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A Timeline full of stories

From Helene Kröller-Müller to the present

Dive into the unique history of the Kröller-Müller Museum. Read the stories about our directors, their most important acquisitions and the collaboration with artists and architects.
Straight to the Timeline

From Helene to the present

The Timeline includes the story of Helene Kröller-Müller, who bequeathed the world’s second largest Van Gogh collection to the Netherlands and founded one of the first museums for modern art in 1938. And the story of the museum during the war years, in which you read how curator Willy Auping Jr. kept the art collection out of the hands of the occupiers during the Second World War. You will read that Bram Hammacher gave the museum a new dimension with the realization of the sculpture garden in 1961 and that his successor Rudi Oxenaar had a new wing built, designed by the Dutch architect Wim Quist.

New online: Evert van Straaten

As of early 2020, the stories from the period of Evert van Straaten, director from 1990-2012, have been added to the Timeline. Under his leadership, the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller gained autonomy and changed its name to the ‘Kröller-Müller Museum’. Like his predecessors, Van Straaten focused on the relationship between art, nature and architecture, but also developed a contemporary policy with a socially critical perspective. This resulted in exhibitions with a lively and interactive character that also examined the history of the museum, which was comprehensively documented for the first time.

Van Straaten was responsible for the acquisition of much-loved works such as Petite chouette (the little owl) by Pablo Picasso, Le commencement du monde by Constantin Brancusi, ‘The Paintings’ (with Us in the Nature) by Gilbert & George, Look out Attention by Krijn Giezen and the acquisition and reconstruction of the Aldo van Eyck pavilion.

“I came to the conclusion that […] the museum had to choose a type of art that provides comfort, art that offers resistance, art that reflects upon all that has been lost, art that is challenging, art that gives hope and preferably all at once.”
— Evert van Straaten (2011)

Keep discovering new stories

The foundation for the Timeline has been laid. But there are still many more stories that need to be told. Through art and historical research, the museum is making ever-more stories accessible. Keep following us for updates!


Portraits: Helene Kröller-Müller / Willy Auping jr. / Bram Hammacher / Rudi Oxenaar / Evert van Straaten
Images: Pablo Picasso, Petite chouette, 1951 - 1953 / Constantin Brancusi, Le commencement du monde, 1924 / Gilbert & George, "The Paintings" (with Us in the Nature), 1971