Walking through the halls of Design Museum Dedel in The Hague city center means exploring three museums at the same time: a mind-blowing graphic design exhibition, an impressive 17th-century city palace and a major restoration project in progress. For me, Museum Dedel is to an avarage art museum what a sketchbook is to an elaborate painting. The frayed edges make it even more interesting to look at.
Palace turns auction house turns museum
In 1642, lawyer Willem Willemzoon Dedel commissioned the building of a stately city palace along the then newly landscaped canal, the Prinsegracht. The identity of the architect(s) got lost trough the centuries, but it is assumed that Huis Dedel has been designed by the same person(s) as the famous Mauritshuis: Jacob van Kampen and/or Pieter Post. The pièce de résistance, the Italian stucco in the stairwell was added to the house in the Eighteenth century on commision of Jan Hudde Dedel. After the death of his son Abaraham in 1798 the city palace was sold on a public auction. During the 20th century, Huis Dedel served as an auction house itself. And in 2019 it reopened as graphic design museum: an exhibition space for commercial materials like posters, postcards, billboards, magazines, storage cans and more.
Unfortunately, some of Huis Dedel’s original grandeur has already been lost forever. But when you visit this museum you will immediately see why a monumental city palace like Huis Dedel deserves to be restored to its original state.