This Wonderful Little Place … De Kas, Amsterdam

ANNIE FLETCHER, the new director of IMMA, discovered this restaurant while living
in the Netherlands …

I’ve just returned to Dublin after 23 years working in the Netherlands – as an independent curator in Amsterdam and then as chief curator at Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, where I was also a tutor at its Design Academy. In fact my husband and daughter are still there to see out the school year. We are all bilingual and when I took up my new position, some Dutch friends sent me some tulips for my desk – a tradition I will try to maintain.

I’ve always retained a passion and pride for Irish art [Carlow-born Fletcher studied at Trinity College Dublin and worked previously at Douglas Hyde Gallery and was acting Head of Exhibition in IMMA 2001-2] and it has been a dream to take up the position at IMMA and to build on such a carefully considered programme. I am particularly proud of the IMMA Residency programme for artists. It’s such a valuable resource and I hope that there will be a more porous relationship for Irish artists in Europe in the future; there needs to be more visibility for their wealth of talent. I also want to augment and rebuild the collection. We have just acquired, for example, 60 major works donated by the Kerlin Gallery. It is my hope that we can share these acquisitions with more and more of the public, to whom they belong.

De Kas

How I came to move to Eindhoven was as a result of my participation in project called Cork Caucus when Cork was City of Culture in 2005. It was there I collaborated with the Director of the Van Abbemuseum who invited me to join the museum in 2006.
I was in Amsterdam for 12 years [where Fletcher was a tutor at de Appel and the
Dutch Art Institute] and lived in the trendy De Pijp area, notable for its beautiful modernist architecture.

De Kas 

The Dutch are wonderful at repurposing old buildings and while I was living in Amsterdam I discovered an amazing restaurant called De Kas. I liked this immediately for its architecture, design and ethos. You walk through an 18th-century greenhouse in which organic vegetables, herbs and edible flowers are grown, before enjoying an atmospheric dinner in the Piet Boon-designed dining room. There are also conservatory and patio areas too. The menu is experimental and seasonal, reflecting what is grown either on the premises or at De Kas’ farm. Restaurant guests can tour the nursery and garden or attend workshops led by its “green brigade” from May to October. I was really intrigued to discover De Kas’ head chef, Martijn Kajuiter, had left and came to Ireland in 2007. At Cliff House Hotel, Ardmore, Co Waterford, where he has implemented the same experimental approach and kitchen garden. I look forward to visiting in the near future.

De Kas, Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3, 1097 DE Amsterdam; www.restaurantdekas.nl.

Penny McCormick

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