As the window onto Fryslân, the Netherlands’ most circular region, we ensure that sustainability is always prioritised in everything we do. Gas-free since 2018, the museum has installed heat exchangers and participates in the purchase of renewable energy. Hot summers and many visitors require extra cooling. We are therefore exploring options on how to use the generated heat as energy for ourselves or others. In 2021, we started an internal project group working with experts and the Circular Friesland Association to investigate how we as a museum can continue to reduce our carbon footprint.

The Fries Museum and the Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics are collaborating on greener strategies in the struggle against climate change. The museums want to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and to broad prosperity for the region. At the beginning of this year the Fries Museum joined the Koploper project, an initiative of Toerisme Alliantie Friesland, Circular Friesland, Ynbusiness, the Province of Fryslân and DZyzzion. To underscore its commitment to sustainability, the museum appointed a sustainability project leader who researched the various options in 2022 and drew up an action plan. In addition, an internal working group was launched that continuously submits proposals for circular and environmentally friendly initiatives and alternatives. Our employees are motivated and keen to do more about sustainability and together they structurally ensure that museums make sustainable choices wherever possible. This applies to several areas: from the procurement of materials and services to recycling in exhibition construction.

Sustainability in the Fries Museum

‘Sustainability has been an important issue for the Fries Museum since the construction of the gas-free museum and the energy-neutral depot (Kolleksjesintrum Fryslân). As the most prominent museums in the Netherlands’ most circular region, we are determined to broaden the focus to include all aspects of our operations, both for the public and behind the scenes. In this way, our museums will also become showcases of sustainability and help to increase public support for this crucial development,’ says general director Kris Callens.

Internal sustainability working group. Photo by Ruben van Vliet
Internal sustainability working group. Photo by Ruben van Vliet

Early this year, the Fries Museum joined the so-called Koploper project. This involves establishing a baseline measurement of the current situation regarding sustainable and socially responsible business practices. The Koploper project is aimed at sustainably strengthening the (regional) economy by offering progressive entrepreneurs and other organisations the knowledge, tools and network required to innovate sustainably and successfully transition to a climate-neutral, circular and inclusive economy. Above all, it helps participants implement sustainable entrepreneurship in an authentic and structural way. This project involving the Frisian hospitality sector is a collaboration between Toerisme Alliantie Friesland, Circular Friesland, Ynbusiness, the Province of Fryslân and DZyzzion.

peatlands and de onkruidenier
The subject of sustainability will also be forefronted in forthcoming exhibitions and presentations. As part of the Frisian Triennial Arcadia, the Fries Museum invited designer Christien Meindertsma to reflect on the Frisian peatlands together with international curators Laura Drouet and Olivier Lacrouts (studio d-o-t-s). From 7 May 2022 to 10 April 2023, they will present their analysis of the current situation and propose scenarios for the future in Fertile Grounds, an exhibition on the museum’s first floor. Edible plants will be grown in a modular installation in the museum foyer from 7 May, which ties in with the exhibition À la campagne. SWIET/SWIT adjust the intensity and colour of the light to create growing conditions specific to each plant. The initiative is a collaboration between the Fries Museum, De Onkruidenier and Kunsthuis SYB.

sustainable ceramics
Behind the scenes, the Fries Museum and the Princessehof are one organisation. The Koploper project focuses mainly on the Fries Museum, but the Princessehof is not neglecting this issue either. From November 2022, the Princessehof will present a multi-year programme of 12 exhibitions revolving around sustainability. With this programme, curator Wendy Gers focuses on ceramics with a lower environmental impact than ‘traditional’ ceramics, which have a high ecological footprint. The series showcases work by a wide range of artists who are developing innovative approaches, materials and production processes to transform ceramic production into a more ethically responsible, sustainable and environmentally friendly practice. There will also be a publication on sustainable ceramics, which will focus on leading contemporary artists and designers in the field, and reflect a broader, contextual historical overview of sustainable ceramics, featuring key historical works from the Princessehof’s permanent collection.

Participants in this Koploper project are: Aquacamping and Jachthaven De Rakken, De Domp camping and marina, Fries Museum, Hotel de Walvisvaarder, Jachthaven Hindeloopen Marina, Natuurlijk De Veenhoop, Nieuw Allardsoog, Stadsschouwburg De Harmonie, Theater De Koornbeurs, Zeilschool Pean.

 The Fries Museum is partly funded by the Province of Fryslân, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Municipality of Leeuwarden, the Friends Lottery and the Ir. Abe Bonnema Foundation


tips for sustainable exhibitions at fellow museums

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