This Dutch entrepreneur and art collector and patron was born on February 5, 1943 in Eindhoven. He and his wife Riky have two children, Annelie and Edwin. In 1969, he founded Neways Electronics International N. V. and up to 2000 he was the chairman of the World Trade Center in Eindhoven and other leading companies. In 1994, he funded the activities of Vincent van Gogh’s Yellow House in Poprad before moving on to the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum in Bratislava-Čunovo in September 9, 2000. He also initiated and funded the implementation of the Meulensteen Art Centre on the grounds of the Eindhoven University of Technology, which opened on March 24, 2001. The Center offered artists from all over the world the opportunity to work and create in its graphic, painting and sculpting studios. Up to 2001 he was also the chairman of the Emmasingel Foundation and a major sponsor of Eindhoven’s Van Abbe Museum for more than twenty years. His art collection, acquired over the past 30 years, contains remarkable works by artists from Europe (including Slovakia since 1994) and around the world.
In 1999, he funded the construction of the Danubiana, and from 2000 to 2012 he supervised its activities, before donating the museum to Slovakia.
He was awarded the Medal of the President of the Slovak Republic in 2003 for his cultural contributions and in 2005 he was granted the award of Honorary Citizen of the Bratislava Region. In 2005, Juan Carlos I of Spain conferred upon him the Order of Civil Merit, and in 2007 the Ministry of Culture of Hungary presented him with its Pro Cultura Hungarica award. He was also the recipient of Slovakia’s highest state decoration, the Order of the White Double Cross, and in 2016 he received the honorary award of the Minister of Culture of the Slovak Republic.
Since 2004, he has served as Honorary Consul of the Slovak Republic in the Netherlands. He also initiated and managed the Danubiana extension project. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the non-profit organization, DANUBIANA - Centrum moderného umenia (Modern Art Center).
In addition to promoting Slovak visual arts abroad, Gerard Meulensteen’s activities include publishing books on artists and their exhibitions held at the Danubiana. His generosity and promotion of art, especially in the countries of Eastern Europe, will be greatly appreciated by artists and art lovers for generations to come.