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Onno Weggemans

At CulturePress, I combine my passion for culture with my love of writing. I have a broad cultural interest and target a wide audience. I like to choose a personal angle and like to experiment occasionally in terms of form.

In Museum Arnhem, Wilders haunts the mind

Our intended prime minister wants to abolish almost all cultural subsidies. Only art that can be properly understood by 'real Dutch people' still deserves financial support. Wilders targets cultural subsidies from an ideological background. Anyone visiting the exhibition 'Art in the Third Reich - Temptation and Distraction' at Museum Arnhem cannot escape seeing disturbing comparisons. Wilders sees art as a... 

Goodbye movie house, longing for museums: (my) insights after corona

What does culture visit after corona look like? The topic came up regularly on this site in recent months. I myself wrote two personal contributions on it. Now that cultural institutions may almost reopen their doors, the crystal ball is giving way to reality. In my article on 'the promise of the empty hall', I noted a reluctance to... 

Also in my mind, 'Journey through the night' is due for a 35th printing

The 35th(!) edition of Reis door de nacht, the classic novel written by Anne de Vries, was published recently. As a ten-year-old boy, I sympathised intensely with the war adventures of Jan de Boer and his family members. The book is also a metaphor for my own struggle against darkness. It is a lovely spring day. In the ditch, a duck swims with her... 

Raymond K. is in love; a piece with butterflies in the stomach as spring arrives

Every Sunday morning is like a lockdown. The city streets are deserted. I encounter only characters from my stories. Two men and a woman with phone numbers on their chests walk around lost. They no longer know who they are or where to go. A retired writer searches desperately for the pages of a lost story.... 

Uncollect

For a week or two, the word uncollect has been in my head. An Amsterdam politician suggested selling Roy Lichtenstein's As I opened Fire. Estimated proceeds: 40 to 50 million. With that money, Amsterdam's art sector could be saved and, if there was some left over, work by new artists could also be bought. The politician himself holds... 

Snow

It is almost Christmas. Miss Kate and Miss Julia are giving their annual ball. One by one the guests appear, there is dancing, eating (greasy brown goose, marinated rib eye, pudding), there is apprehension about Freddy Malins who is bound to appear drunk again, and Gabriel gives a short table speech as usual. Gabriel fears his speech will be too pompous. He... 

The stuffiness from Maeve Brennan's stories is easy to spot at the moment

It is no coincidence that I am rereading The Twelve Year Wedding just now. Because the tightness in the story resembles the tightness of our own time. Like Delia and Martin Bagot, we are trapped in a suffocating existence. Shun contact with fellow human beings. Miss the fresh air of visits to cafés, museums, film houses and theatres. Dublin 1917 is the Netherlands 2021.

Amersfoort, O Amersfoort. My cultural vision of lack

In a lost hour, I read the Cultural Vision Amersfoort 2030. Not reading material to sit on the edge of your seat, but perfectly suitable for a train journey. I am not used to reading policy documents. It struck me that the tone of the Amersfoort Cultural Vision was confident, focused and determined. Firm language. No room for doubt. I asked myself... 

'World famous outside the Netherlands'. Top piece of 'veduta painting' to Amersfoort

Amersfoort's Museum Flehite has purchased the gouache (a painting made with opaque watercolour) View of Amersfoort by 17th-century painter Caspar van Wittel at Christie's in London. The purchase price for this Amersfoort masterpiece, including taxes, was over 200,000 euros. Van Wittel was born in Amersfoort and, after an apprenticeship with Withoos, left for Italy at the age of 21, where he worked as a... 

New artists get place in Style Pavilion: 'They must be able to drill'

In the Style Year, events mainly look back at the art movement that began 100 years ago. Yet there are also contemporary initiatives that look ahead, such as in Amersfoort. In the Keistad, the Style Pavilion is being built from scaffolding material. Twenty contemporary, mostly young, visual artists will give their own interpretation to the outside of the pavilion. They draw inspiration from the building... 

Working in the tradition of Gutenberg: how my short story became a beautiful little book

'The photographer and the buzzard' is the name of my short story recently published by Triona Press. What is special about the booklet is that it was printed by hand. How do you do that? Where do you learn such an ancient craft? And can words describe what makes a hand-printed booklet special? I asked this and more to Dick Ronner, printer and... 

Culture outside the Randstad: Amersfoort's struggle

Displaced paintings by Armando. Artists fleeing the city. A tinpot that brought financial disaster and summer festivals that attract tens of thousands of visitors every year. And you thought Amersfoort was boring? A footnote along the A1 motorway? Forget it. Let me tell you about this city struggling with its cultural identity. A story in eighteen impressions. Guilty landscape In his youth... 

Only mythical stories fascinate at art gallery KAdE

Why did I find the mythical stories about being an artist more interesting than the artworks I saw? I wondered this after visiting the exhibition GOED GEMAAKT (ode to the making process) at the Amersfoort art gallery KAdE. Only a single work of art touched me, while the stories about Daedelus, Pygmalion and the daughter of Butades fascinated me immensely.... 

When you lose a sibling. On the grief of 'forgotten grief'

My father died in 1997. He came from a family of 10 children, five of whom have since died. My aunt Minke wrote a book about it: Broederziel alleen? The book stirred up a lot of emotions and had eight reprints in a short time. Grief for a deceased sibling turned out to be forgotten grief. In English, mourners are forgotten... 

Group of visual artists flees Amersfoort

Dissatisfied with the city's art policy, visual artists are leaving Amersfoort. Not physically, but with their work. In the coming year, they will exhibit together in numerous places in the Netherlands. They largely leave their own hometown behind. They have little faith in the municipality's newly developed cultural vision. Why? You can read about that below. And also that their own... 

Why the Copper Monday print is a tradition that should return

Every year in early January, a beautifully printed booklet falls through my letterbox. This tradition of Kopper Monday has almost been lost. Only some small printing companies still send their relations a Kopper edition. What exactly is it, and why is it so special? Copper Monday is the first Monday after Epiphany (6 January). Traditionally a holiday for the guilds. The... 

New chance for two magnificent stories that stood the test of time

Two of the finest stories in world literature have recently been reissued. The Dead (1914) by James Joyce and The Clerk Bartleby (1853) by Herman Melville have effortlessly stood the test of time. They are still wonderful reads. 'His soul slowly ebbed away as he heard it gently snowing through the universe and gently snowing in the... 

Artists: please don't teach me anything, I just want to enjoy myself.

The public takes no part in the ongoing debate about the role of art in society. Government and art-makers argue or engage constructively with each other. Visitors' opinions are not sought. Hence this contribution. Of course, my voice is just one of thousands. I can only give my own opinion. Last week, I attended the play... 

Netherlands' largest war memorial aims to become symbol for refugee reception

The Belgenmonument in Amersfoort is the largest war memorial in the Netherlands. Construction started a hundred years ago. It was recently restored, but no longer has a function. New meaning is being sought. Architecture centre FASadE organised a design competition for this purpose. The aim: to give the Belgenmonument renewed meaning as a memorial but also as a symbol for the reception of contemporary displaced persons. The jury led by... 

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