When Amsterdam’s famous Van Gogh Museum opened to visitors on Wednesday, they offered haircut services instead of museum tours. Similarly, some 70 other cultural institutions also offered haircut and gym services.
The Royal Concertgebouw, considered one of the finest concert halls, set up barber chairs on its stage with two barbers waiting for patrons while the hall orchestra played famous symphonies in the background.
The Mauritshuis gallery, which houses paintings like “The Girl with a Pearl Earring”, held fitness classes, while the Speelklok Museum presented itself as the gym.
They were all protesting the Dutch government’s continued restrictions on museums and concert halls when other businesses like salons and gyms were allowed to stay open amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We wanted to emphasize that a museum is a safe visit and that we should be open. The mayor called me last night and she said she would not allow this,” Emilie Gordenker, director of the Van Gogh museum, told AFP. “We expect to receive a warning at some point, after what we will have to close, but we wanted to do this very badly, so here we are, ”added Gordenker.
His sentiments were echoed by Simon Renink, the director of the Royal Concertgebouw, who felt the ‘cultural sector’ should be allowed to open with proper Covid security measures. “After two years of patience and an always constructive attitude, it is high time to have a fair perspective for the cultural sector,” he told AFP. For its part, the government sent notices to the places that participated in the symbolic demonstrations.
“..on Wednesday, January 19, we will transform the Van Gogh Museum once into a hair salon. With this, we draw attention to the dire situation of the cultural sector and the need to reopen museums as soon as possible. pic.twitter.com/8CpgljAT7U
— Ufuk Gür (@ufukozgul) January 18, 2022
Access to the arts is one of the social determinants of health. Politicians who see culture only as entertainment are doing society a great disservice. https://t.co/pMaPBAKAOo
— Danielle Brazell (@dbrazell1) January 19, 2022
BRB heads to the Netherlands for a day to get their nails done at the Van Gogh Museum https://t.co/Bf3RWleXNi
— basically, daria (@basicallydaria) January 19, 2022
Do they also cut off your…ear? https://t.co/SZr6GUczyi
— Iñaki Aldasoro (@i_aldasoro) January 19, 2022
Dutch disobedience has become a fine art. https://t.co/2AKqU2L9HU
—Richard de Nooy (@RicharddeNooy) January 19, 2022
Dutch government data shows the average number of confirmed Covid-19 cases over the past 7 days in Amsterdam was 2,996 and the national seven-day average is 35,588 as of January 19.