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FAQs about the renovation

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is undertaking a major renovation and modernisation programme. The collection will remain visible in exhibitions at fellow museums in the Netherlands and abroad, and from 2021 in Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. This page provides answers to frequently asked questions.

Do you have any questions about the renovation and modernisation of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and the museum’s activities during this period? We have answered some of the most frequently asked questions below. If your question is not included here, please contact info@boijmans.nl.

Renovation and costs

  1. How long will the museum be closed?
    We estimate that the museum will be closed for seven years for extensive and radical renovations and modernisation. The building will be closed for this period, but the collection can be seen in many other places in the city and further afield.
  2. So the collection won’t be visible for several years?
    The museum’s programme continues and part of its famous collection will remain visible in eleven exhibitions and in school classrooms throughout Rotterdam. From 2021, the collection will be displayed at Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. Selections from the collection will also travel to leading museums around the world.
  3. What will the rebuilding works cost?
    The renovations and rebuilding will cost 168,5 million euros for the basic scenario and 223.5 million euros for the more ambitious scenario. Rotterdam City Council decided on 20 December 2018 to seek external funding for the more ambitious scenario. The aim is to create a future-proof and sustainable building that meets all contemporary requirements, can welcome more visitors and is more attractive for Rotterdammers and tourists. The building, which is a national monument, is in dire need of renovation, which will start in 2019 and taken seven years to complete.
  4. Who is paying for the rebuilding?
    The total estimated cost of the renovation is 223.5 million euros. This takes into account the construction costs, additional costs, financing costs, price increases until the end of the renovation, organisational costs, etc. As the owner of the building, the City of Rotterdam is paying 168.5 million euros. External funding is being sought for the remaining 55 million euros. The city council has chosen the most ambitious renovation option, and the municipality and the museum are confident that they can enthuse other parties to make a contribution to the renovation and rebuilding.
  5. What is the schedule?
    The renovation will take approximately seven years. The museum closed to the public on 27 May. The first stage is the removal of asbestos from the building. The renovation and rebuilding work will then be undertaken, followed by a period of aftercare, calibration of the climate-control systems and reinstalling the artworks. The museum is expected to re-open in the first quarter of 2026.
  6. Why are you building a new Depot when the museum building is being upgraded?
    The impetus to build the Depot at the time was the fact that the storage facilities in the museum were to small, unsafe and obsolete. This problem could not be solved within the museum building itself but only through the creation of an external storage facility. Even with the renovation of the museum building, an external storage facility would still be required. A substantial financial donation from the De Verre Bergen Foundation has made it possible to build the striking new Depot, which is currently under construction in the Museumpark. The alternative would have been a storage facility on the outskirts of the city that would not be accessible to the public. Another important factor was to use the Depot to give a boost to the Museumpark and all the cultural institutions that border it. Similar to the Museumplein in Amsterdam, the Museum Island in Berlin and clusters of cultural institutions in other large cities, Rotterdam is also creating an attractive group of museums, each of which can potentially enhance the others.
  7. Why is Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen being renovated during the construction of the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen?
    The museum building has been in need of maintenance for years and cannot continue in its current state due to factors such as the presence of asbestos, flooding and insufficient fire safety standards. It is no longer viable technically and functionally. The presence of asbestos in the building has created a maintenance situation that can no longer be ignored. Together with the outdated electrical and climate-control systems, it is no longer responsible to keep the building open.
    The impetus to build the Depot at the time was the fact that the storage facilities in the museum were too small, unsafe and obsolete. This problem could not be solved within the museum building itself but only through the creation of an external storage facility. Even with the renovation of the museum building, an external storage facility would still be required.
  8. Which contractor will carry out the renovation?
    That is not yet known.
  9. Is the Van der Steur wing a national monument and what does this mean for the renovation?
    The building by Ad van der Steur is a national monument. These are buildings or other structures that are protected by the State because of their cultural or historical value. The maintenance and restoration of national monuments is subject to strict laws and regulations. Maintenance and rebuilding takes place in consultation with and under the supervision of the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and the City of Rotterdam’s Department of Monuments and Cultural History. This means that the State places demands on the quality of the work that is carried out and on the knowledge and experience of the parties involved.
  10. Is there asbestos in the buildings?
    The Van der Steur and Bodon buildings contain asbestos, which will be carefully removed while preserving the building’s monumental elements.
  11. How has the building got into such a poor condition?
    The building no longer complies with the laws and regulations because of the presence of asbestos and the fact that the air ducts are not compartmentalised. To ensure the safety of those using the building, asbestos levels have been measure twice a year. While these measurements did not cause concern, the renovation can no longer be delayed.
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Design

  1. What does the design look like?
    The design has not yet been decided upon. Before the design can be developed, the architect has to be selected. The City of Rotterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (MBVB) will select the best architect to design the ambitious renovation and rebuilding of MBVB after the building has been rid of asbestos. The notification of the selection procedure was published on TenderNed on 21 May 2109. The brief is to design a high-quality restoration and renovation of the museum complex with the retention of the building’s monumental elements. A committee of experts will select the architect.
  2. When will the architect be announced?
    The notification of the selection procedure was published on TenderNed on 21 May 2109. It is anticipated that three architects will be selected in August 2019. This will be followed by a dialogue between the chosen architects and a team of experts. We expect to be able to announce the architect at the beginning of 2020.
  3. Will the extension built in 2003 be removed as part of the renovation?
    The renovation of the museum will be based on the brief, which is still in development. Only when the brief has been translated into a sketch design will it be clear to what extent the existing building needs to be modified to achieve the desired relationship to the environment and to accommodate the museum functions and updated technical systems.

Communications

  1. What about people who turn up at your door unaware that the museum is closed?
    We are making every attempt to inform potential visitors through regular communications about the renovation and the interim programming. If, despite these efforts, visitors turn up at the Museumpark, they will find information about the exhibitions happening in neighbouring museums and cultural institutions.
  2. How many works were displayed in the museum?
    Approximately 4500, including site-specific works.
  3. Will the collection remain visible for the coming seven years?
    While the museum is closed, selections from the collection will be displayed at other locations in Rotterdam and further afield. The museum’s programme continues under the title Boijmans in Transit, and part of the museum’s world-famous collection will be shown in eleven exhibitions at eight neighbouring institutions and in schools in Rotterdam. Plans for other locations are also being developed. From 2021, the collection will be displayed at Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. Selections from the collection will also travel to leading museums around the world.
  4. Can we still register for the existing education programme?
    At the beginning of the 2019-20 school year, we are launching project Boijmans in the Classroom, in which we will visit schools with artworks from the collection. Pupils will study the artworks and learn about the artist’s ideas and the period in which the works were made. Boijmans will visit schools in the Rotterdam area with a diverse selection of artworks. Additionally, schools can visit the exhibitions that are part of the programme Boijmans Next Door. You can find details of all our educational programmes on the museum’s website.
Foto: Aad Hoogendoorn.
Foto: Aad Hoogendoorn.

Collection

  1. How many works are in the collection?
    The museum owns 151,000 artworks, of which approximately 70,000 are works on paper.
  2. What will happen to the collection?
    Most of the collection will be stored temporarily in external storage facilities. Some works will be loaned to other institutions, others will be taken into schools as part of the Boijmans in the Classroom programme, a selection of works will be exhibited at eight neighbouring institutions under the title Boijmans Next Door, and part of the collection will travel abroad.
  3. Will the sculpture garden remain accessible? And, if not, why?
    The sculptures will be removed from the garden because some of them require restoration and others need to be protected from the building works.
  4. Where will paintings by ‘big-name artists’ such as Bosch, Bruegel, Dalí, Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Monet, Rembrandt, Rothko and Warhol be shown in the coming years?
    Major works by modern artists such as Kees van Dongen, Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian and Vincent van Gogh and Old Master paintings by Pieter de Hooch, Gerard Dou, Jan Steen and Willem van de Velde as well as sculptures and design objects from the collection will be shown in the exhibitions that are part of Boijmans Next Door at the Chabot Museum, Museum Rotterdam, the Maritime Museum and the Tax and Customs Museum. Sculptures by Aristide Maillol, Thomas Schütte and others are being loaned to the Erasmus Medical Center. Because this building does not have museum-standard climate control, we are loaning works that are less sensitive to atmospheric fluctuations. The Mark Rothko painting is currently on loan to the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam (until January 2020) in a special exhibition in which visitors can spend time alone with the painting. From 2021 a selection of masterpieces from the collection will be displayed at museums abroad. Details of these exhibitions will be made available in due course. When the Depot opens, all other works will be displayed there in exhibitions and special displays until the museum reopens.
  5. What is happening to the following site-specific artworks and installations?
    • Apollo’ football cage by Olaf Nicolai in the museum’s internal courtyard: we are looking for a good place to display it.
    • Untitled (Manhole)’ by Maurizio Cattelan: it will probably be given a prime spot in the Depot. And until the Depot opens it will be stored safely in one of the external storage facilities. It is a fragile work.
    • Merry-Go-Round Coat Rack’ by Studio Wieki Somers: not yet known.
    • Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field’ by Yayoi Kusama: not yet known.
    • Let Your Hair Down’ by Pipilotti Rist: not yet known.
    • Waxing Arcs’ by Richard Serra: not yet known.

Boijmans in Rotterdam Zuid

  1. Boijmans in Rotterdam Zuid --- what is the current status of this plan?
    In the past year, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen investigated the possibilities of opening a satellite space of the museum in Rotterdam South. This was not successful. The museum now continues working on new plans at existing locations and events. In the meantime, construction of Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen – the world’s first publicly accessible art depot – continues apace and this landmark adjoining the museum is set to open in early 2021.
    Read more on this page (in Dutch).

 

 

Boijmans in the Classroom

  1. When does Boijmans in the Classroom begin?
    At the beginning of the 2019-20 school year.
  2. What exactly does the project entail?
    To keep the collection visible, familiar and alive for schoolchildren, the museum is going out into the schools. From the beginning of the 2019-20 school year, it is possible for primary and secondary schools in the Rotterdam area to book ‘Boijmans in the Classroom’. Paulo the Parrot will visit the youngest children with sculptures of animals. For older pupils we will bring seventeenth-century artefacts or Surrealist artworks. The high-quality reproduction of ‘The Tower of babel’ (made by the University of Tokyo) will also travel to schools and we also offer lessons on design and Conceptual art. The lessons will be taught in the classroom by an experienced museum docent. The pupils will study the artworks we bring with us, and each lesson will feature an active component. Details will be available on the website soon.

Boijmans Next Door

  1. Why is Boijmans’ collection being shown at neighbouring venues?
    Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is closing for a seven years for renovation and modernisation from the summer of 2019. The building therefore has to be emptied and the collection has to be moved. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen wants to keep the collection visible for its visitors and is very pleased that six fellow cultural institutions in Rotterdam, the Erasmus Medical Center and the Stedelijk Museum in Schiedam are hosting exhibitions based on the museum’s collection over a period of three years.
  2. There are eleven exhibitions at eight venues. What are the details?
    The Kunsthal Rotterdam is presenting three exhibitions in 2019 that explore different aspects of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s collection: ‘Picasso on Paper’, ‘The Dizzying Imagination of Piranesi’ and ‘Masterly’. The Chabot Museum is devoting two exhibitions to Boijmans’ collection. The other venues are hosting one exhibition each.
  3. What can be seen at each venue?
    The subjects of the exhibitions range from Picasso’s prints at the Kunsthal to seascapes at the Maritime Museum. At each of the ‘guest locations’ connections will be made between the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and that of the host venue. These encounters will provide new perspectives on the museum’s collection. The Tax and Customs Museum will connect silver items from Boijmans’ collection with objects from its own collection. The exhibition at the Wereldmuseum will bring together objects from different worlds. These exhibitions demonstrate that Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has a world-class collection that is rich and broad enough to facilitate such diverse encounters with other collections.
    List of exhibitions per venue with dates:
    - Stedelijk Museum Schiedam | Rothko & Me (16 March 2019 – 5 January 2020) 
    - Kunsthal Rotterdam | Picasso on Paper (8 February – 12 May 2019)
    - Kunsthal Rotterdam | The Dizzying Imagination of Piranesi (25 May – 1 September 2019)
    - Kunsthal Rotterdam | Masterly (7 December 2019 – 29 March 2020)
    - Chabot Museum | Branding Rotterdam (19 March – 1 September 2019)
    - Chabot Museum | Art represents Everything (February – September 2020)
    - Belasting & Douane Museum | Forged Together: Masters in Silver (16 March 2019 – 17 January 2021)
    - Erasmus MC | Human Appearances – Strength & Vulnerability (9 September 2019 – 28 May 2021)
    - Wereldmuseum | Remix Rotterdam. Boijmans x Wereldmuseum (1 October 2019 – 3 January 2021)
    - Museum Rotterdam | Studio Secrets (14 December 2019 – 19 April 2020)
    - Maritime Museum | Maritime Masterpieces (17 October 2020 – 4 September 2022)
  4. Are the exhibitions running simultaneously at the eight locations?
    No, Boijmans Next Door runs from February 2019 until 2022. The exhibitions are spread across this time period, but there will always be a Boijmans Next Door exhibition to see at more than one venue at any time.
  5. Where will the most famous works in the collection be visible?
    Some of these works will be part of exhibitions that will travel abroad. Others will be stored in closed external storage facilities, or we will use this opportunity to conduct research on them or restore them. Some of the collection’s most famous pieces will be included in Boijmans Next Door exhibitions. These include ‘Grey, Orange on Maroon No. 8’ by Mark Rothko, works by Jan Steen and prints by Pablo Picasso.
  6. Will there be a combination ticket for all the venues?
    No, because the exhibitions take place at different times over a period of three years. However, the special Museumpark combination ticket will still be available. This gives visitors entry to several institutions bordering the Museumpark for a reduced price.
  7. Schiedam isn’t in Rotterdam. So why are you showing there?
    That’s right, Schiedam is not in Rotterdam but it is only six metro stops from Boijmans. The Stedelijk Museum in Schiedam is showing works from its own collection that relate to the Rothko painting from Boijmans.
  8. What is the role of Stichting Droom & Daad in the project?
    Stichting Droom en Daad is the project’s initiator and co-funder.
  9. Why is Het Nieuwe Instituut not participating?
    Het Nieuwe Instituut has not decided to participate in the project.
  10. This project runs until 2022, but you have announced that the renovation of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will take seven years. What happens to the collection in the remaining five years?
    We expect Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen to open in 2021. This building in the Museumpark in the centre of Rotterdam will house the entire collection of 151,000 artworks. It will be the first publicly accessible art storage facility in the world. Visitors will be able to observe what happens behind the scenes in a museum.
  11. Will other venues join the Boijmans Next Door project?
    There are currently no plans for additional venues. We are working hard with these eight institutions to create an exciting long-term partnership. If other institutions come forward with other ideas for keeping the collection visible, we will certainly take them seriously. Selections from the collection will also be travelling abroad during the renovation.