The origin of the collection at museum Beelden aan Zee is to be found in the private collection that was established in 1969 by Theo and Lida Scholten. After having had decades of obvious pleasure assembling hundreds of sculptures, they took the initiative to found a museum for sculptural art. The building, designed by architect Wim Quist, was opened in 1994. The entire collection of international sculpture was housed in Beelden aan Zee, and it forms the platform for the museum's artistic programmes. The collection's underlying theme is the human form in contemporary sculpture created by living artists from throughout the world.
A major expansion of the collection meant the opening of the Gipsoteca, which not only documents the creative process behind the commissioning of monuments but also the emergence and blossoming of modern sculpture in the Netherlands. Positioned on the museum's patios and terraces and on the boulevard (SprookjesBeelden aan Zee or Fairytale Sculpture by the Sea) is a monumental collection of sculptures that are able to withstand the elements.
The Kleine Zaal displays a cross section of works that is intended to do justice to both the richness of the collection and to sculpture as a medium. In selecting these works no effort was spared in following the widest possible variety of sculptors in their choice of materials and composition, style and concept. A timeline of modern, western sculptural art serves as both basis and point of departure.