hans van houwelingen: best bucharest

until 1 November 2019

From 13 August the Oude Kerk opens an eighth side room. In the Oudezijds room, on the Oudezijdsgracht, you will find a recent video from the Dutch artist Hans van Houwelingen (1957). In the video, Van Houwelingen exposes socio-cultural and political ideological issues that make you think, certainly in a place like the Oude Kerk.

what is material value, what is spiritual?
Best Bucharest is part of the series in which Hans van Houwelingen analyzes the public space of Bucharest from a social, political, commercial, religious and artistic perspective. In the video, Van Houwelingen talks to a Romanian Orthodox priest about material or spiritual value and the meaning of gold.

In the Romanian capital Bucharest, the Orthodox Church is building the Salvation Cathedral, a gigantic cathedral, next to the Palace of the Parliament. The Palace of the Parliament is considered the second largest building in the world. It was built as a siege of communist power by former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1984. Today, the building exists in a controversial context between official appreciation and resentment of the public. The new Salvation Cathedral is being built on the same scale as the Palace of the Parliament. Both buildings have the exact same height. Van Houwelingen wonders whether this symbol for the Romanian church will also function as a symbol for the Romanian people. Priest Mihai Iordache explains this transition – away from the humility and scale normally associated with orthodox ritual – in a conversation that returns to gold as a metaphor for the redeemed soul and as a medium for the expression of power.

hans van houwelingen
Hans van Houwelingen (1957) is a visual artist trained at the Minerva Academy and the Rijkakademie for the visual arts. He makes work that consists of conceptual interventions, projects in public space, installations, films and publications in which he investigates the relationship between art, culture and politics. In 1988 Van Houwelingen won the Prix de Rome and in 2013 he received the Wilhelminaring, the biennial oeuvre prize for sculpture. Since 2015 he has been an honorary member of the Academy of Arts of the Royal Dutch Academy of Science. Hans van Houwelingen lives and works in Berlin and Amsterdam.


hans van houwelingen: best bucharest, religion  (2017)
13 Augustus until 1 November 2019
oude kerk, oudekerksplein (redlight district), amsterdam
daily open: mo-sat 10.00 am – 06.00 pm, sun 01.00 – 05.30 pm