything imaginable that has to do with town planning, interior design, architecture and landscape design. More than fifteen exhibitions are held in the various exhibition rooms each year. The NAi also possesses one of the biggest collections related to architecture and civil engineering in the world. The archives of drawings, sketches, models, photos and books are housed in a rectangular wing at the rear of the museum. The work of almost all important Dutch architects since 1800 can be consulted here. The bookshop in the foyer specialises in architecture and art and is well worth a visit. NAi, Museumpark 25, www.nai.nl.
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen
This is one of the most important museums in Holland. The Boijmans with its varied collection is a museum lover’s paradise. If you have time on your hands you will not be bored here. The museum houses collections from the Middle Ages to contemporary art. In the smaller rooms the old masters of Breughel, Rubens and Rembrandt can be seen. The newest wing of the museum houses surrealist art of painters like Magritte and Dali. The extensive collection of industrial crafts and design includes not only valuable jewellery but everyday functional objects such as typewriters, bicycles and lamps. There are regular special exhibitions on contemporary art and blockbusters such as the recent Dali exhibition this year. The pavilion where the restaurant is located is also very pleasant, with a beautiful view over the fountain and sculpture collection in the rose garden. Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Museumpark 18-20, www.boijmans.nl.
The Nederlands Fotomuseum houses almost four million negatives from over eighty prominent Dutch photographers and has the only specialised photographic restoration workshop in the country. The museum illustrates all aspects of photography. There are regular exhibitions of the work of famous photographers, and all photographic genres are represented: glamour, nature, sports and documentary photography. The quiet museum at present still only has three modest exhibition rooms, but that is about to change. Before 2007 the museum will move to a much larger building in Las Palmas at Kop van Zuid, where it is expected that the Fotomuseum will become the Dutch expertise centre for photography. Not only will there be more temporary exhibitions, but there will be a permanent exhibition on the history of Dutch photography. At present a new website is also being built, where a selection from the house collection will be available online Fotomuseum, Witte de Withstraat 63, www.nederlandsfotomuseum.nl.