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Van Gogh in Drenthe, The Netherlands

  • September 11, 1883 - December 5, 1883
Vincent left The Hague in the autumn of 1883 for the Dutch province of Drenthe, where he would remain for three months. Though relatively brief, his time there made a lasting impression on him.

Inspired by people including his friend Anthon van Rappard (1858–1892) and partly motivated by the idea that life in the country would be cheaper, Vincent arrived in Hoogeveen by train from The Hague, where he had been living and working, on 11 September 1883. Having said goodbye to his girlfriend, Sien, and her children, he moved into a guest house run by Albertus Hartsuiker (1827–1902). After about two weeks in Hoogeveen, which he spent getting to know the area, Vincent decided to travel further into Drenthe. He took a canal boat southeast toward the adjacent villages of Nieuw-Amsterdam and Veenoord and found accommodation in a guest house run by Hendrik Scholte (1841–1915). From there, he explored the surrounding countryside, for instance taking a day trip to Zweeloo.

During this time, Vincent corresponded with his brother Theo about Theo’s job with the art dealers Goupil & Cie in Paris. Vincent wanted his brother to join him in Drenthe and work alongside him as an artist, but Theo chose to stay in Paris.

Despite the brevity of Vincent’s stay in Drenthe, it was important for his development in several respects. It was a lonely time in which he had no help from or contact with other artists, but Drenthe’s landscape, its inhabitants and its singularity made an indelible impression on him, which he captured in paintings, drawings and watercolours. Although Vincent wrote of being influenced by the seventeenth-century Dutch masters, the Barbizon school painters and artists like Max Liebermann (1847–1935), in this period, Drenthe was his greatest source of inspiration.

Vincent left Nieuw-Amsterdam on 4 December to return to Hoogeveen, where he would board a train for Nuenen the next day.

Existing, accessible
Existing, not accessible
No longer existing

Locations in


Wout J. Dijk and Meent W. van der Sluis
De Drentse tijd van Vincent van Gogh 1883
Groningen, 2001

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