As I was making my way through the De Ploeg exhibition in Groningen museum, Muriël approached me asking if I wanted to discuss a painting with her. This sounded like a great idea to me so we discussed one of the paintings and then moved on as we weren’t quiet enough for a group talk taking place next to us. It was at this point that an opportunity for an interview for our travel blog arose. Luckily, Muriël agreed and here you go please read on to get to know Muriël more.
Is this your full time job?
No, I teach Primary school children from 6/ 7 years old and I work here every Sunday talking to visitors about paintings.
Do you find that visitors want to talk about paintings with someone?
Yes, it varies. Someone this afternoon said that no, they did not want to talk and another man was deaf so he didn’t want to either. I’ve now been doing this for 6 months so I find it easier to read people’s body language and the signals they give so I know if they want to or not as I approach them. If they don’t then that is OK and I walk on to someone else.
What made you want to work here?
I work as a teacher which I’ve done now for maybe 18 years which is a long time so I’m looking for something else for my next step. I’m very interested in Art and went to Art school and although I didn’t finish it, I’m always interested in visiting museums.
What would be your ideal job?
I would like to work with children still so I’m planning to start a greenhouse with plants. From a young age, I’ve always enjoyed working with plants and I would like to create a place for children to come to which is very green. Children are very busy from a young age now going to football games or whatever which means there is a lot of stress for young children these days. I want to create a place where they can relax and also do a bit of yoga and philosophy. I’m busy accomplishing that at the moment.
Do you have a favourite painting or artist yourself?
There are so many. One of my favorite painters is the Dutch painter Jan Mankes. You can see a view of his paintings here: https://www.museummore.nl/nu-te-zien/jan-mankes/ I also really like Paula Modersohn Becker. She’s a German painter. You can see her work here: https://www.museen-boettcherstrasse.de/ I went to an exhibition of Jean Brusselmans, a Belgian painter in The Hague which I really enjoyed and last but not least, the work of the Cobra painters (For example Karel Appel) is worth seeing. There’s a Cobra museum in Amsteveen (near Amsterdam).
As I mentioned, I’m going to be travelling around Holland this month, where would you recommend I visit?
So you already mentioned you’re going to Schiermonnikoog which is good. If you like this exhibition, there is also a cycle route in the North of Groningen in the countryside where you can rent a bike and cycle through the landscape from the paintings and see which part inspired each painting.
Around Holland, there is Maastricht which is beautiful. They have a pie which is nice to eat called Vlaai (pronounced Fly) and they make it very well in Maastricht. The landscape is also different with hills so it’s nice to cycle there. I come from the East of Netherlands, South from Groningen in a place called Enschede that’s close to the German border. The nature around the town is very beautiful. The town has a nice museum and the countryside is especially beautiful. There is another village nearby called Ootmarsum which is a painters village so it’s good to visit.
Another interesting place is Park de hoge veluwe https://www.hogeveluwe.nl/ which is a naturepark with free white bikes. You can cycle through the beautiful landscape; especially in the autumn. In the park you can visit a beautiful museum: Het Kröller Muller museum (https://krollermuller.nl/uniek-in-elk-seizoen). There are some paintings of Bart van der Leck; a dutch painter I also like.
Sallands Heuvelrug is also very beautiful nature park.
It’s easy to get the impression that Dutch people are very much into exercising as you see them on their bikes a lot or running, is that a true impression?
It depends as there are people who enjoy exercise but there are also a lot who sit all day in front of the TV, computer or tablet. There are lots who enjoy sport like cycling or hiking like myself. Most people like to go on their bikes.
One last question, why should people come to visit Groningen museum?
It’s a beautiful museum with great exhibitions which are well organised and the rooms are painted nice colours to complement the paintings.
I hope you enjoyed meeting Muriël as much as I did. I hope to continue to feature interviews with people I meet along my travels. If you are based in Holland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden then get in touch if you wish to be interviewed for the blog. I look forward to meeting many people along the way.