About the collection
The Hague University, the World, the Art
Creativity, self-determination, and a distinctive outlook on the world – these are the essentials at the core of the international art collection of The Hague University of Applied Sciences. The wide range of images and ideas encompassed within this collection, reflects both on the world beyond the school as well as on the diversity of the people within its walls.
The possible role which art could play has been a prime consideration from the initial conception of The Hague University’s new building on the Johanna Westerdijkplein. This was overwhelmingly apparent at the official opening of the new building complex on February 27, 1997 – visitors could already encounter striking artworks by Hans van Bentem and Lawrence Weiner by the entrance to the building, and once inside they would have seen the two intriguing, brightly coloured murals by Roland Schimmel. Then, as part of the opening ceremony, a wooden sculpture many metres high, by artist Stephan Balkenhol, was unveiled in the atrium.
As well as commissioned works of art, there has been an emphasis on collecting contemporary photography. This grew from the conviction that, as photography has a certain recognisable realism, it would be accessible to young people, including our students. The result is a striking collection of photographs in which an exploration of human identity, in particular in relation to the (urban) environment, takes centre place. It began with specific commissions for work by photographers Jannes Linders and Carl de Keyzer whilst the new building was still under construction, and gained substance and depth through the acquisition of dozens of contemporary photographic works of art. The addition of the historic photographs of The Hague positions these images within a broader visual tradition, and has the added benefit of providing the students with insight into the city where they will spend several years studying at The Hague University of Applied Sciences.
The building as designed by architects Atelier Pro, envisages The Hague University as a sort of post-modern education factory. It is comprised of three distinct elements – the Oval, the Strip and the Pendulum – elements which are linked with one another through aerial walkways inspired by the Van Nelle (coffee, tea and tobacco) factory in Rotterdam. Art has also been implemented as a way to introduce variety and visual stimulus into the building. This can be seen in the monumental works of art by Balkenhol, Van Bentem, Weiner and Schimmel in, and on, the university. The building’s design also includes recessed sections in the concrete walls of the Pendulum and the Strip which are equipped with lighting specially suited to the documentary (black and white) photographic commissions and the historical Hague collection. The larger, and often colourful, contemporary photographic works come into their own on the first floor of the Oval, where they are instantly visible from the atrium.
The Hague University is now in possession of a modest, yet impressive, collection of art. In addition to the monumental commissioned work, it also includes dozens of photographs by artists such as Anton Corbijn, Michel François, Andreas Gursky, John Hilliard, Teun Hocks, Shirin Neshat, Liza May Post and Beat Streuli.
This museum-quality work provides a sample sheet of art photography from around the turn of the century, and this realisation was instrumental in encouraging The Hague University to return to its art programme with new enthusiasm. In 2017 a new arts commission was elected, which commissioned new work from artist Johan Nieuwenhuize – The Bubble – which was realised in 2018. The Lighthouse regularly organises exhibitions and other activities relating to the collection, and the arts commission plans to commission a new, monumental work of art to complement Balkenhol’s existing sculpture in the atrium. And so, alongside whatever the curriculum has to offer, at The Hague University of Applied Sciences art continues to be a means to encounter the world in a creative and unpredictable manner, and to surprise and stimulate both students and lecturers.
This website depicts all the works of art in The Hague University of Applied Sciences and provides more information about them. If you see a work on view in the building, then by scanning the QR code next to it you will be immediately directed to the information on this site.