Mr. Peter Nieuwendijk`s speech in yesterday`s Zemun conference / from Holland

Cartoon museums news
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And how it all started in the Netherlands

It all started in 1981 when I exposed my artworks in the Museum of Modern Art in Amstelveen (nearby Amsterdam).
On this occasion I met Elly Holzhaus, a well known female-cartoonist who published her works regularly in Woman’s Weekly and several Dutch Newspapers. She admired my works and told me that she specially loved the humor that I had put in the artworks. She told me about Knokke-Heist where she gained the Prize of the Public in 1980 and asked me; “Did you ever thought about making cartoons?”
In 1982 she invited me to go with her to the opening ceremony and the diner in the Magritte Room in Knokke. I was impressed.
At that occasion I met Bob Vincke who introduced himself as the chairman of the Belgium Cartoon association. He asked me: “Do you have a Cartoon Association in Holland?” and at the same time he invited me to come to Beringen where they made a re-start of the oldest Belgium Cartoon festival.
After being in Beringen, I decided to organize a Dutch Cartoonfestival.
Bob gave me also an address of a cartoon competition in Skopje (former Yugoslavia).
I made contact with Mr. Vlado Jocic who invited me to come to Skopje.
After visiting Knokke, Beringen and Skopje, I decided to organize a Dutch Cartoonfestival.
I used all the information I gained during those three visits, and wrote in one weekend a complete scenario for the Dutch Festival, complete with self-designed logo, entree forms, press bulletin, letters for participants, winners, a dummy for a catalogue, even a list for the opening ceremony with a menu for the dinner!

With a complete script I contacted the head of culture of the city of Amsterdam. They were interested and impressed and asked me: “Who is organizing that all”.
Than I made a big mistake. I responded: “I’ll do that”
A week later I got an official letter in which the head of culture wrote that they had no confidence in such a one-man-business.

Thinking about Bob Vincke’s question “Is there a Dutch Cartoon Association? I founded the Dutch Cartoon Association together with Elly Holzhaus and a girlfriend, telling her that she was from now on the treasurer of the Dutch Cartoon Association the Tulip and that Elly was willing to do the secretary work.

With the same complete script I contacted the head of culture of the city of Amstelveen, where I was known as a painter and also teacher.. They were interested and impressed and asked me: “Who is organizing that all”.
This time I answered: “The Dutch cartoon association”
Of course not telling that this association had only 3 members!
After one week, they contacted me and told me that they were very happy to have that International Cartoonfestival in Amstelveen. They were willing to support the contest and exhibition with 50% of all costs.
So I had to look for sponsorship, in which I succeeded by gaining 20% of the Government in The Hague, 20% of The Prins Bernard Foundation and  free tickets from KLM Air company.

The two lady members and myself collected addresses of cartoonists. We made a small poster and sent it around the world.
The success was overwhelming, we received more than 2000 cartoons, and we could have an opening, a catalogue (printed free by Loeb Publishers), prize money, trophies, a dinner, hotel accommodation and tickets for the winners etc.
This all happened at the end of 1983.

The next 5 festivals were also held in Amstelveen.
At the end of 1984 the Dutch cartoon Association was a serious Association. We counted 45 professional cartoonists and 12 semi-professionals.
By the 3rd cartoon festival we had to find another publisher for the catalogue. We found Mr. Mondria from Mondria Publishers.
A hell of a job was to find every year new sponsors.
In 1988 the head of the Museum in Amstelveen (Aemstelle) where we held the exhibition died suddenly. The head of Culture found another job in another city and I was tiered of running around finding sponsors. We also were nearly bankrupt by sending all the original drawing back.
So we stopped and thought five will be enough.

Two years later –the Dutch Cartoon Association the Tulip was still growing- The Amsterdam Zoo Artis contacted me and asked if we could organize for them a Cartoon Competition. And so we did.

A year later we got a request from a computer firm and in the same period a request from the national Foundation of Gymnastics. Both with the same question.
So we made a re-start with the Dutch cartoon festivals. Number 6 and number 7.

After again one sabbatical year, the Ton Smits Foundation asked us the move to Eindhoven (in the South of the Netherlands). They promised to solve the sponsor matter and  they founded the National Foundation of Humor and Cartoon in which was presented; The Dutch cartoon Association the Tulip, the Ton Smits Foundation, the culture department of Eindhoven and the Music centre of Eindhoven.
We stayed in Eindhoven with the Dutch Cartoonfestivals for a period of 7 years until the 14th Dutch Cartoonfestival.
After changing’s in the city government and the Ton Smits Foundation and having problems with getting sponsors, the Tulip stepped out this organisation, thinking that nr. 14 was the last one we ever organized!

Two years later I got a phone call of one of our members, who told me that in Bergen op Zoom (near the Belgian borderer) inside the Historical Museum het Markiezenhof, a cartoon museum was created.
After contacting the director and the curator who were immediately very enthusiastic, we signed a contract for having 5 times the Dutch cartoon festival in the historical City of Bergen op Zoom. They take care of the sponsorship, the opening and dinner; we invite the cartoonists, publish the catalogue, create the trophies, invite the guest and winners, sending the catalogues around the world, arrange hotel accommodation and travel expense
So now we have today until October the 17th Dutch Cartoonfestival which became a biennale.
In the program: nr. 18 in 2013 and nr. 19 in 2015. After that who hope to can sign a new contract. We donated all prize winning cartoons of the seventeen Dutch Cartoonfestival to the museum in Bergen op Zoom were they are digitalized today.


Some ideas:

1. Make a ½ yearly digital Museum Bulletin for all the Cartoon Museums
(Question: who do we call an official Cartoon Museum?)
2. Change exhibitions by sending the works digital on CD (in high resolution to be printed)
so colleagues can use them for having an exhibition if they wish
(it saves a lot of money instead of sending printed or originals)
(Question: what happens with all those non-prize-winning or not selected cartoons?)
3. Changing addresses and e-mail contacts, phone numbers of cartoonists and organizers.
(we are no enemies; we’re all in the same business!)
4. Make a link on your own website
5. Producing once a FECONEWS Magazine Special with information about these Museums. maps, opening hours, dates, picture of the museum, logo, short history, and websites. E-mail etc.
(in the first place the FECO Member organizations!)
6. See nr. 2. Possibility to make a DVD about an exhibition, opening, contest and send it to colleague- museums. They can reproduce this DVD and sell it in their shops or give it away to make promotion for the art of cartoon.
7. Of course to provide the libraries (and the visiting center) of the museum with printed catalogues.
8. More……{jcomments on}