Welcome to Museum Catharijneconvent!
A visit to medieval Utrecht is not complete without a visit to Museum Catharijneconvent. Wander the halls of a medieval monastery and be enchanted by the most beautiful collection of medieval art in the Netherlands.
Marvel at the glittering gold and silver in the Treasury, admire paintings by Rembrandt, Jan Steen and their contemporaries and visit our unique temporary exhibitions.
Ode to Antwerp - An exhibition of masterpieces by Flemish and Dutch artists
14 May - 17 September 2023
Museum Catharijneconvent is delighted that it has succeeded in assembling dozens of prize works by top-flight Flemish and Dutch artists for the first time in the exhibition Ode to Antwerp. It is high time this ode was written, because without sixteenth-century Antwerp the remarkable flowering of Dutch painting in the seventeenth century would never have taken place. From 14 May to 17 September 2023 great masters like Maerten de Vos, Frans Floris, Frans Hals, Peter Paul Rubens and Rembrandt van Rijn are on show, taking visitors with them on an exploration of a turbulent story in which the leading roles were played by religious and economic migrants. Never before has such a major and all-encompassing exhibition been devoted to the subject.
In the seventeenth century Antwerp was the leading mercantile metropolis of Western Europe. It was partly as a result that the city became the centre of art and the art trade. The beauty and quality of Antwerp art was unparalleled, and its artistic influence extended far beyond the frontiers of the Spanish Netherlands. New genres emerged, and for the first time there was an open market for art. Religious and political turmoil in the second half of the sixteenth century culminated in a tipping point.
From Antwerp to Amsterdam
In 1585, after a siege lasting for months, Antwerp surrendered to the Spanish. That Fall of Antwerp led to the final separation of the northern and southern Netherlands. The South remained Catholic and in Spanish hands, the North became independent and predominantly Protestant. The North blockaded the river Scheldt, cutting off the South’s principal trade route and ruining its economy. Those developments prompted a mass exodus of mainly Protestant artists and merchants to the North, now renamed the Republic of the United Netherlands. Amsterdam became the new Antwerp. Art and the economy flourished there like never before.
First time ever in the Netherlands
Ode to Antwerp brings together 80 key works illustrating the vast influence that its new émigré citizens had on the art and art market of the Dutch Republic. The exhibition not only traces the tumultuous history of one of the most highly prized artistic movements in the world, it also provides a fascinating insight into the continuing exchange of artistic ideas between the Southern and Northern Netherlands. Light will be shed onto that by the many large and colourful canvases and panels, many of which have never been on display in the Netherlands before. It will be a feast for the eyes!
Highlights from national and international collections
Half of the works on show are from the collection of The Phoebus Collection in Antwerp. It would not have been possible to mount this exhibition without its help. The other half is coming from the collection of Museum Catharijneconvent supplemented by leading institutions like the Mauritshuis, the Rijksmuseum, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the Snijders&Rockoxhuis. To accompany the show we are issuing the lavishly illustrated catalogue Van Antwerpen naar Amsterdam. Schilderkunst uit de zestiende en zeventiende eeuw, published by Hannibal Books and edited by Dr Micha Leeflang, one of our curators.
Fashion for God: 14 Oct 2023 - 21 Jan 2024
Everything shines this autumn during Fashion for God! Get ready for an unprecedented experience full of sumptuous fashion fabrics, dazzling embroidery and luxurious high fashion from the Renaissance and Baroque eras. Wander through ballrooms full of richly decorated copes and lavishly flowered ball gowns. Exclusively made and reused to shine on the altar in the period of the Dutch hidden churches. Carefully preserved for centuries and still of the highest quality.
Go back with us to the early seventeenth century. A turbulent period, because after the arrival of the Reformation, Catholics in the Republic were no longer allowed to meet in public. They therefore fled to hidden churches. Behind closed doors, they pulled out all the stops to propagate their faith. The pastors wore 'fashion for god'. This was the way to express one's identity in times of oppression.
From ball gown to church vestment
What is a ball gown from the Victoria & Albert Museum doing next to a choir cap worn in a sheltered church? Discover the extraordinary route from ball gown to church vestment in the eighteenth-century Baroque. A time when the Republic enjoyed great prosperity and the wardrobes of wealthy pious women were filled with colourful flowered French, English and Chinese fashion fabrics. And what to do with such a worn ball gown? They donated it to the church so that church vestments could be made from it. And so it could happen that the precious fabrics ended up on the altar and the service was recited in a pink choir cap.
The beautiful examples of baroque gowns are shown in combination with a choir cap made of almost the same fabric. The exhibition ends with a grande finale in a veritable celestial ballroom, where the very finest examples made of ladies' dresses create a furore one last time and can be admired in all their glory. An enchanting experience, as it must have been centuries ago.
MAISON the FAUX signed on to design Fashion for God. Specialising in performance art, fashion and costume design and set and interior design, this studio strives to create work that finds the perfect synergy between many creative arts.
Catharijneconvent - A building with a history
Museum Catharijneconvent occupies a characteristic building in the old city centre of Utrecht. The building has a long history going back to the fourteenth century. Originally, it was the site of a shelter for the homeless. In the fifteenth century the Carmelites acquired the land and built a convent. Later, the knights of St John turned it into a hospital, which it remained until the beginning of the nineteenth century. Subsequently it served various other functions until becoming a museum in 1979.
Opening hours & admission
- Tuesday - Friday 10am - 5pm
- Saturday, Sunday and holidays 11am - 5pm
- Closed Mondays, 1 January and 27 April
- ICOM, AICA, Museumkaart: Free*
- Children under 17: Free
- Students: € 7
- 65+: € 13.50*
- Adults: € 15*
*A surcharge may apply to temporary exhibitions.
Our temporary exhibitions are fully accessible for English-speaking visitors. For the permanent collection, a free audio guide is available in English.
Please note that paying in cash is no longer possible.
Groups, tour operators & facilities
Groups & tour operators
Various options are available for a visit with a group or tour operator.
There is a museum shop, museum café and outdoor seating area, meeting rooms and a library on site.
Address, directions & accessibility
Lange Nieuwstraat 38
3512 PH Utrecht
P.O. box 8518
3503 RM Utrecht
Telephone: + 31 (0)30 231 38 35
- Only a 15-minute walk from Utrecht Central station
- Only a 5-minute walk from the tourist office
- Bus line 2 stops at the door
Accessible for wheelchairs. Not accessible for larger motorised scooters. Guide dogs and assistance dogs are allowed.
You can find more information about accessibility on this website: https://www.goldencrossdata.com/en/adress/museum-catharijne-convent