Museum de Fundatie owns and manages an extensive collection of top pieces in visual art, which was assembled by the formar Boymans director Dirk Hannema, and supplemented later with (among others) the art collections of the Overijssel Province. The collection and exhibits can be viewed at two beautiful locations: het Nijenhuis castle at Heino, and the Palace on the Blijmarkt in Zwolle.
The collection of over 7000 objects consists of a number of - mostly private - collections. The basis for the collection was laid by art expert Dirk Hannema (1895-1984), founder of the Hannema-de Stuers Foundation, from which Museum de Fundatie arose. His collection was merged with other collections over time, including those of the De Graaff-Bachiene couple, art historian Paul Citroen, actor Henk van Ulsen and longue doctor Willem Hogervorst. The international collection of Museum de Fundatie contains old art as well as modern/contemporary art, glass, ceramics, furniture (mostly from the 17th, 19th, and the first half of the 20th century), non-Western art, and a small collection of ethnographica.
In 1921, Dirk Hannema was appointed director of the Boymans Museum, at age 26, in Rotterdam. This museum grew in reputation under his management. After a controversial period during the war and the purchase of ‘De Emmaüsgangers’ supposedly by Vermeer, a painting that turned out to be by Han van Meegeren after the war, he couldn't return to being the director of Boymans. He then focused all his attention on his own collection, which he had been creating since his early years. In 1958, Dirk Hannema brought his collection to het Nijenhuis Castle, where he also resided. The Overijssel province, owner of the castle, renovated Het Nijenhuis. In 1964, Hannema said farewell to his collection, and he donated everything to the Hannema-de Stuers Fundatie. In 1984, Dirk Hannema passed away.
The Palace on the Blijmarkt is where one finds Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle. This neoclassical building was built between 1838 and 1841, and it was designed by architect Eduard Louis de Coninck from the Hague. It served as judicial Palace and later housed the Rijksplanologische Dienst (a Dutch government service). In 2004/2005, the Palace on the Blijmarkt was remade into an art museum according to a plan by architect Gunnar Daan. In 2012/2013, a spectacular extension was produced. The elliptical shape on the roof is called The Eye or The Cloud by the Museum itself, but it has many nicknames: the egg, the ufo, the zeppelin, the spaceship. The extension, a design by Hubert-Jan Henket (Bierman Henket Architecten), offers two exposition rooms with a combined surface area of almost 1000 square meters. A large, oval window offers a view of the historic city center. On the outside, the building is covered in 55,000 white-blue tiles. The extension seems lifted on a ceramic cloud, and floats above the originally neoclassical building. On the boundary between the medieval city center and the 19th century canals, the renovated museum is a contemporary beacon and an icon for the future. The modern architecture meets the demand of extra space for the successful sandwhich of crowd pleasers and specialized exhibitions.
Museum de Fundatie wants to spread the passion for visual arts to a wide and varied audience.