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Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen aims to stimulate everyone’s enjoyment of art and design in its collections and exhibitions. The museum intends to provide an environment in which knowledge, beauty and innovative and controversial ideas are presented to their best advantage.
As a museum with world-renowned collections and exhibitions and international ambitions, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is working on a new role and identity in society at a local, national and international level: a relevant, active and dynamic programme based on the proven world-class quality of its collections. The staff of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen apply their knowledge, skills and energies so that every visit to the museum is an educational, stimulating and unique experience. They work to communicate their passion for art and design directly to the public.
The museum has an international profile. With its world-class collections, it has won a place among the top three art museums in the Netherlands. Our minimum aim is to maintain and reaffirm this position. The collection areas are: old masters, prints and drawings, modern and contemporary art, and the applied arts and design. These collections are made accessible to the public in an attractive manner. We undertake this with well-established, proven means as well as those afforded by the digital age.
The museum would be unable to exist without the support of Rotterdam city council. However, the museum organisation is enterprising and takes initiatives in order to avail itself of additional funds, in particular to increase its acquisitions budget. The support of collectors and donors has always been decisive in this respect. We have taken a variety of new initiatives in this area, of which the recent addition of H+F Patronage to our list of patrons is an important example.
The collections must be preserved under optimal circumstances and to this aim we have ambitious plans for a Collections Building that can be used by more parties than just the museum alone. The museum is more than just a storage place with a shop window. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is a stage within the city, but also sees the city as a stage. Museum activities can also be conducted beyond the walls of the museum building. Of course this has cost implications and can be realised only in collaboration with others. For example, since the summer of 2010, in partnership with the Port of Rotterdam, the Submarine Wharf in the RDM complex has been transformed into the largest exhibition space in the Netherlands.
The museum attempts to deliver a coherent programme. For this reason we follow the developments of individual artists and designers over a longer period. We are concerned with art and design that leaves a lasting impression. The museum opts for a broad, encyclopaedic and interdisciplinary set-up of the collections and exhibitions. Forging connections between historical, modern and contemporary art and design helps to strengthen each component. This leads to idiosyncratic displays that place the various aspects of the collection in a surprising perspective. Interventions by contemporary artists within the historical collections have proved to be an intriguing addition to our exhibitions policy. Every object within the collections has its own story and the museum wishes to make these stories available to and understandable for everybody. The art of looking is something that we all possess and it is given every opportunity to flower within the museum. With the support of the VSBfonds we have created an educational knowledge centre. It is our intention to make everybody welcome here and to allow him or her to undergo exciting experiences. On Wednesdays entry to the museum is free. This is a pragmatic interpretation of the notion of cultural participation. We have more than achieved our ambition to welcome more than 200,000 visitors in 2009. In particular we have seen a sharp rise in the number of young visitors, from all aspects of Rotterdam’s community.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen sees the financing of culture not as benevolence but as an investment that is rewarded, also in an economic sense. The museum is an attractive investment for a variety of institutions, the business community, industry, individuals and the government. For this reason, the museum continues to search for meaningful partnerships with diverse parties. The value of our collection is of great importance in this respect. We receive a constant stream of requests for loans from other museums all around the world, confirming the museum’s reputation time and time again. These valuable partnerships makes it possible for us to exchange exhibitions and to bring extraordinary works of art to Rotterdam.
In addition to collecting and organising displays and exhibitions, research is an important aspect of the museum’s activities. This research takes place largely behind closed doors, but its results must be made visible. Through a series of art-historical publications – the Boijmans Studies – the findings are made available for experts and other interested parties. The results of this research also appear in public information such as gallery texts, the digital newsletter, in multimedia guides and the stories recounted in our guided tours. Precisely because this information is made available at a variety of levels and through various media, it is essential that we work on a project basis so that information is shared within the museum and is made available to all. The digital cataloguing of the collections contributes to this and is an ideal way of keeping the public informed. The museum wishes to be accessible to all in the most adequate fashion. This requires a broadening of the palette both in the direction of the expert and the uninformed visitor. More so than every before, this is ‘a long stretch’.
The museum organisation acquires significant additional financing through its patrons and funding bodies such as the BankGiro Loterij, the Mondriaan Foundation, the Rembrandt Society, VSBfonds, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, the SNS REAAL Fonds and numerous other parties. A less successful period of fundraising leads immediately to a considerable reduction of possibilities. The museum has a realistic view of this situation and places trust in its reputation, vigour and strengths to achieve its aims every time. The museum aims in as far as is possible to be a self-earning organisation and succeeds in forging links with people who can help it achieve this aim: from friends to patrons. Commercial activities such as gallery hire, corporate entertaining, catering and the museum shop also make a contribution. Our starting point in this respect is that all revenues benefit the museum’s principle remit.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has a service-oriented and visitor-friendly approach. Our starting point is the homo ludens – the ‘playing man’ who, both as maker and viewer, is more than welcome here.