Kröller-Müller Museum; Hidden Treasury Of Vincent Van Gogh

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If you are a Vincent van Gogh lover and want to admire his paintings, you can choose between visiting the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam or the Kröller-Müller Museum on the Hoge Veluwe.

Is the Kröller-Müller Museum worth visiting?

These two museums possess the two largest van Gogh collections in the world, which makes it challenging to choose.

The Kröller-Müller Museum owns more than 90 paintings and 150 drawings by Vincent van Gogh. This makes this van Gogh collection the second largest in the world, about 10% of Vincent van Gogh’s total oeuvre.

As a great Dutch van Gogh lover, I revisited the Kröller-Müller Museum for this article to write a review of this extraordinary museum for you.

Let’s discover what this unknown treasure trove of Vincent van Gogh has to offer and whether the Kröller-Müller Museum is worth a visit.

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Where Is The Kröller-Müller Museum?

The Kröller-Müller Museum is located in an unexpected place for a museum.

The Kröller-Müller Museum is located in the Hoge Veluwe National Park between Arnhem, Apeldoorn, and Ede. The Kröller-Müller museum is ± 85 km from Amsterdam.

The location of the Kröller-Müller museum in the middle of the Hoge Veluwe is unique and is one of the reasons why this museum is considered one of the most notable Dutch museums.

You will not find such a unique combination of art and nature anywhere else in the Netherlands.

The Park de Hoge Veluwe is an initiative of Mr. Kröller, the wealthy husband of Mrs. Kröller-Müller, who bought large tracts of land on the Veluwe in the early 20th century to rest and hunt. The Kröller-Müller Museum was built in the 1930s in a central location in the Hoge Veluwe and opened in 1938.

You can use the free white bikes at the entrance to the Hoge Veluwe and then cycle quietly through beautiful forests and heathlands to the Kröller-Müller Museum. You will hardly hear a car, which is now a rarity in the Netherlands.

How Did The Kröller-Müller Museum Get So Many Van Gogh Paintings?

The collection of the Kröller-Müller Museum was originally the collection of Mrs. Helene Kröller-Müller.

Between 1907 and 1922, she and her wealthy husband, the industrialist Anton Kröller, purchased more than 800 paintings, 275 sculptures, and 5,000 drawings. The art collection of this extraordinary couple was one of the very largest private collections of the 20th century.

The intense paintings of Vincent van Gogh greatly appealed to Helene Kröller-Müller. To her, Vincent van Gogh was transcendent. She recognized Vincent’s quest and spirituality and saw him as a champion of a new kind of art.

She purchased more than 90 paintings by Vincent van Gogh, which form the core of the Museum’s collection. Vincent van Gogh’s work hangs in the van Gogh Gallery, the heart of the Kröller-Müller Museum.

The Kröller-Müller Museum’s van Gogh collection is displayed in the museum’s van Gogh Gallery. This van Gogh Gallery is built as a circuit around a small patio, and a different era of Vincent van Gogh’s work is displayed on each side.

Vincent van Gogh lived and worked in many places in the Netherlands but most of his Dutch oeuvre dates from his time in Nuenen from 1883-1885.

The Brabant countryside and this region’s hard-working but poverty-stricken rural inhabitants greatly inspired Vincent. His most important work from this period is the Potato Eaters, and a study of this painting hangs in the Kröller-Müller Museum.

The actual Potato Eaters painting can be admired at the van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. You can read another article on this website to learn more about the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

During his two years in Nuenen, Vincent van Gogh wanted to become a peasant painter and depict the harsh reality of peasant life. Therefore, he almost always used dark earth colors to show the dark existence of country people.

The van Gogh Village Museum in Nuenen, less than 100 km from the Kröller-Müller Museum, is fascinating to learn more about Vincent van Gogh’s life during this period.

You can also visit the van Gogh House in Zundert, his birthplace, close to the border with Belgium.

The difference in the use of color is a striking distinction from the French period in his painting life.

Vincent van Gogh used much brighter colors in his French period than in his Dutch period, and most of the Kröller-Müller Museum’s van Gogh collection is from this French period.

There are genuine masterpieces by Vincent van Gogh from this French period hanging in the Kröller-Müller Museum, such as the bridge at Arles (Pont de Langlois). I was also greatly impressed by Cypresses with Two Figures and The Garden of the Asylum.

The Seurat hall in the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo
The Seurat Room in The Kröller-Müller Museum

Other Paintings In The Kröller-Müller Museum

The van Gogh Gallery may be the heart of the Kröller-Müller Museum, but that does not mean there is no other art to admire. Helene Kröller-Müller’s interest, fortunately, went beyond collecting works by Vincent van Gogh.

For example, absolute masterpieces by George Seurat, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and Piet Mondrian hang in the Kröller-Müller Museum.

The sculpture garden of the Kröller-Müller Museum

I think the Kröller-Müller Museum sculpture garden is a unique addition to the museum, making it one of the most notable museums in the Netherlands.

The sculpture garden is enormous, about 25 acres, and is a beautiful park-like setting where about 160 outdoor sculptures are displayed. If the weather permits, I recommend that you eat at the outdoor restaurant in the sculpture garden because it is a unique experience.

You can easily spend several hours in this beautiful sculpture garden, and children can expend their energy as they are allowed to run on the grass. However, touching the sculptures is prohibited except for the crowd favorite Jardin d’émail, which you can even climb on.

Check out the YouTube video below to get an impression of this extraordinary work of art.

I hope you will enjoy visiting the Kröller-Müller Museum and the Hoge Veluwe as much as I did.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best van Gogh Museum in Holland?

If you want to discover which van Gogh Museum in Holland is a must-see and which one you can skip, you can find a comparison of the 4 van Gogh Museums in Holland elsewhere on this website.

I have compared the Kröller-Müller Museum in this article with the van Gogh Museum to help you decide which one to visit.

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Pim Tijburg
Pim has lived his entire life in The Netherlands and he enjoys writing this blog about his home country. His mission is to make you like The Netherlands as much as he does.