Ciao Readers (or for this post “Hallo”)! Happy 2016! I hope this post finds you and yours well and keeping warm this new year.
As you may recall, we were headed out in December to visit France, Belgium and the Netherlands. While I have many more tales to tell (mostly involving food), I thought I’d start with our strangest adventure of the trip – a trek to the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, Netherlands. (As you may also recall, I love the art of Van Gogh and will go to great lengths to see it.)
To make a long story short, there once was a rich art patron, Helene Müller, who married another rich person, Anton Kröller, and between 1907 and 1922 she bought over 11,000 works of art (including numerous Van Goghs, Monets, Seurats, Picassos and countless others)! Her collection of Van Goghs is second in number only to the actual Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam (more on that museum later). She wanted to share her collection with the world, so she opened this museum in 1938, shortly before her death. As you will see, while her intentions were good, she may not have thought out the practicalities of this whole “sharing” concept….
The museum is located in Hoge Veluwe Park, which is located in the middle of nowhere, about an hour train ride (then a bus ride, then a van ride) from Amsterdam. While I understand the route may be a little easier on weekends, here’s what it took for us to get there during the week:
Step One – buy a round-trip train ticket from Amsterdam to Ede-Wageningen for about 27 euros each (we did this the day before with the help of a ticket agent as this is not a common train trip/stop). The train takes you to a train and bus station in a very small town:
Step 2: From this bus station you take the 108 to Otterlo (and the helpful driver sells you a roundtrip ticket for both this bus and the next for about 9 euros each), a trip taking about 20+ minutes and leaving you off literally in the middle of nowhere:
Step 3: At this point there should be a van arriving shortly or already waiting (we had read it was the “106 bus”, but it was literally this van with a piece of paper in the window with “106” written on it):
Step 4: This van then takes you to the entrance of Hoge Veluwe Park, where it lets you out to pay the entrance fee to the park (9.15 euros each); you apparently can also buy your ticket to the museum here, but we didn’t know and the lady selling the tickets didn’t volunteer that information. After proceeding through the entrance, the van drops you off at this bus stop (and the driver assures you he returns once an hour to pick you back up across the street):
Step 5: You walk about 5 minutes down this road to the museum (sorry, no photo of the museum, but fairly non-descript from the outside), where you then buy your ticket to the museum (another 9.15 euros each). (There are free loaner bicycles throughout the park, so in nicer weather you could take advantage of those and spend part of the day bicycling as well).
Step 6: You stand there (mostly alone) with your mouth agape as you view MANY Van Goghs, including iconic famous ones, along with many other amazing works of art (all the while thinking how surreal and bizarre it is that these masterpieces are out here in the middle of nowhere):
Step 7: You remember what time the van driver said he comes back and you do the whole thing in reverse, feeling a certain sense of triumph, as if you have just succeeded in some medieval quest which has rewarded you with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see many great works of art.*
Thank you, dear readers, for coming on the quest!!!
*According to Wikepedia’s numbers, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam gets about 5 times as many visitors per year (1.5 million) as this museum (300K+), but I have a hard time believing the numbers are even that close, as the Van Gogh Museum is ALWAYS packed and this one was almost empty.