Westerwald stoneware for the dutch market


The artistic stoneware of past art movements rightly enjoys a lot of attention. Unfortunately, stoneware used as packaging for food and tableware from the kitchen and cellar often leads a shadowy existence. Yet everyday life in the age of growing industrialisation, with its rapid technical changes, intellectual-philosophical conflicts and wars, is extremely exciting.  


For the first time, objects from the collection of Adri van der Meulen (Rotterdam-Overschie) and Ron Tousain (Zoetermeer) will be presented in the place where they were created. In a captivating way, they reflect the social and economic history of the Westerwald and the Netherlands from around 1800 to the beginning of the 20th century.  


Adri van der Meulen, together with Paul Smeele († 2015), had an eye for simple and everyday objects. They both built up a unique collection of Dutch earthenware. In the process, they came into contact with Westerwald stoneware and recognised its importance. Together with Ron Tousain and his passion for the particularly beautiful and individually designed tableware, a completely different view of the centuries-old Dutch-Westerwald relationship was created.  

However, the exhibition extends the trade history even further into the past and goes back to its roots. Archaeological finds from Grenzau and Hillscheid, with their individual decorative elements, prove that goods were made to order for Dutch customers at least since the 17th century. The intertwining of the noble family of the House of Nassau also plays a role here, as Imperial Count Wilhelm of Nassau-Dillenburg (1533-1584) inherited the Principality of Orange in 1544 and his descendant, Wilhelm III of Orange-Nassau, also became King of England in 1689. At that time a large part of the Kannenbäckerland was in the county of Nassau.  


The subject of trade practice and transport is given much space in the exhibition. Even over long distances - the stoneware from the Kannenbäckerland reached the whole world via the large ports of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp as well as London - order, production, transport and resale were well regulated. Most of the stoneware and raw clay was transported via the nearby Rhine. However, much of it only reached the major trade fairs and markets, in this case Cologne in particular. From there the ceramics were now traded as "Cologne goods". Land transports were mostly carried out with horse teams, called Döppe- or Dippewogn. 


Many Westerwalder people sought their fortune in the liberal-minded Netherlands. They went to Holland to sell crockery with the pannier on the back or on small carts and were called "Hollandgänger" in their homeland. Some of them settled down there, married and adapted their name to the country. Some succeeded in becoming big entrepreneurs over generations.


26.11.2021 - 5.6.2022



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