Will you soon have your own photo exhibition in the Rijksmuseum?

Will you soon have your own photo exhibition in the Rijksmuseum?

~ Opportunity for high school, MBO students across Kingdom ~

Document Nederland

Especially for high school students and MBO [‘middelbaar beroepsonderwijs’, in English vocational school -ed.] students, the Rijksmuseum, based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is organizing the photo contest “Document Nederland Junior”. This competition runs parallel to the Document Nederland project.

Every year since 1975, the Rijksmuseum has asked a Dutch photographer to portray a current theme. Together, these photos form an image of the Netherlands over the years. This year, the Rijksmuseum has asked photographer Sharelly Emanuelson to portray the theme of sustainability and consequences of climate change and its impact on society – not only in the Netherlands, but also on the six islands of the Kingdom.


Sharelly Emanuelson is a photographer, filmmaker and visual artist of Aruban and Surinamese parents. She grew up in Curaçao and Aruba and obtained a bachelor's degree in audio-visual media from the Utrecht School of the Arts and a master's degree in Artistic Research from the Royal Academy in The Hague.

Emanuelson is the 2020 winner of the Charlotte Köhler (an incentive prize for young talent up to the age of 35, issued by the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds) and the Volkskrant Beeldende Kunst Publieksprijs (Visual Arts Audience Award). In recent years, her work has become increasingly well known internationally and she has exhibited in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Cuba, among other countries.

Emanuelson uses film, video, installations and photography as media to express and communicate her thoughts, experiences and feelings about culture, heritage, colonial remains, behaviour and relationships in everyday life. In her work, she explores what she feels and sees as a Caribbean person. Her work is realistic and dreamy at the same time. She makes the everyday special and exposes issues, such as have to do with colonialism and climate, in a sophisticated way.


Sharelly's approach to the assignment for Document Nederland is not to focus on the eye-catching developments, such as the first realized solar parks and the number of wind turbines that are increasing substantially, but on sustainability as it is implemented in people's homes: reusing raw materials, handling water well, separating waste, eating less meat and recycling clothes or other materials. What does this development look like in the Netherlands and on the Caribbean islands?

With this project, the Rijksmuseum collects important photographic images of social themes in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, thereby providing a picture of the Kingdom throughout the years. An exhibition of a selection of the works is planned for September 2022.

Contest for young people

And now the contest for young people –we are flooded with images every day, but you can train yourself to look closely and to pick up more information from these images. Visual storytelling and visual literacy are topics that are increasingly being paid attention to at school. You can also learn a lot from it by doing documentary photography yourself. You can tell a story with photographs. The Rijksmuseum has turned it into a contest: Document Nederland Junior.


Separating waste, repairing things or reusing them. Consciously or unconsciously, our things get a second life. We all deal with sustainability in different ways. What do you do with your waste? Do you take the glass to the bottle bank or do you keep all the jars “because you still want to do something with them”? How does your environment deal with items that could use a second life? And has this been the case for generations; or since more attention has been paid to sustainability in the news and politics?

Students can reflect on these themes in their own way. The Rijksmuseum calls on everyone: “Show us in photos how you deal with the reuse of things.” They ask you to be critical about it. For example, how does your island deal with recycling? Is that the best way? How do you think we can best deal with our discarded goods and waste?

What can you win?

The creators of the ten best series are selected by a jury of experts and by the public via scholieren.com. The ten nominees will be invited to two master classes under the guidance of photographer Sharelly Emanuelson and experts from the Rijksmuseum.

As a result, their work will be displayed in an exhibition in the Rijksmuseum. The two final winners will be announced during the opening on September 23. They get to spend a day with photographer Sharelly Emanuelson.

In addition, the winner from secondary education will receive a photo assignment from scholieren.com and the winner from MBO (vocational schools) will win an internship assignment from the Rijksmuseum. Of course, special arrangements will be made if a student from the islands wins, so that he or she will be able to attend the master class and walk-in day or to be present at the opening.

Do you want to participate?

You can participate by submitting a series of five photos with a short explanation via the Rijksmuseum website before June 6. The photos can be taken with a phone or with a camera. The files should not be too small, nor should they exceed 10 MB.

On June 11, the ten participants selected for two master classes will be announced. In these master classes, the students will receive feedback on their work from the photographer of Document Nederland, Sharelly Emanuelson. They learn more about the Rijksmuseum photography collection and the tricks of the trade. In the second master class, the ten participants learn more about making an exhibition and they put together their own exhibition, including exhibition texts.

The jury will choose a winner from the ten selected participants. The winner gets to spend a day with the photographer and is offered a six-month internship at the Public & Education department of the Rijksmuseum to prepare for the next edition of Document Nederland Junior. During the opening of Document Nederland, the final winner will be announced, and everyone can visit the exhibition.

For more information, visit www.rijksmuseum.nl/docnljr. Press release via Stichting Cultuur Kameleon, photo: Sharelly Emanuelson, Document Nederland 2022, Rijksmuseum.

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