Harm Stevens

Harm Stevens is Curator of 20th-century Art

Curriculum Vitae and work

stevens Harm Stevens has worked at the Rijksmuseum since 2009. He is jointly in charge of the Department of 20th-century Art, which was launched at the museum’s reopening in 2013. In 2015, Stevens published Bitter Spice: Indonesia and the Netherlands since 1595, a book that explores museum objects to shed light on the shared history of the Netherlands and Indonesia. Besides colonial history and collecting, Stevens is also specialized in Dutch post-war history, and particularly 1960s counterculture. His main interests are happenings, the Provo movement, ‘the rise of the Homo Ludens’ and anti-smoking magician Robert Jasper Grootveld. It was these artistic phenomena that in 1967 led a British journalist to remark, ‘The Dutch have stopped being dull’.

In addition to the wide-ranging 20th-century collection, Stevens is also responsible for the Rijksmuseum’s collections of arms, official uniforms and flags.


  • Bitter Spice. Indonesia and the Netherlands from 1600 (2015)
  • ‘The tumbling child belongs in the city scene, like herring carts. Playgrounds and equipment by Aldo van Eyck’, in: The Rijksmuseum bulletin, volume 61 (2013)/4, pp. 364-391
  • FK 23 Bantam (Amsterdam, 2013)
  • ‘The resonance of violence in collections’, Susan Legêne, Janneke van Dijk (ed.), The Dutch East Indies at the Tropenmuseum. A colonial history, Amsterdam, 2011, pp. 29-37
  • Together with Jan Piet Puype, Wapens van ridders en landsknechten in het Nederlands Legermuseum [The arms of knights and lansquenets in the Dutch Army Museum] (Delft, 2010)
  • De laatste Batakkoning. Koloniale kroniek in documenten 1883-1911 [The last Batak king. Colonial chronicle in documents 1883-1911], Museum Bronbeek (Arnhem, 2010)
  • Wilhelmina. Vorstin in oorlogstijd [Wilhelmina. Queen in war time] (Delft, 2005)
  • De Nederlands-Indische geschiedenis van de negentiende en twintigste eeuw in meer dan 100 verhalen [The Dutch East Indies history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in more than 100 stories] (Amsterdam, 2003)