1936: the opening

The “Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum” officially opened its doors on 18 April 1936 with the exhibition Hedendaagsche Nederlandse Kunst (Contemproary Dutch Art). On that occasion the first director, Dr. W.J.A. Visser expressed his wish that “Above all, the Museum would like to have the place it deserves in the future and to be a permanent point of contact between the whole population of the city and surrounding area of Eindhoven and the Museum: it must become part of the living community.” Over the years Visser’s wish was to become a reality.


The museum was named after the cigar manufacturer H.J. van Abbe, who financed the building and made a sum available for purchases and for running the museum for the first few years. In fact the name of the museum was not without its problems. It never came to be known by the rather awkward name “Stedelijk Museum Van Abbe”. Just before it opened, the inscription “Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum’ was mistakenly put on a memorial stone. As the museum is also popularly known by this name, the council decided to change the name officially on 10 April.