Bullet note File: Kaldenbach for the

8th Biennial Conference
Communicating, Remembering, Reconstructing
an Interdisciplinary Conference for Low Countries Studies 

Dublin, 6 - 7 January 2010.




Presentation paper on the theme: Technology-enabled learning and research in the context of Low Countries Studies.




Dutch cultural history as presented on websites and in museums:

How digital presentations allow new ways of seeking worthwhile questions, interpretations and answers.


By drs Kees Kaldenbach, independent art historian, Amsterdam.



Modern art history teachers welcome the use of various electronic and Internet sources and apply interactive techniques. Many museums have also welcomed various innovative ways of using digital technology in order to present their stories, ideas and collections.


Today I will discuss a critical assessment of several websites and of electronic ways of presenting both Dutch history and art history on the Internet and in museums.



1. A Vermeer website created by Jonathan Janson will be discussed.




2. And some highlights of another Vermeer site created by the present speaker.




3. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has created a wonderful website

presenting very large .JPG images of many thousands of their prize possessions.




4. Documents and objects as presented in the treasury of the Koninkliijke Bibliotheek, The Hague + Internet.




5. Digital presentations such as shown in the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam (2007?, 2009), inside on a large projection screen, allowing sorting and re-grouping of paintings by a wave of the hand. Plus Pippi Longstocking video project.



6. The Treasury in the basement of the new Amsterdam city archives (Stadsarchief) building, Vijzelstraat, De Bazel architecture.





One may also learn from some mistakes made in the past.Example of a museum and site with potentially great possibilities for communicating historical contents and storytelling, and sadly failing in both visual elements and the quality of text elements



7. The Vermeer Centre in Delft, housed in the rebuilt Guild of St Luke building.






I propose a number of quality benchmarks for future presentations with electronic means.





A. Extensive professional knowledge as the starting point





B. Tell a limited story – a story anyone can grasp mentally and re-tell





C. Tell this brief story by using enriched means (drama, anecdote, humour, contrast, conflict, tension) and with passion.






D. Begin with a clear 'menu' so people know what they are going to get. Or can decide to walk on.





E. Awareness of the - triangular relationship that exists between




                        1) the institution / storyteller,




2) the objective                                3) the client / reader / end user.

historical event /

object / contents







Both the storyteller and the reader should be enticed to seek worthwhile questions, interpretations and answers.

The medium is the message, they say. The chosen format shapes the style of communication and therefore the communication itself.




F. Controversy => OK. It wakes people up.




G. Internet is fine, reproductions are fine but nothing beats the thrill of the REAL historic object.






Drs. Kees Kaldenbach, director

Private Art Tours


Haarlemmermeerstraat 83 hs

1058 JS Amsterdam

The Netherlands








===== tel. =====

tel.: 020 - 669 8119

cell: 06 - 2868 9775



===== telephone from abroad =====

tel.:   00-31-20 - 669 8119

Cell phone: 00-31-6 - 2868 9775




- Last updated June 7, 2010 -

Research and copyright by Kees Kaldenbach. A full presentation is on view at www.xs4all.nl/~kalden/