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A visit to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is a journey through the history of art from the Middle Ages to the present day. Discover the museum’s world-class collection with masterpieces by Bosch, Bruegel, Van Eyck, Rubens, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Magritte and Dalí and be amazed by exquisite drawings and decorative arts including medieval pitchers and Golden Age glassware, furniture by Rietveld and contemporary design.
The museum’s extraordinary collection contains world-famous old-master paintings including ‘The Tower of Babel’ by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, ‘The Three Mary’s at the Tomb’ by Jan and Hubert van Eyck and several works by Peter Paul Rubens. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has a distinguished Surrealist collection with masterpieces such as ‘Not to be Reproduced’ by René Magritte, ‘Couple with Their Heads Full of Clouds’ by Salvador Dalí, ‘Monsieur et Madame’ by Joan Miró and ‘The Enigma of Isidore Ducasse’ by Man Ray.
The museum is indebted to private collectors for its name and its internationally renowned collection. In 1849 the lawyer F.J.O. Boijmans bequeathed his art collection to the city of Rotterdam. With the acquisition of the collection of D.G. van Beuningen in 1958 the museum gained the second part of its name. Harbour baron and collector Willem van der Vorm (1873-1957) was one of the most loyal patrons of the museum and in 1972 the Willem van der Vorm Foundation decided to give its collection of paintings by Gerard ter Borch, Gabriel Metsu and Anthony van Dyck on long-term loan to the museum. The collector and art activist Han Nefkens is an important contemporary patron of the museum and regularly acquires major works of art and design for the museum’s collection.
The museum’s monumental building opened in 1935. It was designed by the municipal architect Van der Steur specially to house the collection. The stately redbrick building contains both large galleries where art can be viewed in daylight and more intimate spaces. The building survived the bombing of the city in 1940 and has been extended several times over the years. It now provides 12,000 m2 of state-of-the-art exhibition space for art and design. To this day the building’s tower remains a beacon in the city.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s extensive collection of applied arts and design is displayed on the museum’s ground floor. The history of design is charted through thirty themes in seven galleries with objects from the Middle Ages to the present day: ranging from a seventeenth-century tulip cabinet to an Eames chair and from medieval earthenware to tableware by Hella Jongerius. This page gives you an impression of the galleries.
N.B. The objects in these displays are changed regularly or might be loaned to exhibitions in the Netherlands or abroad.
Only a fraction of the collection can currently be displayed in the museum: the majority of the 140,000 objects are housed in closed storage facilities. The museum regularly changes the permanent displays and works are loaned to exhibitions in other museums. Works from the museum’s world-renowned collection of prints and drawings can be viewed in the Print Room. With the completion of the Public Art Depot in 2018 the museum’s entire collection will be accessible to the public. The new building will also allow visitors to see works being restored and being prepared and packed for transportation.
More information is available on the blog.
Approximately 17,000 of the 145,000 art and design objects in the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen can be viewed online at collectie.boijmans.nl.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has partnered with Google to show highlights from the collection on the Art Project. The new project is intended to make culture available online to the widest possible audience.