A lot has changed in the world since the corona crisis. This is also the case at Escher in The Palace. After weeks of keeping our doors closed, we are finally open to the public again. However, this is different than usual. Our colleagues are happy to tell you about these new times in the museum and their own function in our Co-worker Monday.
Coördinator of reservations Jeroen Koolen
What exactly do you do at Escher in The Palace?
I coördinate group visits for schools, companies and tour operators. When a request is submitted, I check whether the museum has sufficient capacity to accommodate the group. Thus ensuring the museum doesn’t get too busy and enabling every visitor to have the best possible experience. In addition to planning the visit, I also arrange a tour guide. I book catering for these groups too, if desired. Consider in this regard such things as coffee or tea, lunch or even high tea. The food and drink is consumed in the former palace kitchen, nowadays the restaurant MC Café. In addition to coordinating the group visits, I take care of requests from groups keen to hold an event, such as a meeting, reception, lunch, dinner or wedding. Often these kinds of event entail a preliminary visit, for which I will be present. These involve me drinking a cup of coffee with the customer and showing them which places in the museum are suitable for their request. For example, meetings can be held in our beautiful silver room, where the crockery and cutlery used to be stored. Weddings and dinners usually take place in the Ballroom, where the Royal Family used to hold soirées. I always try to attend such an event myself to ensure that everything is going well.
How has the coronavirus changed your work?
The museum was suddenly closed to the public mid March and we were asked to work from home, for safety reasons. A log-in code enabled me to access the mailbox and planning board remotely. It was a new experience, working without any colleagues around me. Unfortunately, because of the security measures, groups can no longer visit the museum. Therefore, for the time being, in addition to my regular work, I’m helping out at the checkout. It’s nice to have a bit of variety in my work. Still, I hope that we’ll be able to welcome groups again from September, as that makes it all a lot more fun.
What do you enjoy most in your contact with our (future) visitors?
Actually, what I enjoy most is when I see people enjoying their visit, communication, experience or cup of coffee. We’re well placed to ensure their enjoyment, because we have all these great works by Escher, and in a former winter palace as well. I am proud to have a role in a museum as unique as Escher in The Palace.
What is your favourite Escher artwork?
Prior to working at the museum, I had never heard of M.C. Escher. Once I commenced working at the museum, I started studying his work and came to seriously appreciate it. To me, the most beautiful artwork by Escher is Day and Night (1938). The combination of landscape, depth, movement and perspective. Magnificent. It is as if birds ‘sprout’ from the landscape and fly into their backlight. If you were to fold the print in half, each item would fit exactly on its counterpart.