On Friday, 29 September 2023, the LAM museum, located on the Keukenhof Estate in Lisse, received the Sacha Tanja Medal. The jury praised the art museum’s excellent eye for high-quality, thought-provoking art and the fresh and unconventional way it makes art accessible to a wide audience: “The museum team always does things just that bit different from other museums.” Emily Ansenk, jury member and director of Holland Festival, presented the prize to the museum’s director, Sietske van Zanten. The medal portrays an image of Sacha Tanja, the former chief curator of the ING Collection who passed away in 2004.
The LAM museum was awarded the medal due to the unconventional way it makes high-quality art accessible to a wide audience. The jury report highlighted the distinct collection: “From Ron Mueck’s mother with baby, who is lugging two heavy shopping bags, to Folkert de Jong’s contemporary adaptation of Venus by Botticelli, built mainly from plastic bottles.”
The report also commended the LAM museum’s considerate pricing model: “Everyone receives a warm welcome at the LAM, including those who are struggling financially and don’t have enough money to buy a ticket. They can enter the museum free of charge with a sponsored ticket.”
Sacha Tanja was the curator of the ING Collection for many years. She was committed to promoting and encouraging contemporary figurative Dutch art, even when this form of artistic expression fell out of fashion. The Sacha Tanja Medal was established in honour of her memory a year after she passed away and to encourage the continuation of her work. Designed by sculptor Guus Hellegers, the medal is an annual tribute to an artist, a person or an institution that has made a particularly creditable contribution to figurative art in the Netherlands.
The first medal was posthumously awarded to Sacha Tanja herself. Since then, the honour has been bestowed upon a further 17 artists, patrons and art lovers, including Matthijs Röling, Barend Blankert, Philip Akkerman, Museum MORE and Henk Helmantel. The LAM museum is only the second museum to have been awarded the prize.
The Sacha Tanja Medal jury members this year were Emily Ansenk (director of Holland Festival), Sanne ten Brink (director of Brutus), collector Joop van Caldenborgh (Museum Voorlinden/Caldic Collection), painter Henk Helmantel and Wim Pijbes (director of the Droom en Daad Foundation).
With its international art collection dedicated to food and consumption, the LAM museum offers fresh perspectives on everyday activities like eating, drinking and shopping. Sietske van Zanten, the museum’s director, says: “We let visitors discover the extraordinary in the ordinary.” The Viewing Coaches, exclusive to the LAM, offer personalised tips on how to look at the artworks in each hall.
The LAM museum officially opened its doors in February 2019 and is an initiative of the VandenBroek Foundation, which strives to make art and music accessible to a wide audience. The foundation supports a range of projects, including the Royal Concertgebouw’s Young Talent Award, De Ateliers and the educational programme of the Rijksmuseum’s Teekenschool. The VandenBroek Foundation also lends out unique musical instruments to talented musicians through the Dutch Musical Instruments Foundation. Moreover, emerging artists wanting to participate in This Art Fair can acquire funding from the foundation to display their work during the annual event in Amsterdam.