Hans Looijen


Hans Looijen is CEO of Stichting Het Dolhuys (since 2008) and runs the Museum of the Mind with two major venues. One is the recently completely refurbished Museum of the Mind, Dolhuys Haarlem (Amsterdam Metropolitan Area). The other venue is Museum of the Mind, outsiderart Amsterdam. The complete renewal  Museum of the Mind, Dolhuys Haarlem is awarded the European Museum of the Year Award 2022. We take the visitor on a tour through ‘the artwork between your ears’. Neurodiversity, equal rights and anti-stigma are at the core of the museum, voiced by people themselves.

Hans is intrigued by stories people tell which materialize in objects and art and leave immaterial and material traces of the human condition. Hans studied Museology in Amsterdam and Oaxaca (Mexico). ‘For me, a museum is a social institution that should create societal change and contribute to the improvement of the lives of all. It is a platform that inspires, creating an impact, while reflecting and setting the agenda on what is happening in society’. 

He expanded the museum and its reach considerably in 2016 by founding the Museum of the Mind, outsiderart Amsterdam at the Hermitage building. Hans felt that works outside the established canon of the Western art world deserve equal prominence -also in the Dutch cultural field- as there was no venue for this art at the time, he felt this field was largely neglected in the Netherlands. Outsiderart is -the name is telling- all about the arts. Although the artist’s background is not entirely irrelevant -as in all art- it is and never should be the sole nor leading criterium. That is the quality of the work. 

Hans’ other posts include being Chair of the Willem van Genk Foundation, and Chair of the Anton Heijboer Foundation. His education includes the Thnk Creative Leadership program. He has published on outsiderart as well as on mental health-themed issues and participated in a number of public events.