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Museum of Contemporary Art in the old court house building

The Hartwig Art Foundation wants to establish an international museum for contemporary art in the building – part of which has protected monument status – at its own expense and risk. The City of Amsterdam wants to acquire the building from its current owner, the Central Government Real Estate Agency, for this purpose. The municipal council has will vote on the plans next month.

The Central Government Real Estate Agency and the City of Amsterdam have made agreements about the work required on the old court house and the adjacent area of land. The municipal council will vote on whether to accept the proposals in mid-September. The Amsterdam Arts Council has given a positive recommendation regarding the plans. After the purchase, the city will lease the building to cover its costs. The Hartwig Art Foundation will then create the gallery at its own expense and risk; it is not asking for any funding from the municipality. The City believes that the new gallery would be a wonderful asset for the city.

Displaying art – and making it, too

The gallery – which for now is being called the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) – will present exhibitions of young, promising artists and new art. In addition to exhibition spaces, there will also be studios, living spaces for artists, workshops and hospitality facilities. So art will not only be displayed in the building, but also created. The MCA will collaborate with other art institutions such as the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, the Stedelijk Museum, the Oude Kerk, Framer Framed, de Appel, de Vleeshal (Middelburg), Casco Art Institute (Utrecht) and Stroom Den Haag.

No collection of its own

The gallery will not be looking to build up a collection of its own. Instead, the MCA plans to host artists. A selection of the art they make there will be donated to the Netherlands National Collection, benefiting both the artists and the cultural heritage of the Netherlands. The Hartwig Art Foundation hopes to contribute to the country’s future collection in this way.

Offices, homes and parking facilities

On the land next to the old court house, on which the temporary court still stands, there are plans for a new building with offices, housing and an underground parking facility. The requirements and plans for this are included in a Memorandum of Principles (MoP). Once the MoP has been adopted by the municipal council in mid-September, the Central Government Real Estate Agency will sell the ground lease for the land by means of a public sale procedure.

What are the next steps?

If the municipal council votes to approve the purchase of the old court house and the plans for the adjacent land in mid-September, the municipality will continue drawing up the lease with the Hartwig Art Foundation. The foundation will then develop its plans for the gallery.

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