The museum in figures

What does Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen do for Rotterdam?

A year ago we published an overview of 2010 in figures for the first time, thus showing what a privatised, internationally renowned museum like Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen does for Rotterdam. That same data is now available for 2011. Here we present the results of 2011 that provide insight into the local and global character of this 164-year-old art museum in an easily digestible form. In view of the Rotterdam Council for Art and Culture’s advice to Rotterdam Municipal Council to slash €835,000 from the museum’s budget as of next year, these are results that give pause for thought.

Please download the leaflet with a summary of these results here.

0. General

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is charged with the stewardship of a municipal collection of 140,000 works of art (of which 126,000 items are its own property, 14,000 on loan from third parties), as well as a municipal and national monument with 26,000 square metres of floor space.

Up to and including 2012, the museum will be receiving a subsidy for operating costs from Rotterdam Municipal Council, though this no longer fully covers the museum’s rent, fixed costs and salaries (€9.8 million).

The museum organises support for its activities (education, exhibitions, acquisitions, restorations) and autonomously generates an average income of €6.8 million per annum.

The organisation employs approximately 94 FTEs (following a reorganisation in 2005 that reduced the number of staff by 22 FTEs). Taking into account part-time workers and volunteers, approximately 165 people work at the museum.

The museum draws upon a flexible pool of hundreds of suppliers, freelancers and (small) businesses with annual orders of €3 to 5 million.

The museum has been independent since 2006 and is managed by a foundation, the Stichting tot Beheer Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

1. Visitors

More than 273,000 people visited the museum in 2011, of which

34% came from the Rotterdam-Rijnmond region;
46% from elsewhere in the Netherlands (each visitor spending €42 in the city, overnight stays excluded, according to CVO research conducted over 2011);
20% from abroad (each visitors spending €127 in the city, according to research conducted by the NBTC over 2009);

Annual number of visitors:
2006: 182,000
2007: 187,000
2008: 238,005
2009: 225,878
2010: 320,416
2011: 273,733
2012: 250,000 (expected)

The museum’s visitors provided an economic injection of more than €12 million in the city in 2011.

2. Collections and exhibitions: global & local

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s collection is highly regarded, both nationally and internationally. The museum has 3,000 works on permanent display in the Van der Steur Wing, ranging from Old Masters to contemporary art and from medieval utensils to industrial design. In 2011 we loaned 258 works of art to exhibitions all over the world. These works were seen by 1.3 million people: they are the city’s ambassadors.

Of the 140,000 objects in the collection, over the past 164 years more than 30,000 works of art have been donated to the Boijmans Van Beuningen Foundation by some 1,650 individuals, mostly from Rotterdam. Many of these donors wished to give something back to the city in which they were able to prosper. Every day, dozens of collectors follow in their footsteps.

In 2011 and 2012, exhibitions organised by Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen are being shown internationally in cities such as Istanbul, Paris, Porto, Wolfsburg and Düsseldorf. The museum has an extensive international network and maintains ongoing relationships with many museums around the world.

Alongside the 25 exhibitions in the museum at the Museumpark, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has for the last five years been presenting a programme of international contemporary art exhibitions in the Submarine Wharf at the RDM complex. This is a partnership with the Port of Rotterdam, which has provided the necessary funding.

3. Artists and designers from Rotterdam: the City Collection

In its exhibitions and research programmes, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen devotes a great deal of attention to talent from Rotterdam – past and present – and the context from which they have emerged. Artists and designers such as Jacques Jongert, Jaap Gidding, Hella Jongerius, Kees van Dongen, Wally Elenbaas, Daan van Golden, Joep van Lieshout, Marijke van Warmerdam and many emerging artists are represented in the City Collection and have been highlighted in exhibitions and publications based upon intensive art-historical research. A publication that provides an overview of the first 25 years of the City Collection is set to be released in late 2012.

Over the past 5 years the museum has spent more than €2 million on art, artists and designers from Rotterdam, including the investment in the Submarine Wharf in conjunction with the Port of Rotterdam in 2010, A municipal subsidy (formerly a state subsidy) of €177,000 per year serves as a basis for this targeted investment (set to be reduced to €129,000 per year). All other funds invested in this talented group are generated by the museum itself, including dozens of acquisitions, commissions, exhibitions and interventions, and the associated fees. This expenditure make a major contribution to the income and reputation of these artists and designers involved.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has for several years been organising the biennial Rotterdam Design Prize in association with the Rotterdam Design Prize Foundation, which has for 20 years been regarded as the most important design prize in the Netherlands.

4. (Inter)national reputation

Within the Province of South Holland, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen ranks first in terms of museum familiarity and reputation.

Within the Netherlands as a whole, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen ranks fifth, behind the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Open Air Museum and the Kröller-Müller Museum.

The Net Promoter Score is the most important gauge of visitor satisfaction, indicating the degree to which clients recommend a product or service to friends.Museum Van Beuningen scores 40%.

The number of foreign visitors has risen in recent years, from just under 20,000 in 2007 to 52,000 in 2011.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is an internationally recognised phenomenon. The museum enjoys a high reputation for its world-class presentations and scholarship. The museum has its own series of academic publications about the collection, the Boijmans Studies. Over recent years it has undertaken research into the artist’s studio of Anthony van Dyck, the carryings-on of master forger Han van Meegeren, and the significance of the Rotterdam-based Gallery Delta for the city and the museum. Conservation of works by Fra Angelico, Rembrandt and Dalí, as well as ‘Futuro’ by Matti Suuronen, were conducted and presented in an international context.

The museum boasts an excellent ‘lending relationship’ with other museums. The quality of the Rotterdam collection makes it possible to secure loans of exceptional quality from museums such as Tate Modern (London), the Prado (Madrid), the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA (New York), Centre Pompidou and the Louvre (Paris).

A number of successful Museum Boijmans van Beuningen exhibitions recently toured abroad to be displayed in international institutions. The 2009 retrospective of Charley Toorop’s work and ‘All Eyes on Kees van Dongen’ from 2010 were presented at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2010/2011). The 2009 ‘The Art of Fashion’ presentation toured to Art Museum Wolfsburg (2011). The 2010 exhibition about Johan Thorn Prikker was presented in the spring of 2011 at Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf, which was a partner in this project. The 2011 retrospective, ‘Marijke van Warmerdam – Close by in the Distance’, will be touring to Museum Serralves in Porto (summer 2012) and the Kunsthalle in Düsseldorf (winter 2012/2013). We are also working together with the Gemäldegalerie SMB in Berlin to prepare ‘The Road to Van Eyck’ exhibition, which opens on 13 October 2012 in Rotterdam.

5. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen for all Rotterdam citizens

Visitors to the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen never pay admission to access the ground floor of the Bodon Building: the library, bookshop, espresso bar, VSB Art Studio and print room, as well as presentations in the Serra Gallery and Willem van der Vorm Gallery, are admission-free.

In addition to the usual reductions, the Rotterdam City Pass is also valid at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

The museum offers the opportunity to get the hang of collecting art in the My First Art Collection and My First Design Collection courses. Participants represent a new generation who are shaping the future of Rotterdam and the museum. Besides visiting artists’ studios and private collections together with curators, participants also get a peek behind the screens at the museum and the opportunity to network with like-minded people.

The museum has 1,600 friends – mostly from Rotterdam – who pay an annual membership fee of €40.

Together with Villa Zebra and other museums, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen welcomes over 1,900 children at Jeugdvakantieland – ‘Youth Holiday Land’ – in the Ahoy exhibition centre each summer.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is available for receptions, parties and congresses by appointment.

6. Schools and education

Museum Boijmans van Beuningen offers educational activities for children from 3 years of age.
The museum welcomes approximately 27,000 children from primary and secondary schools as well as about 4,500 students from vocational training and higher education every year in particular from schools and training courses in Rotterdam and the surrounding area.

A great many Rotterdam schools with highly mixed student populations visit the museum, from primary as well as secondary levels. The museum tries to make the threshold as low as possible. Each year 10,000 primary schoolchildren are ferried from their schools to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and back again in a free bus sponsored by the Turing Foundation.

The museum is the only one in the Netherlands that employs a culture coach. Since the 2009/2010 academic year this culture coach has been working intensively at two community primary schools in an urban regeneration area. There are close ties between the schools and the museum: the lessons are based on the museum’s collection and the pupils become familiar with the museum through their visits. This means the museum is actively contributing to social cohesion in the city.

The museum received 33,000 visitors in 2011 who participated in activities such as symposiums, guided tours, courses, excursions and lectures .

The museum’s curators and other staff members give weekly lectures and talks, at the museum itself as well as at colleges and universities in the Netherlands and abroad.

Visitors can enrol for dozens of programmes, ranging from guided tours by actors from Ro Theater to classes for students at the Willem de Kooning Academy who follow masterclasses (‘meet and greet’) by artists who are exhibiting in the museum. And not to be forgotten is Art4Kids, a recurring programme where children can independently purchase a work of art for €35.

The museum has a dedicated educational space (the Art Studio) for children and adults, where they successfully collaborate with permanent partners such as HipHopHuis and Ro Theater.

In 2011 the museum reached more than 50,000 young visitors, teenagers and those in their early 20s from all sections of the community, in part through its educational programmes and in part through association with media partners.

Entry to the museum is free for visitors up to the age of 18.

7. The Digital Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s diversity of online activities attracts almost 725,000 visitors, 21% of them from abroad. Besides providing access to general information, it is possible for online visitors to consult special integral collection programmes, such as Alma, ArtTube and the collection website. Alma is a research website that makes it possible to link utensils with their depictions in art. The museum’s own video channel, ArtTube, has received more than 170,000 visitors since its launch in November 2009, three quarters of these from the Netherlands and a quarter from the rest of the world. Visitors have been able to consult the museum collection online via since April 2010, and so far this part of the website has attracted more than 167,000 visitors.

The museum’s online reputation is being reinforced by the use of social media. The museum has amassed more than 15,000 followers on Twitter and more than 7,500 fans on Facebook.

In 2012 the museum is producing the Art Rocks! music competition in association with the BankGiro Lottery. In parallel with this, AVRO will be broadcasting Art Tracks. Art Rocks! was launched during the Rotterdam Museum Night on 10 March 2012. This crossmedia project involves a television programme, a major nationwide music competition, a variety of workshops, events and concerts in the museum, and a musical multimedia tour.

8. Publicity

News about Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is featured in printed media almost 4,000 times a year, an average of more than 10 articles a day. This publicity (‘free publicity’ included) represents a national media value of more than €13.5 million. This does not include events listings, online mentions or foreign magazines and/or newspapers.

Every year there are dozens of regional, national and foreign television and radio stations that devote coverage to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s programme of exhibitions and events.

9. The museum’s self-generated income

Since 2010 the museum’s municipal subsidy of €9.8 million has no longer fully covered the museum’s salary costs and the rental and maintenance of the building. This makes the museum extremely vulnerable in the event of cutbacks, as they will affect the basic structure immediately.

All the museum’s activities, including exhibitions, education and conservation are paid for by self-generated income (entrance fees, shop sales, the restaurant, fundraising, sponsorship and bequests). All acquisitions are funded by third parties.

The museum’s self-generated income since its privatisation:

2006 – €6.3 million
2007 – €7.2 million
2008 – €5.1 million
2009 – €8.0 million
2010 – €8.4 million
2011 – €6.0 million

The museum itself generates an average of €6.8 million per annum.

This amount funds the museum’s activities and acquisitions. The museum’s own cost coverage percentage was 38% in 2011, one of the highest percentages of any museum in the Netherlands (the national average is 17.5%). This means that the museum contributes 38% towards its own costs (which are raised via third parties) and 62% is covered by municipal subsidies (which cover rent, fixed costs and 89% of wages). Compared against 2010 the museum’s own income has fallen by €2.4 million, a 9% decrease compared with the cost coverage ratio that was achieved over the previous year. This can be ascribed to the poor state of the economy. It also shows that cultural entrepreneurship offers little relief in the face of government cutbacks.

A large proportion of the museum’s income consists of special purpose subsidies for acquisitions and research (including the BankGiro Lottery, SNS Reaal Fonds, VSBfonds, Mondriaan Fund, Vereniging Rembrandt, Fonds W. van Rede) and project subsidies for exhibitions and websites (Volkskracht Foundation, Prince Bernhard Culture Fund, Elise Mathilde Fund, KF Hein Fund, VSBfonds, the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, European subsidies), as well as for educational projects (VSBfonds, SNS Reaal Fund, Turing Foundation, Mondriaan Fund).

10. Creative industries in Rotterdam

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen stimulates Rotterdam’s creative industry to the tune of €3 to 5 million per year via self-generated funds.

The museum draws upon a ‘flexible pool’ of designers, printers and technicians for the installation of its exhibitions and employs the services of conservators, photographers, freelance researchers, tour guides, fine art shipping companies, insurers, designers, filmmakers, actors, translators, caterers, construction firms, etc. These include hundreds of individual freelancers and small- and medium-sized enterprises, many of them based in Rotterdam and the immediate surroundings. Through orders amounting to between €3 and 5 million per year, the museum supplies a steady stream of income to this group of creative industries in Rotterdam.

As the largest museum in Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen provides support for countless creative initiatives and institutions in the city. These include partnerships (with the Museumpark, Boijmans TV in association with Ro Theater and RTV Rijnmond), educational networks (with SKVR arts and culture courses, Villa Zebra and Rotterdam University, Museum Night, the World of Witte de With Festival, etc.) and serving on various committees. Loans from the collection to other museums in the city are provided free of handling costs. We have entered into an educational agreement with the Chabot Museum, so that a proportion of the schoolchildren who use the free Turing bus service can also visit the Chabot Museum.

11. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and Rotterdam’s business community

50 Rotterdam-based businesses support the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Foundation with a fixed contribution of €2,500 per annum. Several Rotterdam-based firms (Ploum Lodder Princen, Rabobank Rotterdam, the Port of Rotterdam, PriceWaterhouseCoopers) support the museum’s activities over a number of years with services and resources to the value of €25,000 per annum. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen participates in a network of companies and maintains contacts with the the Erasmus University, Erasmus Medical Centre and Rotterdam University, as well as with major collectors, from Rotterdam or otherwise associated with the city. The museum’s patron organisations include representatives and directors of companies such as ABN-AMRO Bank Rotterdam, Robeco, Unilever, Dura Vermeer, the Van der Vorm family, Ploum Lodder Princen and the Van Beuningen family.

In the same way Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has been a solid and respected asset for these Rotterdam-based companies, sometimes going back generations, the museum also serves as a magnet for new companies and their employees, an important factor in their decision to settle in Rotterdam.

12. Conclusion: the museum’s value to the city

Through its collections, activities and knowledge, the museum provides challenging and meaningful experiences to 300,000 individual visitors and many more via the web and other media. And that is what it is all about. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen also functions as a meeting place and unifying element for the urban community, somewhere many Rotterdam citizens – young and old, from north and south, rich and poor – come together and can be inspired and excited by what previous and current generations have achieved. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is now 11 generations old, and the 12th and 13th generations are already actively making the museum their own.

14. The future: towards a new Collections Building

With the construction of a new building to house the museum's collection, as was recently decreed by Rotterdam’s Municipal Executive, the city is meeting its obligations to safeguard its own cultural heritage, as well as the heritage that has been entrusted to it.

The Collections Building will solve the depot problems for the next 30 years.

The Collections Building is the most innovative, efficient and economical solution for a depot situation that has been a serious risk factor for years.

The Collections Building will establish ties between (large) private collectors and Rotterdam, as well as a magnet for collections from elsewhere in the Netherlands and neighbouring countries.

The Collections Building is a one-off investment, an economic injection of €40 million that will also provide permanent jobs for 10 members of staff and work for about 50 suppliers from the museum’s flexible pool.

The Collections Building, which will be realised in the museum’s vicinity, adds another landmark building to the Rotterdam cityscape.

The Collections Building is a fine example of Rotterdam’s innovative drive.

The Collections Building will be open to the public, whether Rotterdam citizens or visitors to the city.

15. In conclusion

Even though no inflation correction has been applied to the museum’s municipal subsidy for the last two years, the Municipal Council recently announced its plans to permanently cut the budget by €835,000 with effect from 2013.

The museum is, of course, aware of the difficult situation in which the Municipal Council finds itself, yet it is only appropriate to note that this cut in subsidy will have far-reaching consequences for the museum’s effectiveness and continuity, and thus for the contribution the museum makes to Rotterdam’s quality of life and allure.

We will endeavour to absorb this loss of subsidy by cutting costs across the board, by working even more efficiently and by further increasing the museum’s self-generated income. The artistic life of Rotterdam and the city’s worldwide reputation as such a remarkable hub for art and culture will, however, suffer noticeably as a result.

Sjarel Ex
May 2012

Please download the leaflet with a summary of the results of 2010 here.