Now the covid-19 pandemic seems to have come to an halt (at least for now), also new exhibitions are being opened. In the past two weeks I visited no less than three exhibitions. Two were in Amsterdam, one in Leeuwarden, all here in the Netherlands. It was a real joy being able to travel and visit exhibitions again, although I remain a bit scared.
Let’s start with the first one: “Maison Amsterdam City, fashion, freedom” in the Nieuwe Kerk (new church) in the heart of liberal and creative Amsterdam. Over 150 historical and contemporary creations tell stories of Amsterdam as a capital of fashion with its own, entirely unique signature. The exhibition takes you on a journey through Amsterdam: from the Dam Square to the Vondelpark, from the roaring twenties to the famous night clubs RoXY and the iT and festivals. On display are designs by well-known Dutch couturiers, clothing from the former Dutch colonies. What does freedom, but also lack of freedom, do to fashion? You’ll see old dresses from the 17th century and mini skirts, hippie and punk clothing, and also the iconic Rainbow dress.
Although you really should have a look at the many iconic highlights, the end of the exhibition – the final scene, like on the catwalk – is of course the most important for royalty watchers: Queen Máxima’s iconic wedding dress. If I remember well it was exhibited twice before: shortly after the wedding at the exhibition “Yes, I do” at Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn and 2017 at the exhibition on the occasion of the 50th birthday of King Willem-Alexander. I think in both cases the uniform of the King was standing next to it.
Having far too much to do in Amsterdam History of Royal Women‘s Moniek and I probably rushed a little bit too quick through most of the exhibition. There were several pieces of clothing that I would wear immediately, also pieces that were somewhat hideous. But if you love fashion, I am certain you will love this exhibition too. Although we thought it could still have been a bit bigger. Space enough left in the church for even more dresses.
The display of the wedding dress was kept a secret for quite a while. Although a big local newspaper reported about it in the summer already, nearly nobody picked the news up. And the church/museum itself didn’t mention the wedding dress in their information for the media for quite a long time. Being in the heart of Amsterdam the New Church was a beloved place to get married for the people in Amsterdam for many years. After the restoration 1959-1980 however, no weddings took place in the church anymore. One exception was made of course for The Prince of Orange and Máxima Zorreguieta on 2 February 2002.
The ivory coloured wedding gown of Mikado silk and embroidered lace by Valentino, with the five metres long train, is on display in a big showcase on the exact spot where the royal couple said “yes” to each other. One big wedding photos is shown on the wall, showing the bridal couple leaving the church after their wedding nearly 20 years ago. What I really love is that it is only the dress, train and veil, and a copy of the tiara, in the showcase. You can walk all around to have a good look at it and see all the details. We were pretty lucky that it was not that busy yet.
A visit to the exhibition
The exhibition opened on 18 September 2021 and will be on display until 3 April 2022. The church is easy to be found, as it is on the Dam Square, next to the Royal Palace. Easy to reach by public transport too. The church is usually open daily from 10am to 5pm, including 25 and 26 December and 1 January (then from noon to 5pm). The best is to buy tickets in advance on the website of the church.