General Director of Mauritshuis Martine Gosselink in the Netherlands has affirmed that His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani's visit to Amsterdam is expected to strengthen co-operation between the two countries across various fields, including the cultural sector.

In her remarks to Qatar News Agency (QNA), Gosselink said that Qatar has rapidly developed in the cultural field over recent decades by organising art festivals and establishing various museums and is a country with an ancient culture.

She highlighted the potential for exchanging and borrowing rare art pieces between the Mauritshuis and Qatari museums. Art exchange is a way of communicating together and trying to understand each other, pointing out her openness to that initiative.

The Netherlands has 750 museums with over 3,000 exhibitions a year and more than 1mn people carry a museum card with which they can enter every museum for free, and these sorts of ideas can be discussed with Qatari officials, she added.

The director expressed her aspiration to expand cultural exchanges between the two countries, including the exchange of art collections, artists, and school visits to exchange ideas and enhance understanding between the two sides.

The interaction of many Arab artists from Palestine, Iraq, Syria, and other countries living in the Netherlands and other Western countries helps the West understand Eastern and Arab cultures, she explained.

The Dutch's diverse population makes cultural communication between the East and West crucial for mutual understanding. Hence, delving into the lives of people in the Middle East in the Netherlands and the West is useful, she said.

Regarding the Mauritshuis' most prized possession, Gosselink said the famous painting "Girl with a Pearl Earring" by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer as present in most top 10 lists on the Internet, alongside masterpieces like the Mona Lisa, attracting visitors from around the world.

She revealed that the museum houses many other fascinating paintings, including 11 paintings by the renowned Dutch artist Rembrandt, some of which are available for art loans and exchanges.

She noted that the museum holds two exhibitions a year, which receive about 450,000 visitors, elaborating, "we are not like the Louvre or the Metropolitan, we are a very tiny building." For those who cannot afford to pay, the museum organises hours in a week where people can come for free, she added.

The General Director of Mauritshuis expressed her keenness to visit Qatar for the first time in the near future, expressing her love for the Arab culture and her support for dismantling stereotypes about Arab countries and people.
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