MVRDV envisions the brabant landscape, beloved by van gogh, as an experiential green hub

MVRDV envisions the brabant landscape, beloved by van gogh, as an experiential green hub

Van Gogh Homeland – spotlighting the brabant landscape


At the initiative of Midpoint Brabant, MVRDV and the Van Gogh Homeland Foundation have joined forces to develop a meaningful experience celebrating the Dutch landscape that deeply inspired Vincent van Gogh 150 years ago. Located in the province of North Brabant in the Netherlands, the expansive project spotlights explicitly the artist’s great love for the Brabant landscape, as seen in many of his paintings. Yet, over a century after he left his native Dutch province, this area is now under pressure. The number of floods is increasing while farmers, cities, industry, and nature lovers fight over available space. How, then, can Brabant find the balance between idyll and progress? 


In light of that, the Van Gogh Homeland initiative seeks to increase public awareness of the region’s coming challenges. But, more importantly, it aims to show, in an attractive and accessible way, how the landscape so beloved by Vincent van Gogh can be made more sustainable and greener in the future. ‘By combining knowledge of architecture, landscape design, and sustainability, along with expertise in the leisure industry, the initiators want to reignite the enthusiasm of both young and old people for the Brabant landscape,’ writes MVRDV. 

MVRDV envisions the brabant landscape, beloved by van gogh, as an experiential green hub
image © MVRDV



the first VGH biennale with mvrdv’s Winy Maas as its curator 


The project breaks down into three parts: the Van Gogh Homeland Experience, an attraction being developed jointly with EftelingVan Gogh Homeland Biennale, with the first edition currently planned for 2025; and finally, the Van Gogh Homeland Atelier, a hub for knowledge transfer from which the attraction and biennale will unfold. MVRDV and the VGH foundation are focusing their efforts on developing the biennale first, for which Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV, has been selected as the first curator.


The Van Gogh Homeland Biennale will take place as an outdoor exhibition filled with a series of visitable landmarks and temporary installations spread across Brabant — begging the question: How is Brabant (now) doing? Visitors can go on an adventurous expedition through temporary super dunes, horticultural towers, rain chambers, and heather houses that will be placed throughout the landscape. Inspired by the artist’s vision of the Brabant landscape, makers are invited to accentuate Brabant’s best features and explore the limits of using the landscape in multiple ways. 

MVRDV envisions the brabant landscape, beloved by van gogh, as an experiential green hub
image © MVRDV



‘If you think about the climate challenge, you have to dare to think big,’ shares Winy Maas. ‘Exploring so many possibilities can get the ball rolling. Our outdoor exhibition will soon consist of numerous pavilions that will be placed in the landscape, like a string of beads. We do not give visitors a moralistic message, but let them feel climate change – the dryness, the wetness. We also show possible solutions such as a garden tower or a super dune. In my opinion, the task for the coming period lies in the interweaving of city with nature, and of nature with city. We must be open to a critical approach to each other’s ideals.’


Ultimately, the goal is to organize the biennale in a different area of Brabant every two years. The first edition, set for the year 2025, will take place in central Brabant, with the municipality of Tilburg as its center. 

MVRDV envisions the brabant landscape, beloved by van gogh, as an experiential green hub
image © MVRDV



‘This Brabant biennale will manifest itself not only in the landscape, but also in the urban fabric,’ comment Joost Melis, director of the Van Gogh Homeland Foundation, and program maker Lian Duif. ‘Van Gogh Homeland as a whole will further strengthen Brabant’s identity. It is precisely because of its accessible nature that a visit is attractive for various audiences. The expectation is that, thanks to the way the biennale presents information, young people will also feel more involved in the major transition challenges, as well as the landscape that surrounds them – which of course they will manage in the future.’


Van Gogh Homeland is an initiative of Midpoint Brabant – Stichting Van Gogh Homeland and is being realized in partnership with the Municipality of Tilburg, Efteling, and Libéma. The province of North Brabant is facilitating the development of the plan. At the beginning of March, the plan for Van Gogh Homeland was handed over to Stijn Smeulders, deputy of the province of North Brabant, who is facilitating the development of the plan.



image © MVRDV



project info:


name: Van Gogh Homeland 

location: Province of North Brabant, The Netherlands 

project year: 2021 

client: Midpoint Brabant – Stichting Van Gogh Homeland 

architecture: MVRDV | @mvrdv 

founding partner in charge: Winy Maas

partner/director: Gideon Maasland 

design team: Gijs Rikken, Rik Lambers, Bin Wei, Karolina Duda, Kristina Knauf,
Mark van Wasbeek, Natalia Lipczuk, Yayun Liu 

visualizations: Antonio Luca Coco, Stefania Trozzi, Jaroslaw Jeda 

copyright: © MVRDV Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries 

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