Sultans, Merchants, Painters
|The Early Years of Turkish - Dutch Relations
21 January – 1 April 2012
Pera Museum, in collaboration with the Amsterdam Museum, organized an exhibition exploring the commencement of four hundred years of fruitful cooperation between Turkey and the Netherlands. It was on 14 March 1612, during the rule of the Ottoman Empire that the first Ambassador of Dutch Republic, Cornelis Haga, arrived in Constantinople. The year 2012 marked the four hundredth year of diplomatic relations. In collaboration with several other leading partners, including the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Nationaal Archief in The Hague and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the exhibition aimed to spread knowledge about historical and contemporary links between Amsterdam and Istanbul. The exhibition explored the historical and contemporary relations between two world cities and through these cities, implicitly also the two countries. ‘Pioneers’ and ‘image (-forming)’ are among the prominent themes. The exhibition was not intended as a complete survey of four centuries of diplomatic ties, but rather provided an attractive insight into the historical ties between Amsterdam and Istanbul, from 1612 to the present day. The exhibition was historical and social in approach, yet it also featured important art works, as well. A key section of the exhibition was a reconstruction of the Levantse Handel (Levant Trade) chamber that was based in the Town Hall (Palace on Dam Square) from the early 17th to early 19th century. A detailed inventory exists of the paintings and charts that were displayed on the walls of this powerful commercial office in Amsterdam. Many of these items, including an extensive series of portraits by Vanmour, from the collection of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum were also exhibited.
Istanbul and Amsterdam, Turkey and the Netherlands, have been and continue be important bridges between Europe and Asia; major players in the international world of commerce, diplomacy, art and migration. The exhibition, which took place firstly at Pera Museum, then travelled to the Amsterdam Museum, highlighted the connection between Turkish and Dutch history; stimulating mutual (multi-) cultural understanding for today.