Artistic Director Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen

Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen (Art Fortress at the village of Vijfhuizen) is a cultural heritage site repurposed as a centre for contemporary art. The fortress itself, dating from 1897, is part of the Stelling van Amsterdam, a historic defense line around the Dutch capitol, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique character. The village Vijfhuizen is situated in a rural area right inbetween the cities of Amsterdam and Haarlem, and Amsterdam Airport.

After a thorough restauration between 2003-2006, the fortress harbours exhibition rooms, studios and a residency for professional artists, as well as a restaurant with meeting rooms. As managing director, Holger Nickisch was responsible for both daily general management of the site and for the artistic programming of the Kunstfort art foundation, housed in the fortress.

Under Nickisch’ management, the organisation expanded its operation and gained a much greater public significance. The strategies Nickisch´developed together with his team effectively promoted the historical, cultural, ecological and touristic value of the site. By 2015, Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen welcomed over 26.000 visitors/year to see a number of memorable contemporary art exhibitions, minor exhibitions, expert meetings, summer academies and (art) events, including an anual open air cinema in late summer. The expanded force of over 50 volunteers and paid employees run the venue, realising a turnover of between 500.000-600.000 euros.

An overview of exhibitions at Kunstfort and participating artists between 2009 – 2016:

Trailerpark  |  art & public space, mobile units, intervention
with artists a.o. Erik van Lieshout, Cascoland, Jurgen Bey, Kevin van Braak and Hermelinde Hergenhahn

Dreams are my Reality  |  cultural heritage, contemporary art
in collaboration with Saskia Monshouwer
with artists Aurelia Mihai, Claus Richter, Femke Schaap, Maria Pask, Inti Hernandes, Tehnica Schweiz (Gergely Laszlo & Peter Rakosi)

Speed Bump   |  art collection, contemporary art
in collaboration with art collector Frans Oomen
with collected works of artists a.o. Matthew Barney, Joep van Lieshout, Tony Oursler/Mike Kelly, Aernout Mik, Job Koelewijn, Erik van Lieshout, Mark Wallinger, Jonathan Monk, Franz West, Olaf Nicolai, Ryan Gander, Jannis Kounellis, Jeff Koons, Tobias Rehberger, Pipilotti Rist, Carlos Amorales, Dave Allen/DouglasGordon/Jonathan Monk and Thomas Hirschhorn

Van Zwaarden en Ploegen  |  trench art, contemporary art
with artists Guda Koster, Lisa Oppenheim and Maarten Peerdeman
and works from a private a collection of trench art objects

Dolly, you say you want a Revolution
  |  ecology, art & public space, food culture
with artists a.o. Helmut Dick and Annechien Meier

In Orbit  |  intervention, art & public space, contemplative
solo exhibition artist Rob Sweere

Armed & Relatively Dangerous  |  sculpture, contemporary art
solo exhibition artist Thom Puckey
in collaboration with Saskia Monshouwer

Front To Back  |  art & public space, contemporary art
Solo exhibition artist Fransje Killaers

Luid Land  |  landscape, art & public space
in collaboration with Iris Dik
with artists a.o. Mark Bain, Jacco Olivier, Sarah van Sonsbeeck and Julia Willms – co Robert Pravda and Andrea Božić

Café Des Espérances  |  cultural heritage, landscape
in collaboration with Saskia Monshouwer
with artist a.o. Thomas I’Anson, Stefaan Decostere, Kevin van Braak, Baden Pailthorpe and Jonas Staal

Stellingname  |  landscape, cultural heritage
in collaboration with Jacqueline Heerema of Satellietgroep
with artists a.o. Marjolijn Boterenbrood, Jacqueline Verhaagen, Sjaak Langenberg, Bram Vreven, Ronald Boer (landscape architect), Francois Lombarts (designer), Bram Esser (philosopher/author), Jan de Graaf & Robert Schütte (city planners), and PeerGrouP (Henry Alles, & Elles Kiers)

All Dressed Up …  |  contemporary art, cultural heritage
solo exhibition artist Ans van der Vleuten

Open City  |  landscape, art & public space
in collaboration with Alice Smits
with artists a.o. Martijn Engelbregt, Justin Bennett, BikvdPol and Elke Uitentuis & Wouter Osterholt

Blow Up! art & public space, ecology
with artists Bert Kramer and Robert Roelink

Size Matters  |  minimal art, art & public space
in collaboration with Nathalie Zonnenberg
with artists Eva Berendes, Lucas Lenglet, Navid Nuur, Esther Stocker and Remco Torenbosch

Op De Plaats Rust  |  landscape, art & public space
in collaboration with Iris Dik
with artists a.o. Henriette Waal, Francois Lombarts, Sil Krol, Ronald Boer & Valerie Dempsey, Danielle van Vree, and Neeltje ten Westenend

Holzwege   |  landscape, art & public space
with artists Edwin Zwakman and Maurice Bogaert

Lichtjaren  |  art collection, contemporary art
in collaboration with Stichting Polderlicht
with selected works from artists Mariska de Groot, Joseph vd Horst, Eunkyoung Hwang, Albert In ’t Veld, Coen Kaayk, Peter F. van Loon, Willem Marijs, François Morellet, Matthijs Munnik, Koji Ogura, Hans Schork, Thierry Ysebaert, Margot Zanstra, Peter Zegveld, Johan van Zutphen


Holger is the enthusiastic director of Fort bij Vijfhuizen, who has many ideas to improve the visibility and the experience of the UNESCO World Heritage Site ‘The Defence Line of Amsterdam’’, of which the Fort bij Vijfhuizen is a part.

- Nanette van Goor (2014), program manager of The Defense Line of Amsterdam.

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