2012: a dynamic year for Boijmans

Visitors at The Road to Van Eyck, photo: Fred Ernst Children in the museum, photo: Fred Ernst

Press release

A dynamic year for Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
13 December 2012

By the end of this year Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen expects to have welcomed more than 250,000 visitors. The museum’s displays, exhibitions and activities – not only in the museum but also in the Submarine Wharf - have attracted huge numbers of people to Rotterdam. Simultaneously the museum has to take radical measures to deal with the cuts to arts funding.

The museum reached new audiences with the cross-media project Art Rocks! and the selling exhibition Art4Kids. The ‘Baroque Egg’ by Jeff Koons, displayed in the entrance area since the spring, has attracted a great deal of attention from press and public alike. In addition to intriguing installations and videos by Absalon, visitors were treated to highlights from the museum’s collection of Minimal Art and were immersed in the mystical world of Sarkis in the Submarine Wharf. The year comes to a close with the extremely successful and unique exhibition ‘The Road to Van Eyck’.

Boijmans abroad
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen was invited to curate several exhibitions abroad with works from the museum’s collection. These included ‘La La La Human Steps’ at the Istanbul Modern and ‘Contemporary Surrealist Drawings from Rotterdam’ at the Institut Néerlandais in Paris. Both exhibitions were extremely successful with 126,000 and 7,000 visitors respectively. The museum’s exhibition ‘Marijke van Warmerdam – Nearby in the Distance’ attracted more than 100,000 visitors in Porto this summer. The museum has lent seven works to the Centre Pompidou’s Salvador Dalí exhibition, which will travel to the Reina Sofía in Madrid. Four works by Van Dyck and Rubens from the museum’s collection are currently on display in the Prado in Madrid. In total this year the museum has loaned more than 300 works to the museums around the world, reaching some 2.4 million people.


Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen saw its revenue from ticket sales and sponsorship drop dramatically as a result of the current economic crisis. This, in combination with budget cuts from the City of Rotterdam, forced the museum to reduce staff numbers and to abandon free entry on Wednesdays. The financing of important exhibitions such as ‘The Road to Van Eyck’ is extremely risky for the museum. Thanks to the support of numerous sponsors, the members of the Circle of Van Eyck and foundations such as the recently formed Blockbuster Foundation, the museum was able to take the risk to present this unique exhibition.

This year saw the launch of the innovative ARTtube. The video channel now contains a wealth of videos about art and design not only from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen but also from four partner museums. In the museum visitors can watch these videos via the Boijmans Tour, which can be downloaded for free onto a smartphone via WiFi. Since April part of the museum’s collection has been included in the popular Google Art Project. The museum’s various online platforms including van www.boijmans.nl, ARTtube, the online collection and ALMA, have attracted almost 900,000 visitors, of which 16% were from abroad.

Visitor profile
Of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen visitors 33% come from the Rotterdam area, 52% from the rest of the Netherlands and 15% are foreign tourists. In 2012 these visitors spent more than €11.5 million in Rotterdam. The museum has also built up a large online audience with 9,600 Facebook fans, 23,500 followers on Twitter and more than 25,000 newsletter subscribers.

More than 35,000 children visited the museum, either as part of a school trip or independently. The Turing Museum Bus, which transports school children to and from the museum for free, was an important factor in the success of the educational programme. More than 1600 children visited the museum square at Junior Holiday Land in Ahoy, which the museum co-organised with Villa Zebra and Museum Rotterdam.

Collection and research
We are currently installing new displays of The Design Collection in eight galleries in the Van der Steur wing. Thanks to support from the Rembrandt Association and the BankGiro Lottery, the museum was able to purchase ‘The Astronomer’ by Arthur Segal, now on display in The Collection Enriched. The restoration of ‘The Three Marys at the Tomb’ by Van Eyck was a success. This important restoration was supervised by a committee of expert specialists and was financed by Nedspice. Yves Tanguy’s painting 'Landscape with Pink Clouds’ of 1928 was also restored this year. Both paintings are now on display in the museum.

The museum published a book on the unique position of Galerie Delta within Rotterdam’s art scene as part of the series Boijmans Studies and was surprised by the gift from ‘Mr Delta’ (Hans Sonnenberg) of fifteen works of art with a total value of van €30 million. This year also saw the publication of a new guide to the collection. Designer Joost Grootens designed a book that gives readers insights into the collection in new ways. The museum’s first digital catalogue – of Dutch drawings from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries – was published at collectie.boijmans.nl.

The museum is working on the development of a new collections building, which will open in 2016, ridding the museum of its long-term storage problems.

Looking ahead

In January TV Rijnmond will broadcast new episodes of Boijmans TV. During Rotterdam’s Museum Night, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will open the exhibition ‘Hand Made – Long Live Crafts’, a celebration of craftsmanship. In the summer of 2013 the Submarine Wharf will host internationally renowned painters and the year will be rounded off with Expressionist portraits of people and animals by the Austrian painter Oskar Kokoschka.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen would particularly like to thank the BankGiro Lottery and the Port of Rotterdam.