Toespraak van Prins Constantijn tijdens de opening van Amsterdam Art Weekend en RijksakademieOPEN 2015

Deze toespraak is uitgesproken in het Engels.

1 min silence...

Silence... it is a rare phenomenon with so much twitter and chatter in our lives.

Tino Seghal brought dialogues into the Stedelijk. He inspired me  to bring some silence here for us all to stop and think.

Excuse me for any embarrassment or anxiety the silence may have caused. I hope you found time to think an original thought. If not, I am sorry I didn’t warn you in advance. I am sure you’ll catch up later.

But, as the entertainment and artistic value of a silent man standing in front of an audience is limited, I’ll say a few words. Even though your own ideas are likely to be indefinitely more original than mine. You are the creative minds, not me.

The Rijksacademie only hosts the best of the best worldwide and allows them to step out of the frantic pace and distractions of the daily art world and offers a time to think, create, learn and develop. Some say it is a luxury to have such an institution... indeed it is! Time is the most valuable asset these days. To be given time in the presence of peers from all over the world, with mentors that have made their mark, is a luxury only granted to a few: those few talented individuals that have proven themselves and are likely to use that time well.

Besides the individual artists in the program, the city and the Netherlands as a whole benefit from attracting the world’s best talent. In contrast this is not a luxury or a nice-to-have. It is economics. Art and culture attract tourists, young professionals, new businesses investments. It is the lifeblood of dynamic cities and urban communities worldwide. It nurtures progress, challenges and disrupts the status quo, breathes new energy into the fabric of society.

In turn also institutions like the Rijksacademie, Ateliers and Stedelijk should keep challenging themselves to remain relevant, as they are and should remain at the cutting edge of contemporary art. By hosting these world class institutions Amsterdam has created a unique position for itself.

For some it is tempting to conclude that they could only exist in Amsterdam because of its open, international, provocative, democratic, anti-authoritarian nature. I don’t know if this is true.

However I would dare to state that without it, these institutions would have been long gone. The more sophisticated and controlled a place becomes, the more creative minds feel locked up and flee. Like one cannot engineer innovation, creativity cannot simply be created. It is not in playgrounds where we learn to play, but in the open streets and forests.

Thus Amsterdam can only remain Amsterdam if it stays true to itself. It should not become like app store of well designed experiences, but like the open internet of experiments, global interactions, and unexpected encounters.

This is how I see Amsterdam Art Weekend.  By opening up its museums, collections, galleries to the public; it presents the treasures and the talent, the past and its vibrant contemporary art scene. In a city of canals and a country of lakes it is easy to succumb to an inward looking insular mentality. Amsterdam Art Weekend aims to overcome this. Art institutions pull together to invite the world to Amsterdam and push Amsterdam into the world.

The ‘RijksakademieOpen 2015’ will show the vibrancy of this place and its artists. They will surprise, shock, and inspire their audiences and help us reflect.

A weekend is too short; and I would love it to last a month, or a whole year. Every day should be a day of art. But as we know: a weekend is all we are allowed to have. 

So let’s enjoy it while it lasts and make sure its impact is not to limited to a weekend of Art, but a mind shift to think bigger, reach higher and go further. To dare to explore new possibilities... together here in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands and in a world that so desperately needs: more time to think.