Adriaan Waiboer is curator for the National Gallery Ireland. Adriaan holds a New York University PhD; he has received fellowships to do research at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and at the National Gallery of Art in Washington; and he has won various awards and distinctions for his work. In short: Adriaan knows a thing or two about art.
The fact that he’s Dutch, means he also knows a thing or two about cycling. His knowledge of art and cycling recently landed Adriaan a job in Bear Bicycles’ Cycling Art Jury for a competition to win a Dutch bike.
However, Adriaan’s life abroad has made him lose some Dutch traits. Adriaan does still cycle to work like a Dutchman. However, there is nothing Dutch about his cycling-attire. Adriaan is – in his own words – “a MAMIL; a Middle Aged Man In Lycra”. Where a Dutchman would cycle in his regular clothes, Adriaan wears a shiny spandex suit. In his defence: he does ride a racer, and his commute from Bray to the National Gallery is over 20 km.
Adriaan has also unlearned his Dutch habit of planning months ahead. As a specialist in Dutch Old Masters, Adriaan deals with Dutch colleagues on a regular basis. Only recently did Adriaan discover he does not share his fellow countrymen’s devotion to setting up schedules and spreadsheets, memo’s and meetings. The Dutchman in Adriaan still likes to plan ahead, but his time in Ireland has also shown him how too much planning kills originality. Adriaan’s initial difficulty with Irish inability to plan ahead, has given way to the view that the Irish approach can also produce nimble problem solvers.
Adriaan hasn’t completely lost touch with his Dutch roots, though.
When our talk was over, we informed Adriaan we would be meeting in September (i.e. two months after the interview) to at the Summer Cyclin Celebration party we are organising.
Adriaan said he was happy to attend.
He also pressed us to send on the exact date, because his calendar for September was quickly filling up.