The Most Beautiful City

Amsterdam through the eyes of Eberhard van der Laan

‘We all have a huge problem – we live in the most beautiful and the finest city in the world,’ said Eberhard van der Laan (1955-2017), mayor of Amsterdam and guest curator of this exhibition.

Amsterdam has expanded dramatically in recent years. More work, more residents, more tourists, more new builds. But also busier streets, more pressure on the housing market, more nuisance. Van der Laan called it a major expansion. Not for the first time: Amsterdam’s growth has always gone in leaps and bounds. In this exhibition Van der Laan looks back on periods of rapid growth in the past. Never without growing pains, but with his favourite city as the result. He chose the photographs and objects from the collections of the Amsterdam Museum and the Amsterdam City Archives.

‘Take good care of our city and one another,’ he wrote in his farewell letter in September of last year. He wanted to use this exhibition to encourage the residents of Amsterdam to have a good conversation about the future of this city, which has such an unusual history.

Exhibition design by Kossmann.Dejong