Born in 1960, van der Plas studied art history at Utrecht University, and she has successively held the positions of founder and director of the Gate Foundation (1987-1997), first director of the Prince Claus Fund (1997-2010), director of Premsela, the Netherlands Institute for Design and Fashion (2011-2012) and general director of the National Opera & Ballet, before becoming managing director of the Bonnefanten in Maastricht in 2020.
At Bonnefanten, Van der Plas looks back on an enjoyable period at one of the most beautiful museums in the Netherlands. Petra Stienen (chairperson of the Museum Supervisory Board): 'We congratulate Els van der Plas with her honourable appointment to the Allard Pierson. We thank her for her work on the positioning, development and relationship management of the museum. She has also worked to intensify the collaboration with Maastricht University. We are also pleased that she has secured the funding for the illumination of the museum building.'
Els van der Plas on her appointment: 'As general director of the Allard Pierson, I will have broad-ranging responsibility, enabling me to draw on my experience and expertise in all areas. The Allard Pierson, an institute that unites the arts, heritage and scholarship, feels like coming home. I have always combined positions in the arts with advisory and supervisory roles in education and academia. All of this comes together in this new position.'
Gerard Nijsten: 'We welcome a director with a broad network in the national and international cultural field and somebody with proven ability in connecting scholarship with heritage and the arts. Moreover, she has consistently demonstrated her ability to connect and motivate people.'