Track of Imagination

The new exhibition 'Track of Imagination', 150 years of Dutch railway posters, tells the history of railway travel in beautiful and colorful posters. The 120 posters, some of which have never been exhibited before, are an exceptional display of the development of design styles over the years.

Boat trains and Holland promotion

The earliest illustrated railway posters were made at the end of the 19th century for boat trains by architect H.P. Berlage and others. Attractive posters to draw foreign tourists to ‘Holland’ by train were often produced in neighboring countries. They painted a picture of windmills, bulb fields, and girls in traditional costume. In 1913, Willy Sluiter designed the first ‘modern’ Dutch railway posters. He did not depict trains or destinations, but rather passengers, railwaymen, and ‘locals’ in the cartoonish style that was characteristic of this ‘gentleman-artist’.

Children crafting in the workshop of Imagination

During the exhibition ‘Spoor van Verbeelding’, children can make their own poster in the ‘workshop of Imagination’ in the museum. This special place has been created with all the tools, instructions, and inspiration needed to make the most beautiful poster for the wall at home. Children and their parents can also expect more fun activities around the theme of posters.

Children crafting in the workshop of Imagination

Guest curator Arjan den Boer

The exhibition has been compiled by collector and publicist: Arjan den Boer. His richly illustrated book ‘150 years of Dutch railway posters’ will be presented by Thoth publishers at the same time as the start of the exhibition.

Arjan den Boer (1972) studied General Literature (specializing in art history and cultural education) at Utrecht University. He is a publicist in the field of history, monuments, architecture, railways, and posters. In addition to publications, he gives lectures and tours, including at the Spoorwegmuseum. For more than ten years, Den Boer has been a collector of original railway posters, of which he has built up a collection of hundreds.

Posters that have never been exhibited before

The exhibition includes posters from the extensive collection of the Spoorwegmuseum, from the collection of the guest curator, and from several museums and archives in the Netherlands and abroad. Some posters have never been exhibited before or, as sensitive as the original lithographs are to light, have been coming out of the shelves of the depot for a long time. The exhibition will also feature rare examples of the French Art Deco master A.M. Cassandre.