At a dinner party, seated around a table beautifully laid with splendid porcelain and silverware, glittering crystal and extravagant centre-pieces, it’s absolutely ‘not done’ to slurp or smack your lips. And etiquette forbids talking with your mouth full or putting your elbows on the table. The upcoming Dutch Dining exhibition is the inspiration for the latest children’s exhibition and art book.
Margriet Heymans’ original illustrations for Allemaal aan Tafel! (Dinner's Ready!) will be on show in the children’s gallery at the Gemeentemuseum. Her drawings will be accompanied by a multitude of artworks from the museum’s vast collection, all of which relate to the story in an imaginative way. Items will include a sculpture by David Bade, photographs by Holger Niehaus, designs by Piet Zwart and 1950s Pastoe chairs. This will be the first children’s exhibition to include works from all of the museum’s collections (modern and contemporary art, fashion, decorative arts, and photography). Children will also have the opportunity to colour to their hearts’ content, lay a table with a miniature dinner service, watch an appealing film of writer Rindert Kromhout reading the new book (in Dutch), and try their hands at a quiz about table manners and healthy eating (in Dutch or English). Children aged five and over can also visit the free children’s workshop sessions held on Sundays between 12 noon and 4 p.m.
Young nobleman Jan is told by his father to go and find himself a bride. He takes the family dinner service and sets off on a quest to find a girl who’s not just nice, but knows ‘what’s done’. Allemaal aan tafel! is a lavishly illustrated fairytale that’s all about table manners and hospitality. issued by the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and Dutch publishing house Leopold.From 1 October, it will be available (priced at just €14.99) from the museum shop and bookshops across the country.
Writer and illustrator Margriet Heymans (b. 1932) is well-known for books like De prinses van de moestuin (translated as The Princess in the Kitchen Garden), Lieveling Boterbloem and – most recently – Op zoek naar opa Bleskop (2009). Heymans has won all the relevant Dutch literary awards, including the Zilveren Griffel (Silver Pencil), the Woutertje Pieterse Prize and – no fewer than three times – the Gouden Penseel (Golden Brush). Her work features a trademark combination of everyday events and the absurd, accompanied by a complete absence of finger-wagging morality. Author Rindert Kromhout (b. 1958) has written more than 80 books for children and young people, including the Kleine Ezel (Little Donkey) series and Het grote boek van meester Max. Many of his books have been translated into a range of other languages.
Virtual dining in Wonderkamers
Have they still got bags of energy after visiting the children’s exhibition? In one of Gemeentemuseum Den Haag’s 13 interactive ‘Wonderkamers’ (Wonder Rooms) children can select whatever items they like from the dinner services in the display cabinets, ranging from historical to modern. But they needn’t worry about dropping anything because these virtual dinner services are unbreakable! The crockery is magically transferred via a tablet to the table, to be set for a very special occasion. Free access to this groundbreaking interactive museum exhibit is free for visitors up to the age of 18. For more information go to www.wonderkamers.nl