During the month of July 2017, Debra and I spent a wonderful twelve days on vacation in Cannes and Provence. The primary motivation for visiting Cannes was the opening of an exhibit at the Musée de la Castre celebrating the life of a distant relative of mine, the Baron Tinco Martinus Lycklama à Nijeholt. Although I had been aware of this man from an article I had read in the travel section of our local newspaper sometime in the late 70's, and had previously visited this museum in 1989, I knew very little about the man himself. In early 2017 I became aware that an organization had started to collect information about him, and that they were planning to celebrate his life with an exhibition at the museum. With my curiosity thus piqued, and with Debra as an eager travel companion, we began planning a journey to Cannes to attend the vernissage.
So I sent an email to the organization to inquire about the exhibition, and was connected with George Homs. George was very helpful in providing information about the exhibition, so once we committed to travelling to Cannes, we arranged to meet George a couple of days before the vernissage for a coffee at Café de l’Horloge near the Marché Forville. A man of Dutch descent, George resides in Cannes near Rue Lycklama. Puzzled about how a Frisian name came to adorn a street in Cannes, he began to do some research and learned that this man had donated his artifacts to the city, a collection which would later form the foundation of Musée de la Castre. This sparked his curiosity into learning more about this fascinating Frisian adventurer and socialite, so he connected with Hans Zijlstra and Wibo Boswijk in the Netherlands, and together they created the Lycklama Foundation in Amsterdam.
George has a voracious appetite for history and culture, and possesses a wealth of information about Tinco that he, along with several others, had collected for the exhibit. Our scheduled kaffeeklatsch effortlessly turned into a three hour discussion, and we parted ways excitedly anticipating the museum opening.
The exhibition about to take place at the museum was well advertised throughout the city of Cannes, as we frequently saw promotions in shop windows, in local magazines and plastered on billboards everywhere. Most prominent were the large posters along la Croisette, the elegant boulevard along the waterfront frequented by the stars during the annual Cannes film festival. A website was also set up to promote the exhibition.
A group photo with most of the Dutch contingent. Wearing an orange tie bearing the "tree" from the Lycklama à Nijeholt family crest are Wibo Boswijk and Hans Zijlstra; in front and to their right are Jikke & Toon Dickoff Huisman (she is the daughter of Ernst Huisman), and to their left is David Lisnard, mayor of Cannes, Ellen van Selm, mayor of Opsterland, and Heleen Verhage of Historisch Beetsterzwaag.
Several hundred people are in attendance for the opening. Note the banner from Opsterland on the museum wall announcing Leeuwarden as the European Capital of Culture for 2018, shown in more detail below.
The mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, gave a lengthy speech in French, unfortunately my French is good enough to understand most of what he said. Ellen van Selm, the mayor of Opsterland, gave a speech in both Dutch and French, but sadly my Dutch comprehension levels are equally poor. However, the Dutch consul Peter van Santen gave his speech in Dutch, French, and English, you can watch the English portion below in which he talks about the funeral of Tinco in 1900.
After all the ceremonies and speeches were complete, the attendees were able to enter the museum to see the exhibits, including the new space set aside for Tinco Lycklama. At the age of 28, Tinco set out in 1865 on a three-year solitary journey thru Russia, the Caucasus and the Middle East, spending lengths of time in the areas of what are now known as Iran, Iraq and Syria. He collected many artifacts along his journey, and kept a daily journal which became the source for a 2,200 page opus that documents his journey and experiences. Following his journey he and his collection settled back in his hometown of Beetsterzwaag for a few years, but after making Cannes his winter home he eventually decided to move there. In 1877 Tinco donated his collection to the city of Cannes, which eventually found a home in the Musée de la Castre. You can learn a great deal more about his life and voyages by visiting the foundation website: https://tincolycklama.org.
At one time it was thought that there were two oil paintings made of Tinco (the one on the right is a B&W photo of the presumed missing rendition). Note the addition of the young black boy holding a tray, and modifications made to his robe. However, using modern X-ray technology, it was discovered that the modifications were added to the original, and hence there is only one such painting of Tinco.
Afterward the exhibit, we all went out for dinner and drinks. I was given this pin from the Lycklama Foundation, which depicts the "tree" from the Lycklama à Nijeholt coat of arms.