Temporary exhibitions

African servants at The Hague court

21 September 2017 to 28 January 2018

In the exhibition African servants at The Hague court the Historical Museum of The Hague tells the life stories of Willem Frederik Cupido, Guan Anthony Sideron and other African servants who, in slavery, were offered as presents to European courts during the eighteenth century. The exhibition highlights an aspect of Dutch history that so far has remained relatively unknown. Whereas exhibitions about courtly life often overlook servants, and especially those with a non-European background, The Historical Museum of The Hague is now specifically focusing on them.

The main impetus for the exhibition is a painting in the museum's collection, made by Hendrik Pothoven in 1781. It shows Stadtholder William V and his retinue, including the servants Cupido and Sideron, who were approximately seven years old when they arrived in The Hague from Guinea and Curaçao. Young boys without family, far from their homelands and entirely at the mercy of adult strangers. Who were these boys? What were their lives at court like? And were they treated as slaves, or as free employees?

The exhibition examines the life stories of Cupido, Sideron and other servants of African descent, in light of changing views about skin colour and slave uprisings in the colonies. Top works in the exhibition include the bust of an African servant from the British Royal Collection and the installation that Curaçao-born artist Tirzo Martha (born 1965) created exclusively for this exhibition. The exhibition concludes with a surprising perspective: using Cupido's family tree, the museum went in search of his Dutch descendants to the present day. Who are they, and what do they think about the story of their distant ancestor?

Expected: The world behind a dolls house. Willem Tholen, Lita de Ranitz and friends.

17 February to 10 June 2018

Inspired by the latest interior decorating magazines of her day, unconventional member of the Dutch nobility Lita de Ranitz (1876-1960) created a showpiece dolls' house in 1910. It would become a hobby for life, and grow to be the favourite object of our museum visitors. This exhibition introduces you to the world of Lita and her husband, artist Willem Bastiaan Tholen (1860 – 1931). Tholen and De Ranitz, who married in 1919, were part of an extensive network of artists and courtesans, with whom they were at the centre of a true Hague social circle at the beginning of the 20th century. Not only is the dolls' house packed with paintings by famous artists such as Jan Toorop, Louis Apol, Paul Gabriel, Johan Jongkind, Floris Arntzenius, and many others, it also contains 18th-century Amsterdam silverware, Norwegian cut-outs, Egyptian antiquities and Japanese miniatures.

The timelessness of our fascination for the world in miniature can be seen in the rest of the exhibition, in which the museum makes links to contemporary designers and collectors of miniature art and shows a selection of items from the collection of Ria en Lex Daniels. Nearly 300 miniature works of art can be seen, all part of their collection of work by such modern artists as Daniel Spoerri, David LaChapelle, Erwin Olaf and Rob Scholte.

Expected: Greetings from Scheveningen. A summery family exhibition

30 June to 11 November 2018

This summer, the Historical Museum of The Hague is bringing the beach to the city in its summery family exhibition Greetings from Scheveningen. Join us on a journey through the 200-year history of this fashionable seaside resort. You can experience a complete summer day out at Scheveningen, from finding a place on the beach to strolling along the promenade. The exhibition is full of hands-on activities for young and old: do the quiz, send an old-fashioned postcard, have your photo taken in a traditional bathing costume and see how quickly you can put together a deckchair. The special posters, snapshots, bathing fashions and paintings give a light-hearted insight into how Scheveningen has developed through the years to become the busy seaside resort it is today. Did you know, for example, that in the past, women wore special beach pyjamas, that there were once ostriches on the promenade, and that bathers would enter the sea using a bathing machine? Discover all this and more in this exhibition with good-weather guarantee – don't forget to bring your sunglasses!