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dsm-firmenich donates DSM Art Collection to the municipality of Heerlen

On March 27, dsm-firmenich donated the legacy DSM Art Collection to the municipality of Heerlen.
This extraordinary collection, valued at approximately two million euros, comprises over 500 unique pieces by local, Dutch, and global artists. 

The Start of The Collection

Established in 1952, the DSM Art Collection is one of the Netherlands' oldest corporate collections.
DSM started this collection to support local artists. It features historical and contemporary pieces telling the story of where it all begun in the region, as well as the journey to the multinational company that dsm-firmenich is today.
The oldest piece in the collection is nearly a century old and was a gift from DSM employees to the board. The piece's title is ‘Genius Labor’ (1927), depicting two men against a backdrop of sprawling fields, cooling towers, and buildings. For DSM’s 25th anniversary, Limburg-based artist Henri Jonas was commissioned with creating a stained-glass piece with the concept of the mining industry in mind. 

Sustainability as a Central Theme 

In 2003, the collection expanded to include other Dutch artists and international talents, with a marked sustainability theme, reflecting DSM's commitment towards an eco-conscious future.
Three notable pieces from this period include: 
  • ‘Ronin’(1997), by the world famous Japanese-American sculptor Shickichi Tajirri who lived and worked in Limburg until his death in 2009. His 100th anniversary is celebrated in The Bonnefanten museum in Maastricht and museum Van Bommel van Dam in Venlo
  • ‘Continental Drift’ (2017), by Belgian artist Maarten Vanden Eynde. For this piece, symbolizing humanity’s ecological impact, he took plastic from the ocean and melted it down to construct a vibrant sculpture on a vintage globe, displaying the world covered in plastic waste.
  • ‘Daisy, Last Child of the Woods’ (2017), by Dutch artist and filmmaker Melanie Bonajo. In this photograph, she explores the impact of technology and consumerism on humanity and the natural world, focusing on the feeling of spiritual emptiness. 

Art That Gets People Talking

From traditional canvases to avant-garde installations, the collection sparks conversation, and celebrates creativity in this world. 

“‘Our works of art have always been a topic of discussion in our company. Some people find them ridiculous, foolish, or even obscene. Others find them bold, cheerful, or full of humor. This is exactly what we want: art that gets people talking, rocks the boat and leads to discussion and, above all, dialogue.”

- Catharien Romijn, Art Curator at dsm-firmenich

The Collection’s New Home

dsm-firmenich has gifted the collection to the city of Heerlen, where it will find a new home to be enjoyed by the local community and beyond. SCHUNCK, Heerlen’s multidisciplinary cultural institution, will manage and exhibit the collection, to capture and transfer the story of the collection. The first presentations are planned for 2025, after which the collection will be permanently displayed in SCHUNCK’s Art Depot.

The full text of the press release is available here.