Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen (Art Fortress at the village of Vijfhuizen) is a cultural heritage site repurposed as a centre for contemporary art. The fortress itself, dating from 1897, is part of the Stelling van Amsterdam, a historic defense line around the Dutch capitol, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique character. The village Vijfhuizen is situated in a rural area right inbetween the cities of Amsterdam and Haarlem, and Amsterdam Airport.
After a thorough restauration between 2003-2006, the fortress harbours exhibition rooms, studios and a residency for professional artists, as well as a restaurant with meeting rooms. As managing director, Holger Nickisch was responsible for both daily general management of the site and for the artistic programming of the Kunstfort art foundation, housed in the fortress.
Under Nickisch’ management, the organisation expanded its operation and gained a much greater public significance. The strategies Nickisch´developed together with his team effectively promoted the historical, cultural, ecological and touristic value of the site. By 2015, Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen welcomed over 26.000 visitors/year to see a number of memorable contemporary art exhibitions, minor exhibitions, expert meetings, summer academies and (art) events, including an anual open air cinema in late summer. The expanded force of over 50 volunteers and paid employees run the venue, realising a turnover of between 500.000-600.000 euros.
An overview of exhibitions at Kunstfort and participating artists between 2009 – 2016:
Dreams are my Reality | cultural heritage, contemporary art
in collaboration with Saskia Monshouwer
with artists Aurelia Mihai, Claus Richter, Femke Schaap, Maria Pask, Inti Hernandes, Tehnica Schweiz (Gergely Laszlo & Peter Rakosi)
Speed Bump | art collection, contemporary art
in collaboration with art collector Frans Oomen
with collected works of artists a.o. Matthew Barney, Joep van Lieshout, Tony Oursler/Mike Kelly, Aernout Mik, Job Koelewijn, Erik van Lieshout, Mark Wallinger, Jonathan Monk, Franz West, Olaf Nicolai, Ryan Gander, Jannis Kounellis, Jeff Koons, Tobias Rehberger, Pipilotti Rist, Carlos Amorales, Dave Allen/DouglasGordon/Jonathan Monk and Thomas Hirschhorn
Stellingname | landscape, cultural heritage
in collaboration with Jacqueline Heerema of Satellietgroep
with artists a.o. Marjolijn Boterenbrood, Jacqueline Verhaagen, Sjaak Langenberg, Bram Vreven, Ronald Boer (landscape architect), Francois Lombarts (designer), Bram Esser (philosopher/author), Jan de Graaf & Robert Schütte (city planners), and PeerGrouP (Henry Alles, & Elles Kiers)
Op De Plaats Rust | landscape, art & public space
in collaboration with Iris Dik
with artists a.o. Henriette Waal, Francois Lombarts, Sil Krol, Ronald Boer & Valerie Dempsey, Danielle van Vree, and Neeltje ten Westenend
Lichtjaren | art collection, contemporary art
in collaboration with Stichting Polderlicht
with selected works from artists Mariska de Groot, Joseph vd Horst, Eunkyoung Hwang, Albert In ’t Veld, Coen Kaayk, Peter F. van Loon, Willem Marijs, François Morellet, Matthijs Munnik, Koji Ogura, Hans Schork, Thierry Ysebaert, Margot Zanstra, Peter Zegveld, Johan van Zutphen
Holger is the enthusiastic director of Fort bij Vijfhuizen, who has many ideas to improve the visibility and the experience of the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘The Defence Line of Amsterdam’’, of which the Fort bij Vijfhuizen is a part.
- Nanette van Goor (2014), program manager of The Defense Line of Amsterdam. www.stellingvanamsterdam.nl