Sharing a vision

Han Nefkens

Writer and collector Han Nefkens (Rotterdam, 1954) purchases international contemporary art with the express purpose of giving it to museums on long-term loan. ‘For me it’s about much, much more than owning a work of art: it’s about sharing a vision with other people.’

Han Nefkens first joined forces with the Centraal Museum in Utrecht. In 1999, while searching for a way to make his collection accessible to a wider public, Nefkens approached the museum’s then director, Sjarel Ex. It was to become a productive and intensive partnership. Within a short period of time the museum was given works by Bill Viola, Tony Oursler and Pipilotti Rist on long-term loan. Later acquisitions were to follow, including work by Shirin Neshat, Sam Taylor-Wood, Thomas Rentmeister, Dan Graham and Diana Thater.

In addition to the Centraal Museum, from 2000 onwards Nefkens also granted works of art on long-term loan to the Folkwang Museum in Essen, De Pont Museum for Contemporary Art in Tilburg, Huis Marseille Museum for Photography in Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Museum Het Domein in Sittard and the FRAC Nord-Pas de Calais in Dunkirk. Most loans will be left with their respective museums as bequests.

Since 2005 Nefkens has mainly bought works intended for specific exhibitions and other projects.

In 2006, in consultation with Els Barents, director of Huis Marseille, he bought the photos shown in the Whisper Not! exhibition; in 2007, on the occasion of the exhibition David Goldblatt: Intersections in Huis Marseille he bought ten photos from the series ‘AIDS Landscapes’ by this South-African photographer.

In 2005, after close consultation with Nefkens, curator Hilde Teerlinck created the travelling exhibition The Suspended Moment, and this collaboration was continued in 2007 with the exhibition So Close/So Far Away.

A number of works were also purchased or commissioned for the 2007 exhibition Choix d’artistes at the Institut Néerlandais in Paris.

‘I’d like to be a fly on the wall in the museum and see the people looking, listen to them talking. How does the art I’ve collected affect people?’


The ArtAids foundation was set up in 2006 at Han Nefkens’ initiative. ArtAids fights AIDS with the power of art as its most important weapon. ArtAids invites leading artists to produce work that is inspired by AIDS and related problems. These works of art are used to raise the public’s consciousness and to encourage their involvement.

Fundació Han Nefkens

The Han Nefkens Foundation is a private non-profit organisation that was set up in Barcelona in 2009 with the aim of promoting the production of contemporary artworks. The mission is to stimulate artistic creation in Barcelona by offering international artists an opportunity to create artworks and interventions in the city, and to promote other fields of contemporary creation.


Han Nefkens started to collect art in 2000. The H+F Collection, named after himself and his partner Felipe, is in long-term loan to various museums in The Netherlands and abroad. Nowadays Han Nefkens is not only active as a collector but also as an initiator of international art projects, often in collaboration with museums and other art institutions.