Hugo Grotius 400
A deep-dive into the mind of Dutch humanist, diplomat, lawyer, theologian, jurist, poet and playwright Hugo Grotius (Hugo de Groot).Hugo Grotius, is in The Netherlands best known for his spectacular escape from his imprisonment exactly 400 years ago. Hidden in a bookchest, he managed to flee from Loevestein Castle. The exhibition welcomes the guests with the most iconic and known topic, the chest.
The escape has become legendary and throughout time innumerous artistic impressions of it have been created. From 300-year-old sketches up to a Lego stop-motion film. The exhibition brings some them together and shows how this escape, that is part of the canon of The Netherlands, has become sort of pop-culture in itself.
Since the original book-chest is not existing anymore, we worked together with young people to build a new one. As a guest, you can even step inside, test the Chest-escape-feeling and get a picture taken.
Over the years, the original cell and its interior have been lost. In this space you can meet Hugo de Groot in his original cell in the form of an oil-painting. Every few minutes, the walls of his cell ‘become alive’ and start to tell about the live as a captive on Loevestein Castle and the details of the great escape.
As the grand finale and the main space, the guests enter the ‘universe of thoughts’ of Hugo Grotius who was one of the forethinkers of modern day international and maritime law. Five of his most important antique books are displayed in orbital-showcases, which virtually scatter the words from the books in form of light all over the space and therewith create an immersive ‘light installation of thoughts’. In between this ‘universe of thoughts’ guests can meet five experts, among which the Astronaut Andre Kuipers, that talk about some important aspects, the legacy and influence of Hugo Grotius’s work in our modern world.
Exhibition ‘400 jaar Hugo de Groot’
22 March until 31 December, 2021
Photography: Mike Bink