Students’ stories: Loïs Geerlings

Written by Loïs Geerlings

Lois lets talk art.JPG
That’s me on the right ↑

Hi! My name is Loïs and I’m a second year student of the BA Media, Art, Design & Architecture (MKDA) at the VU. I was inspired to do this study by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, where I have been working as a Blikopener since the age of fifteen. The Blikopeners (freely translated as eye openers) are the youngsters of the Stedelijk. They give advice to the museum, but they are also busy making events to attract youngsters and give tours. There are lots of different projects going on and every year a new group of fifteen youngsters between the age of 15 and 19 is selected. After one year of weekly meetings and trainings every Blikopener can choose to join several projects. For example, I chose to join a project called ‘Let me be your guide’. For this project the Blikopeners will tell stories about artworks of the new exhibition of the collection of the Stedelijk called BASE. They will also talk about different aspects of art or ask all kinds of crazy questions to get the visitor to think about art in a completely different way. In the BASE-exhibition there is also an audiotour where each Blikopeners gives his or her opinion on a few works or gives the visitor a small assignment. For example, I talked about Jeff Koons’ Ushering in Banality, which is located in the second part of the BASE-exhibition (the collection from the 1980s until now).  Last year there was a job offer for the alumni-Blikopeners to become junior executive of the Museumnacht in the Stedelijk, which I applied to and got! This basically meant that I was part of the team who organized the program for the Museumnacht in the Stedelijk from scratch. We organized a night within the theme of the 1980s of Keith Haring, whose big canvas was just on display at the time. It was an amazing experience and it was a huge success, with more visitors than ever before. That the job offer was made within the group of alumni-Blikopeners shows how serious the museum takes their youngest staff members.
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Lois stedelijk.JPG
Apart from being a Blikopener, I am also an ambassador for the Dutch University Institute for Art History (NIKI) in Florence. This is an institution where research can be done by every (art) student of the Dutch universities. The NIKI has a big library and sleeping accommodations on a hill near the city of Florence. It is possible to follow courses in the winter or summer and these courses can also be used to fill up your curriculum at the VU. This means that bachelor students can get ECTS points at the NIKI during a summer course, for example. Apart from that it can be a nice, quiet place to write a thesis or do research in general. The library is specialized in Italian Renaissance art, so it is a recommendation for every art historian or researcher with an interest in this subject. I will be visiting the NIKI as part of the bachelor curriculum for art students within the bachelor Media Art Design & Architecture.

That’s it for now,  and if you see me at the Stedelijk, ask me anything!


Lois Blikopener2

Editorial note:
This is a new section on the blog where students from different tracks and masters from the VU Arts & Culture department share their experiences. Whether it be about their awesome job, interesting internship or other experiences as an Arts & Culture student. If you’re interested in writing a blog sometime please send an email to:

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