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sonsbeek archive

Sonsbeek '52

Open Call

The building of the sonsbeek archive is very much a participative project. At its core is an ongoing Open call to the public to share material for the future archive (photos, videos, newspaper clippings, ego-documents, objects, etc., etc.). In addition to physical material, we have been collecting personal memories and stories of people. Some people have very happy memories and stories of sonsbeek, others are critical of sonsbeek.

If you would like to share anything, please contact us at Below you will find our submission guidelines and a brief overview of some of the missing materials.


Submission guidelines

Digital materials are accepted, and preferred. Please include as much information as possible per file. This metadata is particularly important for future searchability.

Would you like to share a memory, anecdote or personal story with us? You can find more information here.

We kindly ask that you digitize physical material as much as possible, and that you send the scanned or photographed material via WeTransfer to

If it is not possible to send the material digitally—for example, because you have a large amount of physical material—contact us at the above email address with the subject line ‘physical archive material’. In your email, we would like to receive as much information as possible about, and photographs of, the material in question, in order to get an idea about:

  • the amount of materials
  • the types of materials (listed below)
  • the sonsbeek edition(s) it relates to, and where possible stating the name(s) of the artist(s), title(s) of the artwork(s), and any related dates (for example, the date on which the photograph was taken, when the article it appeared in was published, etc.)

We will then make an appointment as soon as possible to see the material and assess whether it is possible to digitize it. Even if you are not sure that your material is interesting enough, please just send us an email!

Types of Digital Materials:

  • Photographs (.jpgs, .pngs, .tiffs, etc)
  • (Amateur) video
  • Printed material (newspaper articles, information leaflets, flyers, posters, etc.).
  • First-person texts (notes, notebooks, sketches, letters)

Types of Physical Materials:

  • Photographs (photo albums, film rolls, negatives)
  • (Amateur) video (video cassette, CD-ROM, DVD)
  • Printed material (newspaper articles, information leaflets, flyers, posters, etc.).
  • First-person texts (notes, notebooks, sketches, letters)
  • Three-dimensional objects
  • Slides

You can find the terms and conditions for lending or transferring material here, and the Stichting Sonsbeek & State of Fashion privacy statement relating to the sonsbeek archive here.

Completing the archive


  • In particular, we would like to receive photographs from sonsbeek ’49, sonsbeek ’52, sonsbeek ’55 and sonsbeek ’58. There is no documentation of small sculpture [MOU1] and pavilions with small sculpture from the first sonsbeek exhibitions. There is, as far as we know, also no photographs of the pavilion distributing information and catalogues to visitors during sonsbeek ’49. Was there such a pavilion, similar to sonsbeek ’52?
  • Photographs of Mike Kelly’s exhibition, The Uncanny, in what was then the Gemeentemuseum Arnhem (this exhibition formed part of sonsbeek ’93). We would like to be able to archive more (visual) material from this high-profile exhibition so that a more complete picture of the exhibition can exist.
  • Photographs of the construction and production process for artworks for all the sonsbeek exhibitions.


  • Particularly from sonsbeek ’49 – sonsbeek ’71.

Other materials

  • Printed material from sonsbeek ’49, sonsbeek ’52, sonsbeek ’55, sonsbeek ’58 and sonsbeek ’71 (visitor information, maps, leaflets, press reports).
  • We are missing maps for a number of early sonsbeek exhibitions, but we also do not know whether these ever actually existed. We also do not know exactly where the artworks were exhibited at all the sonsbeek exhibitions.
  • Interviews, TV or other press with participating artists or sonsbeek curators. A considerable amount of press coverage from newspapers and magazines for sonsbeek ’66, sonsbeek ’86 and sonsbeek 2001 has been archived – press coverage for these editions is to all extents and purposes complete since a sonsbeek employee was responsible for collecting press reports.
  • Documentation of learning activities for sonsbeek ’49 – sonsbeek ’71. For example, school visits, student visits and guided tours that took place (and by whom?)
  • Documentation in the broadest sense of the term (photographs, press reports, leaflets, diary entries, letters, permits etc) about or originating from sonsbeek ’71 communication centres. These communication centres were based in Arnhem, Maastricht, Groningen, Haarlem, Rotterdam and Enschede. Telex machines were used in these centres, but only a few telex reports from Enshede have survived. This means very little of the activities of these communication centres has been archived.

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