AMSTERDAM -- This March marks the 150th birthday of Dutch
post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh, and two museums here
will commemorate the anniversary with three landmark art
The Netherlands and Amsterdam tourism boards and the museums are
working with tour operators and hotels to incorporate visits to the
art shows in commissionable vacation packages, officials said.
Van Gogh's namesake institution, the Van Gogh Museum, is home to
two consecutive exhibitions this year.
The first, "Vincent's Choice: The Musee Imaginaire of Van Gogh,"
will run Feb. 14 through June 15 in exhibition space by architect
Thierry Despont, designer of the J. Paul Getty Museum's galleries
in Los Angeles.
In honor of the artist's actual birth date, admission to the
show will be free March 30; in addition, throughout 2003 visitors
are entitled to free admission if they attend either exhibition on
their own birthdays.
Some 200 works will illustrate Van Gogh's favorite paintings by
other artists, including Rembrandt, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin and
Certain works will be juxtaposed against the later paintings by
Van Gogh that they clearly influenced -- for instance, "The blue
coffeepot" by Emile Bernard will be shown alongside Van Gogh's
later "Still life with coffeepot."
A similar tack was taken by the museum with last year's blockbuster
"Van Gogh & Gauguin" show, which attracted a record 739,117
visitors with its illustration of the stormy artistic partnership
forged by the master painters.
" 'Van Gogh & Gauguin' included elements that come back in
'Vincent's Choice,' " said Andreas Bluhm, head of exhibitions and
display at the Van Gogh Museum. "But [the new show] broadens and
deepens Van Gogh's relationship with the art of others."
The second show at the Van Gogh Museum, "Gogh Modern: Vincent
Van Gogh and Contemporary Art," to run June 27 through Oct. 12,
takes the opposite approach, grouping modern artists who were
influenced by Van Gogh.
Both exhibitions are unprecedented in Europe in terms of size,
scope, approach and significance, said Bluhm.
Appropriately, security at the museum will be upgraded, he
added, though public access should not be affected.
Security concerns were heightened after two important Van Gogh
works were stolen from the museum's main exhibition hall in
December by burglars who broke in through a roof window, foiling
the facility's security systems.
The third area exhibition, "Vincent and Helene," will open at
the Kroller-Muller Museum, located in the town of Otterlo outside
Amsterdam, from Feb. 14 through Oct. 12.
This show will explore the passion of Helene Kroller-Muller, the
museum's founder, for the works of Van Gogh, according to museum
The nearly 300 Van Gogh works owned by Kroller-Muller, including
87 paintings, will be hung in the order in which they were
The Netherlands Board of Tourism is promoting the land-only
Vincent's Birthday Package from Lindbergh Travel and Tours of
Amsterdam, priced at about $260 per person, from Feb. 14 through
Rates for the noncommissionable product include three nights at
a three-star hotel, daily breakfast, admission to either
anniversary exhibit at the Van Gogh Museum, transport and admission
to "Vincent and Helene" at the Kroller-Muller and an Amsterdam city
tour with a canal cruise.
Meanwhile, the Hilton Amsterdam Hotel is offering an overnight
package -- including breakfast, taxes and tickets to a Van Gogh
Museum exhibition -- through Dec. 31.
Prices are about $99 per person, double, through Feb. 28 and
from July 1 until the end of the year. There is a $78 single
From March through June, the package is available Mondays
through Fridays at about $117 per person, double -- with a $96
The Hotel Okura Amsterdam presents a Van Gogh menu at its Le
Camelia Brasserie restaurant through Feb. 28, with two-course
lunches and dinners priced at about $28 per person and three
courses at $35.
Meals will be prepared in the style of Van Gogh's favorite
restaurant in Auvers-sur-Oise, France. For reservations, call Le
Camelia Brasserie at (011) 31-20 678-7450.
To book the Amsterdam Hilton, call (800) 445-8667; for more
information, visit www.hilton.com on line.
For more information on Lindbergh Travel and Tours, call (011)
31-20 622-2766, fax (011) 31-20 622-2769, send an e-mail to [email protected] or visit www.lindbergh.nl.
To contact the Netherlands Board of Tourism, call (888)
2-HOLLAND or visit www.goholland.com.
Marketing campaign to tout 'Cool Capitals'
By Kenneth Kiesnoski
NEW YORK -- Dutch tourism officials are readying a new
consumer-oriented marketing drive to promote avant-garde-themed
stays in Amsterdam, Berlin and Vienna to "hip, trend-setting" U.S.
vacationers this spring.
Although the "Cool Capitals" promotion effort will largely
target consumers directly -- with print advertisements in Travel
& Leisure magazine, interactive "salons" in New York and Los
Angeles and a Web site at www.coolcapitals.com -- tour operator Europe
Express and air carrier Austrian Airlines have been tapped to
fashion commissionable air-and-land packages.
According to Joan Dunne, vice president at Bothell, Wash.-based
Europe Express, new packages that will combine the company's
existing three-night stays to the cities with special air fare and
themed add-ons should be ready later this month.
"Once the packages are built, we'll blast-fax them out to the
agents," Dunne said, adding that Feb. 15 is a likely launch date;
commission will start at a standard 10%.
Meanwhile, agents can book the company's Amsterdam Stopover
deal, priced from $229 per person.
Likewise, Austrian Airlines is developing commissionable deals
for the summer that should be bookable by March, said Dan Gaico,
director of marketing for the Americas.
The campaign will stress that Amsterdam, Berlin and Vienna boast
cutting-edge cultural, dining and retail attractions, said Conrad
van Tiggelen, director, North America, for the Netherlands Board of
"Cool Capitals moves away from traditional appeals, such as
tulips in Holland," he added.
For details, contact the Netherlands Board of Tourism at (888)
2-HOLLAND or at www.goholland.com; Europe Express at (800) 927-3876 or
at www.europeexpress.com; or the Austrian Airlines
Vacations Center at (800) 790-4682 or at www.austrianair.com/greatdeals/vacation_packages.html.