Synchronicity? – How Yann Arthus-Bertrand relates to Tinco Lycklama…

This summer, the city of Cannes is presenting two major exhibitions to its visitors. One is the Lycklama exhibition, which retraces  the life and travels of Tinco Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900), founder of the Musée de la Castre and benefactor of the City of Cannes. The other one is “Le patrimoine mondial vu du ciel“, with a selection of works by world-reknowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand. These exhibitions have something in common – and you can call it synchronicity.

YAB - 21 rue Hautefeuille Paris
Arthus-Bertrand, éditeur – 21, rue Hautefeuille, Paris

In 1877, the Dutchman Tinco Lycklama – a well-respected resident of Cannes – donated his personal museum to the city. The collection was the built from art, souvenirs and artefacts bought during his exceptional three-an-a-half year tour through Persia, Mesopotamia and the Levant, between 1865-68.

Tinco Lycklama, a friend of Claude Arthus-Bertrand.

Upon his return from the Near East, Lycklama published a monumental travel account – over 2,200 pages in four volumes. His editor was Claude Arthus-Bertrand, located at 21 rue Hautefeuille, in Paris.

Tinco Lycklama was a member of the French Société de Géographie, which was presided by his friend Victor Malte-Brun. The Société de Géographie was closely associated with the house of Arthus-Bertrand, the official publishers of the Société. Claude Arthus-Bertrand was the obvious publisher-of-choice for Tinco Lycklama. Victor Malte-Brun was highly supportive of Tinco and recommended his books through articles and speeches.

It is interesting to note that Claude Arthus-Bertrand – the third generation of editors and medallion manufacturers in Paris – was the great-great-grandfather of Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Yann Arthus-Bertrand (born 1942, see Wikipedia…), photographer and film-producer, known worldwide for his recognisable aerial photography and film, is also a United Nations ‘goodwill ambassador’ for environmental issues. With his GoodPlanet Foundation, Yann Arthus-Bertrand actively encourages the public’s consciousness about ecology and the preservation of nature.

His exhibition in Cannes is sponsored by the French Committee for UNESCO. Through a selection of 35 aerial photographs, it showcases exceptional sites protected by UNESCO as world heritage sites. Cannes, with its Ile Sainte Marguerite and the famous Croisette, is a candidate for UNESCO recognition as World Heritage.

Yann Arthus-Bertrand captures what Tinco Lyckama saw

Beyond the unsuspected connection between Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Tinco Lycklama through the photographer’s ancestry, there is more that links the two exhibitions.

Tinco Lycklama made an exceptional voyage through the Near East, in 1865-1868. He visited places as a ‘simple tourist’, at a time when the only travellers in the region came with official government missions. Lycklama explored the Near East as a citizen, as someone who wanted to see things for himself, observe people and monuments, learn from other cultures and customs – without judging.

He also visited places that are currently destroyed or in danger of unreparable damage. Places like Mosul, Aleppo, Homs, Palmyra… Unfortunately, Tinco Lycklama didn’t make any photographs.

Amongst the 35 photographies at the Yann Arthus-Bertrand exhibition, there are a few spots visited by Tinco Lycklama. We let you discover two of these places through the exceptional photographs by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, with quotes from Tinco Lycklama’s books

Palmyra, Syria

YAB - Theatre Romain Palmyre

“J’avais vu les ruines de Persépolis, grandioses et superbes sur leur terrasse de granit, piédestal gigantesque qui en augmente l’effet; celles de Palmyre offrent un grandiose d’un autre genre, mais dont l’aspect n’est pas moins saisissant… Je consacrai trois journées entières, à explorer en détail ce magnifique cercueil d’une puissance un moment si brillante et si soudainement éteinte.” – Tinco Lycklama at Palmyra, July 16, 1868


Istanbul, Turkey

YAB - Hagia Sophia

“De tant de monuments, d’édifices, de temples contenus dans l’enceinte de Constantinople, obligé de faire un choix, je ne veux parler que de ce qui m’a frappé le plus, Sainte-Sophie… Sainte-Sophie (Aga-Sophia) était jadis la cathédrale de Constantinople; elle en est aujourd’hui la principale mosquée. Bâtie par Justinien sur les ruines de l’église de Constantin, les matériaux les plus précieux, arrachés à des monuments plus antiques, furent employés à sa construction. Transformée en mosquée par les premiers sultans, cette basilique en reçut l’adjonction de quatre minarets, qui sont les plus élevés de la ville ; mais sa disposition extérieure se trouve noyée dans les contreforts massifs et les autres constructions dont elle a été successivement entourée.” – Tinco Lycklama at Constantinople, September 12, 1868


About the exhibitions in Cannes…

  • “Le fabuleux voyage du chevalier Lycklama en Orient (1865-68)” – 09/07-29/10/2017 – Musée de la Castre (See details…)
  • “Yann Arthus-Bertrand – Le patrimoine mondial vu du ciel” – 01/07-29/10/2017 – Île Sainte Marguerite (See details…)

Tinco Lycklama honoured by the city of Cannes at 2017 summer exhibition.

Cannes TLF Logos

Since the formal recognition of the Tinco Lycklama Foundation as an official partner, the City of Cannes announces the first outcome of this partnership. Together, they will present an exhibition dedicated to the life and work of Tinco Lycklama à Nijeholt, the first Dutch orientalist and founder of the first municipal museum of Cannes.

The exhibition is titled “Le Fabuleux Voyage du Chevalier Lycklama en Orient (1865-1868)“, and will run from July 8 til October 29, 2017 – at the Musée de la Castre in Cannes. Lycklama’s travels through Persia and the Middle East will take center stage, but the exhibition will also offer insights into how this singular Dutch aristocrat became fascinated with the Orient, through highlights of his origins in his native Friesland and his influences. In addition, it will showcase Lycklama’s publications and the creation of his collections – which he donated to the city of Cannes in 1877. Finally, the exhibition will also talk about the origins of Cannes, its development as a winter destination for Europe’s elites in the 19th century, and the place that Tinco Lycklama took in society life in the early days of the ‘Belle Epoque’.

The event in Cannes will be followed by a similar event in 2018 in the Dutch province of Friesland, at the occasion of its capital Leeuwarden being the European Capital of Culture that year.

Click the links below for the official announcement by the city of Cannes…

Exhibition : Edward Colleman (1822-1898), alias Frère Liévin de Hamme

lievin-de-hamme-youngerWe have spoken before about Liévin de Hamme (1822-1898). In 1868, Tinco Lycklama spent several weeks with this Flemist priest, discovering Palestine and its holy sites. Father Liévin has been largely neglected, but his story is remarkable as he wrote the first ‘tourist guides’ for Palestine, and accompanied thousands of pilgrims through the region.

In his native Hamme, at arts center “idplusart”, curator and former journalist Hugo de Looze is staging an exhibition about the life of Liévin de Hamme, on February 18-26, 2017. And it will prominently feature Tinco’s story.

We will also feature the story of father Liévin at future events in Cannes and Friesland.

Click here to access the Dutch-language flyer about the exhibition.

Important Lycklama memorabilia recovered from German auction

BREAKING NEWS – 02/10/2016. At an auction today in Munich (D), Wibo Boswijk for the Tinco Lycklama Foundation (a non-profit, based in The Netherlands) has been able to recover two exceptional family items of the Lycklama à Nijeholt, a Dutch aristocratic family in the province of Friesland. It concerns…

  1. The Patent of Nobility delivered in 1817 by King Willem I to Tinco Martinus Lycklama à Nijeholt (1766-1844); and
  2. The Order of the Oak Crown, including a painted portrait miniature, of Jan Anne Lycklama à Nijeholt (1809-1891).

These were respectively the grandfather and the father of Tinco Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900), the orientalist. The latter derived his title of “jonkheer” from this Patent of Nobility awarded to his grandfather. Both items have left the Netherlands over a century ago, and never returned. The destination of these items will be communicated later.



Official presentation of Tinco’s restored Qajar objects at the Musée de la Castre (Cannes)

Tinco Lycklama (portrait by Eugène Dretsch) amidst his Qajar paintings. Left of Tinco, Dutch Consul Peter van Santen, Terry Burte from the Mairie de Cannes at the right.

Cannes, 02/07/2016 – The Musée de la Castre at Cannes (F) proudly presented 18 restored objects from Tinco Lycklama’s Qajar collection of Persian art. The private viewing took place in the presence of Princess Eylah Qajar, Dutch consul Peter van Santen, and many officials from Cannes’ municipal authorities such as vice-mayor Thomas de Pariente involved with the cultural development of the French Riviera resort. And we were invited.

20160702_212154The 18 objects – including a number of unique paintings – are just a small part of the large collection of objects that Tinco Lycklama brought back from his travels through Persia in 1866-67. But, each single item is most precious and a fine example of the art produced by Persian artists under the Qajar dynasty. As Christophe Roustan Delatour, the museum’s assistant director, tells us, these objects go beyond the mere presentation of Qajar royalty and courtisans – it show us, for instance, how fabulous architecture, garden and landscaping were under the Qajars.

Tinco shipped many of his objects initially to his hometown of Beetsterzwaag (in Frisia), where he opened his first museum. He then moved the museum to Cannes (France) when he decided that this would be the city where he wanted to spend the rest of his life (at least in the winters, when the Dutch cold wasn’t beneficial for his health). Later, many objects that were temporarily upheld and stored in Damascus and Beyrouth (due to the political situation in the Ottoman empire), reached Cannes directly via Marseille. Tinco donated his collections to the city of Cannes and they became the cornerstone of the city’s museum. After being housed for many years at the town hall, it is today the major component of the Musée de la Castre – on Cannes’s seaside hilltop.

Throughout the history of the Lycklama Museum in Cannes, the collections have often been extremely neglected. Many objects have significantly deteriorated (and some are lost forever). However, over the past few decades, and in particular under the impetus of the current assistant director Christophe Roustan Delatour, plans were formulated and executed to revive these forgotten treasures and to bring Tinco’s memory (and his connection to the Qajars) back to life.


The many members of the extended Qajar family (present at the inauguration at the Musée de la Castre) have been very involved in the tremendous restoration works that these objects required. They contributed with funds but also with the passion they have for the cultural legacy of their dynasty.

Throughout 2017 significant initiatives are scheduled to further improve Tinco’s collection and turn it into a major cultural attraction in Cannes. This includes the restoration of two ancient halls in the Musée de la Castre which will be fully dedicated to Tinco and Qajar art. We have been invited to contribute to these efforts and, obviously, we will do so with a range of activities in both The Netherlands and France.

If you are visiting Cannes this Summer, here are the directions to the Musée de la Castre.


Launch of The Tinco Project – a singular quest for the enigmatic Tinco Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900)


Tinco Lycklama (1837-1900) - par Emile Vernet-Lecomte
Tinco Martinus Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900) – par Emile Vernet-Lecomte

Cannes/Amsterdam, 03/03/2016 —– Today, volunteers in France and The Netherlands formally launched The Tinco Project. This open research project will focus exclusively on a singular personality who lived in the second half of the 19th century – Tinco Martinus Lycklama à Nijeholt (Beetsterzwaag (NL), 1837 – Cannes (F), 1900). The objective of the project is to discover, explore and document this enigmatic aristocrat, who did some remarkable things but left virtually no trace in the history books. The Tinco Project aims to raise broader interest for Lycklama. It also seeks to highlight how public involvement in open research can spark enthusiasm for the Humanities and contribute to collective knowledge.

Tinco Lycklama was an aristocrat born into a wealthy family of patrician landowners, in the Dutch province of Frisia. Early on, the young Tinco took an interest in the history and cultures of the Middle East. At the age of 27, he left for a solitary travel to the Orient – via Russia and the Caucasus – lasting over three years. Upon his return he set off to publish his diaries (in French), which resulted in over 2,200 pages spread over four volumes. He also brought along over 700 artefacts, around which he built a museum in Beetsterzwaag (NL). Because of this, Tinco Lycklama may be considered as one of the first Dutch orientalists.

In the meantime, Tinco had taken a strong liking to Cannes, the burgeoning French mediterranean resort where an increasing number of aristocrats and wealthy families from across Europe chose to spend the winter season – in the footsteps of the English Chancellor, Lord Brougham. In 1872, Tinco thus moved his museum to Cannes, where he would spend most of the rest of his life. In 1877, he donated his collection of artefacts to the city’s municipality; this collection marks the birth of the municipal museum of Cannes – where it is still the highlight of the collection. Tinco also became a most welcome guest in the local “high society” – who was most avid to attend Tinco’s famous “bals masqués”.

Despite the resonance of Tinco Lycklama’s name (and his generosity) in both Frisia and Cannes, the details of his life remain largely unknown. The Tinco Project aims to correct that – appealing in the process to open collaboration between scholars and volunteer citizens. Thanks to the increasing digital availability of archives, books and objects, source documents and information are ever more accessible to internet users. The project seeks to highlight how online collaboration can, indeed, contribute to collective knowledge in the Humanities.

The Tinco Project will be an open-ended, living project that will evolve over time. From a communication and collaboration perspective, it operates through a dedicated web site ( combined with a Facebook page (à-Nijeholt-1042159302471108). The initiators are physically based in Amsterdam and Cannes.

Contact : Per e-mail


The Tinco Project – een bijzondere zoektocht naar de enigmatische Tinco Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900)


Tinco Lycklama (1837-1900) - par Emile Vernet-Lecomte
Tinco Martinus Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900) – par Emile Vernet-Lecomte

Cannes/Amsterdam, 03/03/2016 —– Onderzoekers in Nederland en Frankrijk melden vandaag de start van The Tinco Project. Dit project is exclusief gewijd aan de studie van een bijzonder persoon die leefde in de tweede helft van de 19de eeuw – de Friese jonkheer Tinco Martinus Lycklama à Nijeholt (Beetsterzwaag (NL), 1837 – Cannes (F), 1900). Ondanks enkele markante feiten en een reputatie als één van de eerste Nederlandse oriëntalisten, is Tinco Lycklama vrijwel onbekend. Het project wil het leven van deze enigmatische aristocraat verkennen en documenteren en hem toegankelijk maken voor een breed publiek. The Tinco Project wil eveneens demonstreren hoe participatief onderzoek met vrijwilligers kan bijdragen tot populaire interesse voor historie en tot collectieve kennis.

Tinco Lycklama was een Friese aristocraat uit een zeer welgestelde familie van bestuurders en grondeigenaren. De jonge Tinco had al vroeg een passie opgevat voor de geschiedenis en de culturen van het Midden Oosten. Op 27-jarige leeftijd vertrekt hij in zijn eentje op reis naar de Orient, via Rusland en de Caucasus – een reis die ruim drie jaar zou duren. Na zijn terugkeer publiceert hij zijn reisjournaal in vier boekdelen met in totaal ruim 2200 pagina’s. Hij had ook meer dan 700 voorwerpen van zijn reis meegebracht, en stelde deze tentoon in een eigen museum te Beetsterzwaag. Om deze redenen kan Tinco Lycklama beschouwd worden als één van de eerste Nederlandse oriëntalisten.

Intussen was Tinco enthousiast geraakt over Cannes – de ontluikende Franse badplaats waar Europese aristocraten en rijke families de winter doorbrachten, in de voetsporen van de Engelse kanselier Lord Brougham. In 1872 verhuist Tinco naar Cannes, neemt zijn museum mee, en brengt er het grootste deel van de rest van zijn leven door. In 1877 schenkt hij de stad zijn collectie van Oosterse voorwerpen – een donatie die de hoeksteen wordt van het stedelijk museum van Cannes (en nog steeds de centrale attractie in dit museum). Tinco was ook een graag geziene gast in de ‘high society’ van de Azuurkust. Zijn ‘bals masqués’ waren berucht.

Ondanks het feit dat de naam (en de vrijgevigheid) van Tinco Lycklama nog steeds weerklank hebben in zowel Friesland als Cannes, zijn de details van zijn leven doorgaans onbekend gebleven. The Tinco Project gaat hier wat aan doen, en wil meteen open samenwerking tussen onderzoekers en vrijwilligers stimuleren. Dankzij de toenemende digitalisering van archieven, boeken en objecten hebben internet-gebruikers steeds vlottere toegang tot bronmateriaal. Dankzij online samenwerking kan iedereen bijdragen tot onze collectieve kennis.

The Tinco Project is een levend project dat met de tijd zal evolueren. Inzake communicatie en samenwerking draait het project op een eigen web site ( in combinatie met een Facebook pagina (à-Nijeholt-1042159302471108). De initiatiefnemers opereren vanuit Amsterdam en Cannes.

Contact : per e-mail


The Tinco Project – enquête singulière sur l’énigmatique Tinco Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900)


Tinco Lycklama (1837-1900) - par Emile Vernet-Lecomte
Tinco Martinus Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900) – par Emile Vernet-Lecomte

Cannes/Amsterdam, 03/03/2016 —– Des chercheurs bénévoles en France et aux Pays-Bas présentent aujourd’hui The Tinco Project. Ce projet participatif est entièrement consacré à l’étude d’une personnalité singulière qui vivait dans la seconde moitié du 19ème siècle – Tinco Martinus Lycklama à Nijeholt (Beetsterzwaag (NL), 1837 – Cannes (F), 1900). L’objectif de ce projet est de découvrir, explorer et documenter la vie de cet aristocrate énigmatique qui, malgré quelques exploits remarquables, n’apparaît quasiment pas dans nos livres d’histoire. The Tinco Project souhaite susciter l’intérêt pour le personnage. Le projet cherche également à promouvoir l’implication de bénévoles afin de démontrer que la recherche participative peut contribuer à l’intérêt pour les humanités et à notre connaissance collective.

Tinco Lycklama est un aristocrate né en Frise (province des Pays-Bas), issu d’une famille de politiciens et grands propriétaires terriens très aisés. Le jeune Tinco se prend d’intérêt pour l’histoire et les cultures du Moyen Orient, et il étudie quelques langues orientales à Paris. A l’age de 27 ans, il embarque pour un voyage solitaire de plus de trois ans à travers l’Orient – en passant par la Russie et le Caucase. Dès son retour, il publie son journal en quatre volumes, totalisant plus de 2.200 pages. Il amène également plus de 700 objets qu’il abrite dans son propre musée à Beetsterzwaag (NL). Il peut être considéré comme l’un des premier orientalistes néerlandais.

Suite à son voyage, et pour récupérer sa santé, Tinco Lycklama passe quelque temps à Cannes, villégiature méditerranéenne en ébullition où les aristocrates et riches familles européennes choisissent hiverner – suivant l’exemple du Chancelier anglais, Lord Brougham. Aussitôt, en 1872, Tinco décide de déménager à Cannes et il y passe ensuite la plus grande partie de sa vie. Son musée d’objets orientaux déménage avec lui. En 1877, il en fait donation à la ville. Cette collection marque ainsi le début du musée municipal de Cannes, où elle demeure toujours l’une des principales attractions. Tinco fut bien accueilli parmi la haute société de la Côte d’Azur; ses “bals masqués” furent très courus.

Bien que les accomplissements et la générosité de Tinco Lycklama soient reconnus, tant en Frise qu’à Cannes, les détails de sa vie demeurent largement ignorés. The Tinco Project cherche à combler cette lacune par la recherche et la diffusion d’informations. Simultanément, le projet encourage la collaboration entre chercheurs et citoyens volontaires. Grâce à la disponibilité numérique grandissante d’archives, de livres et d’objets, les documents source sont de plus en plus accessibles aux utilisateurs internet. Le projet souhaite démontrer que, en effet, une collaboration ouverte peut contribuer à notre connaissance collective.

The Tinco Project est un projet évolutif. En matière de communication et de collaboration, il fonctionne au travers d’un site web dédié ( associé à une page Facebook (à-Nijeholt-1042159302471108). Le projet est dirigé depuis Cannes et Amsterdam.

Contact : Par email