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Van Gogh Museum turns into beauty parlor for a day
International | 01 FEB 2022 Por Redacción

Museums in the Netherlands protested the cancellation of cultural activities with Zumba classes, barber services, nail application and more.

It is not news that since the pandemic began, the artistic-cultural sector has been one of the hardest hit; As it is not considered a “priority” industry, its activities are often among the first to be restricted when cases increase again and among the last to be allowed access.

And in recent weeks, like the rest of the world, the Netherlands has been experiencing a strong wave of covid-19 infections due to the new omicron variant. This led the country to once again lift measures to suspend activities and services, such as bars, restaurants, cafes, and of course, cultural centers such as museums, galleries, and theaters. However, beauty salons, churches and gyms were still allowed to operate, which generated the disagreement of various cultural actors in the country.

“Visiting a museum is a safe visit, and just as important as visiting a nail salon, if not more so. So we ask you (the authorities) to be consistent… Make the rules in a way that they are understandable. Currently it doesn't look like they are." Emilie Gordenker, Director of the Van Gogh Museum, told the BBC.

As a form of peaceful protest, on January 19, the Van Gogh Museum, along with other cultural institutions, applied ingenious ideas to prevent its closure without violating the new measures implemented by the government under a movement called "Theatre Hairdresser" (translation : Theater Hairdresser). In the case of the Van Gogh Museum, visitors could get their nails done or their hair trimmed in some of the museum's exhibition rooms, in the presence of the famous Dutch artist's works.

"It's crooked that I can do my job and the museum can't." commented Misha, one of the barbers who participated in the haircuts inside the museum. "Look around; there is too much space and (yet) people can go to the supermarket with 300 other people. It's ridiculous."

It is worth mentioning that these protests took place in different parts of the Netherlands, in cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, among others. Some of the more ingenious protests were:

The De Balie Arts Center was a self-proclaimed religious institution under the name “Philosophical Society; the Community of Reason"

Limburgs History Museum offered Zumba and yoga classes

The country's top concert hall, Concertgebouw, offered haircuts to attendees as they listened to the orchestra rehearse

The Mauritshuis Art Museum, home to Veermer's "Young Woman with a Pearl Earring," held physical activation classes.

Despite the fact that the government asked the population not to attend these events, most of the activities filled their maximum quota in the first hours. Gordenker stressed that unlike the protests carried out by anti-vaccine and anti-mask groups, the activities that took place in these cultural venues respected sanitary measures such as masks, distancing, and temperature measurements.

With information from BBC, El Financiero and El Universal.

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