An exhibition in the Netherlands showing various artefacts from Malta’s rich prehistoric period was a great success, attracting more than 75,000 visitors by the end of its run.
The exhibition – Temples of Malta – held between the end of May and the end of October at the National Museum of Antiquities of the Netherlands – the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in the city of Leiden. Thanks to this exhibition, the museum has seen one of its best periods in the last 10 years in terms of revenue.
Heritage Malta transported over 90 artefacts and six models of temples to the Temples of Malta an exhibition, offering an excellent cross-section of the Maltese Neolithic period, dating back to 5900 – 2500 BC. The exhibition included temple decorations, tools, decorated pottery and statuettes. From this collection was also part of this two centimeter high statuette collection found in the Temples of Ħal Tarxien, which represents two figures in a hug of love.
This exhibition was just one of the results of a memorandum of understanding between Heritage Malta and the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden. Visitors to the Dutch museum had already been given an anticipatory tasting of Malta’s prehistory through another exhibition born of this collaboration. The first exhibition, which includes photographs of Maltese megalithic temples, took place between October 2020 and March 2021.
“The excellent response to this exhibition is a clear indication that our national heritage attracts many Dutch people and will pave the way for more Dutch cultural tourists, who in turn are living proof that the national cultural heritage is an important asset for our country and a pillar for our economy. Such collaborations boost relations between Malta and the Netherlands, and between Heritage Malta and foreign museums, both in the Netherlands and abroad, ”said Noel Zammit, Heritage Malta’s chief executive.
Mark Pace, Malta’s ambassador to the Netherlands, spoke about the role of diplomacy in strengthening relations between countries and peoples, saying that the best way to make nations aware of each other is by discovering each other’s cultures through such exhibitions. The Temples of Malta The exhibition had an even deeper meaning as it took place during the COVID pandemic, highlighting the need for people to be in each other’s physical presence although they sometimes have to make do with virtual substitutes.
Wim Weijland, director of Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, stressed that for the museum, close collaborations with foreign counterparts are of great importance. The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden focuses mainly on the Mediterranean region and the Middle East, and fosters very good relations with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia.
Malta is equally important, offering the opportunity for cooperation in various fields in the coming years. One such area of collaboration would be the Egyptian collection at the National Museum of Archeology in Valletta, which provides fertile ground for future research and exhibition and publication.
Marthe Van Leeuwen, who represents the Malta Tourism Authority in the Netherlands, expressed her satisfaction that the great effort made to advertise the exhibition in the Netherlands has really borne fruit, with Temples of Malta being a great success.
The exhibition at the National Museum of Antiquities of the Netherlands was held with the support of the Malta Tourism Authority and the Dutch Embassy in Malta.
Independent journalism costs money. Times of Malta Support for price of coffee.