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‘Royal location’ a contender to house Rien Poortvliet collection

Museum in artist’s hometown

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

SOEST - Among the dozen or so venues interested in housing the collection of drawings, paintings and artifacts from well-known artist Rien Poortvliet is a museum in his hometown of Soest. Museum Oud Soest wants to become the successor of the Poortvlietmuseum, which will close at the end of this year.

Soest is a historic municipality of nine villages near Amersfoort in the wooded centre of the country. For most people, it is best known as the town where until their deaths Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard resided at Palace Soestdijk. For many years, Poortvliet lived nearby, and his widow Corrie still inhabits the home where Rien died in 1995. Mrs. Poortvliet favours a ‘Soest-like’ location, although she is a bit hesitant about the renewed attention she and her home may get from tourists.

Corrie Poortvliet-Bouman is deeply involved with the future of the museum, now located in the old town hall of Middelharnis, a historic community on the Zuid-Holland island of Goeree-Overflakkee. Poortvliet’s ancestors hailed from Middelharnis. The artist was born in Schiedam in 1932. He gained attention worldwide for his ‘Gnomes’ books (with Wil Huygen) and for such books as Dogs, Noah’s Ark, He Was One of Us, Farm Book, and In My Grandfather’s House.

The Poortvlietmuseum for years profited from the artist’s own involvement and appearances on television and at book signings. The number of visitors of the museum in Middelharnis, itself a ‘bit out of the way,’ dwindled dramatically since his death.