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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 with an expected opening in 2026. 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 for the renovation is 223.5 million euros. This includes construction costs, organisational costs, financing costs, additional costs and price increases until the end of the renovation, etc. As owner of the building, the municipality is paying the lion’s share of the renovation and rebuilding costs (168.5 million euros). This amount also includes the municiplaity’s organisational costs, ongoing management costs, the renovation of the G.J. de Jong monument, etc. External funding is being sought for 55 million euros. The municipality has drawn up a financing scheme so that the investment can be incorporated into the long-term budget. Talks are also underway with central government, the province, charities and philanthropists.
  5. What is the schedule?
    Based on its vision of the museum of the future, the museum and the municipality have compiled a functional brief that lists the building’s museological requirements. This functional brief was then translated into a technical brief. These two documents, together with the vision, form the starting point for the renovation and are the sources from which the appointed architecture practice will draw inspiration for its design. The architect and technical advisers were contracted through a EU-approved tender procedure. The appointed architecture practice, Mecanoo, is preparing a structural design that will be submitted to the city council in the summer of 2020 together with a financing proposal. The city council will decide whether the renovation will be carried out in a more or less ambitious form. After this, Mecanoo will prepare the preliminary design, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. Asbestos removal will start in the summer of 2020 and will take around a year to complete. concurrently, the preliminary design for the renovation will be elaborated into a final design and detailed specification. After this, contractors will be selected via the EU-approved tender process. Construction is expected to start after the summer of 2022 and will be completed in 2025. This will be followed by the fit-out period, after which the museum opens its doors to the public. The aim is to open at Easter 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 could not continue in its current state because of, among other things, asbestos, flooding and fire safety. The building, which is listed as a national monument, no longer meets today’s functional and technical requirements. The asbestos in the museum has created a maintenance problem that can no longer be ignored. Outdated electrical and climate-control systems also meant that keeping the building open could no longer be justified, and the building was consequently ordered to close by order of the proper authorities.
    The decision to build Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen was taken because the storage facilities within the museum were outdated, overcrowded and unsafe. These problems could not be solved within the museum building itself, so an external storage facility would have been required even after renovating the museum building.
  8. Which contractor will carry out the renovation?
    That is not known yet. We cannot select a contractor until the design for the renovated museum is finalised. A technical specification will then be drawn up, on the basis of which contractors can submit a tender. As with the selection of the architect, this will be done via the EU-approved tender process. We expect this to take place in 2022.
  9. Is the Van der Steur wing a national monument and what does this mean for the renovation?
    The museum building designed by Ad van der Steur is a national monument, which means that it is protected by the State because of its national, cultural and historical value. Maintenance and restoration of a national monument must be undertaken in accordance with heritage and environment legislation and in consultation with (and under the supervision of) the Cultural Heritage Agency and Rotterdam’s Office of Monuments and Cultural History. This means that the government requires the work to be carried out only by those with the required qualifications, knowledge and experience.
  10. How has the building got into such a poor condition?
    Preparations for a large-scale renovation of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen began in 2016. In the years prior to this, routine maintenance was undertaken but the choice was made not to tackle it on a large scale. There has been regular but very limited maintenance due to the presence of asbestos. By postponing the asbestos removal, the building’s condition has deteriorated significantly.

Asbestos abatement

  1. Is there asbestos in the buildings? 
    Asbestos is present in the Van der Steur building and in the Bodon building. The asbestos will be carefully removed in order to preserve the monumental parts. For asbestos is located mostly in the air ducts of the ventilation and heating systems. In the Van der Steur building, these are located behind the monumental wall panelling.
  2. In which parts of the building will asbestos remain?
    In those parts where the building would suffer too much damage by removing the asbestos and where it poses no health risks. We are working on the principle of creating an asbestos-safe environment.
  3. How long will the asbestos removal take? Is it possible that the process could be delayed without affecting the schedule for the renovation?
    The asbestos removal will commence in the autumn of 2020, following tests carried out earlier this year. The removal will take more than a year, taking into account some delay for unforeseen issues. There is a year between the end of the removal and the start of the renovation.
  4. Are there any health risks for local residents?
    There are no health risks involved. The asbestos removal will be carried out in accordance with legal standards and regulations.


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  1. Who is the architect?
    A competition was held to select an architect. At the end of 2019, the selection committee selected three architects. On 21 February 2020, the Delft-based architecture firm Mecanoo was selected to create the design for the large-scale renovation and modernisation of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The museum is delighted with the choice of Mecanoo, whose design team led by Francine Houben will develop the design in consultation with the museum and the municipality. The sketch design is expected to be submitted to the Board of Directors in June 2020 and subsequently to the City Council.
  2. What does the design look like?
    That is not yet known, but on Thursday 4 June 2020 Francine Houben of the architecture firm Mecanoo presented her vision for the renovation of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen to a committee meeting of Rotterdam City Council. Mecanoo is now preparing a structural design that will be submitted to the City Council in October 2020 together with a financing proposal. The City Council will decide whether the renovation of the museum will be carried out in a more or less ambitious form. Mecanoo will then draft the preliminary design, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, followed by the final design in 2021.
  3. Will the 2003 extension be demolished during the renovation?
    The museum renovation will is based on the brief, translated into a sketch design, in which it will become clear to what extent the existing buildings must be adapted to realise the desired relationships to the surroundings and to accommodate the museum functions and the renewed technical systems. In Mecanoo’s vision, the 2003 extension by Robbrecht & Daem will be demolished and the Van Beuningen Pavilion by Hubert-Jan Henket will be disassembled and rebuilt elsewhere.
  4. Will the building be extended?
    The museum’s ambition is to be a properly functional museum with a clear visible profile. The museum’s extensions and renovations over the years have added new features and amenities to the museum, but have not been able to solve all of the complex’s functional and logistical problems. The museum’s existing structural problems and technical shortcomings can be solved only through a major renovation. It is only now that the brief has been incorporated into a sketch design that we are able to conclude that major rebuilding is required.
  5. Will there be a new entrance in the Museumpark?
    Part of Mecanoo’s vision is to strengthen and improve connections with both the city and the Museumpark. This will be achieved by opening up the museum garden and creating an entrance in the Museumpark next to the main entrance on Museumparkstraat. The transparency of the sightlines and the space created by the relocation of the Van Beuningen Pavilion will also clarify the museum’s relationship with the Museumpark.


  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.


  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?
    Old masters such as Pieter Bruegel, Rembrandt and Hieronymus Bosch and a selection of modern masters including Edgar Degas, Pyke Koch, Claude Monet and Charley Toorop were on display in the museum until 26 May 2019. Masterpieces by modern masters such as Kees van Dongen, Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian and Vincent van Gogh, and old masters such as Pieter de Hooch, Gerard Dou, Jan Steen and Willem van de Velde, as well as objects from the design and sculpture collection are included in exhibitions as part of Boijmans Next Door at the Chabot Museum, Museum Rotterdam, the Maritime Museum and the Tax and Customs Museum. Sculptures by Aristide Maillol and Thomas Schütte, among others, are on display at the Erasmus Medical Center. Because this is not a museum environment, it was decided to lend works that are less sensitive to climate fluctuations. From 2021, a selection of masterpieces will be on display at institutions abroad. These exhibitions will be announced in due course. When Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen opens in the autumn of 2021, all the other works in the museum’s collection will be displayed there 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 @ Hillevliet

  1. ‘Boijmans in Rotterdam Zuid’ --- why did this not work out?
    Unfortunately, this plan could not go ahead because we could not be assured of guarantees.
  2. Wat is the alternative for Boijmans in Rotterdam Zuid?
    A classroom in the old Technical School at Hillevliet 90 in Hillesluis, Feijenoord.
  3. What does the new location in Rotterdam Zuid costand who will pay for it?
    A large part will come from Boijmans’ regular budget and from various funding bodies.
  4. Has the programming for Hillevliet been decided?
    We are currently working on three programme lines that will start in the autumn of 2020. The Cosmopolitan (1) programme will explore stories from different parts of the city and the world, using works from the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen as collection as a binding agent and as conversation pieces. This programme will be conducted with a small group of young people, who will work towards devising a Parlour Game (2). In the Extended Learning programme, local primary-school pupils will undertake a journey of discovery into the world of art and culture together with professional artists and museum docents, while simultaneously getting to know their own neighbourhood better. The Talent Development programme (3) is an interdisciplinary art programme in which we give emerging young makers a platform and bring communities together.
  5. Are works from the collection on display in Hillevliet?
    Not at the moment, but we aren’t ruling out the possibility that works will be shown there in the long term. Local artists have been invited to make wall paintings in the Boijmans classroom in Hillevliet.
  6. How long will Boijmans stay at this location?
    The first phase of Boijmans Hillevliet is until the end of 2020. Our intention is to continue the project after this date.
  7. Is this location open to the public?
    Boijmans Hillevliet began modestly in a classroom in the school, which functions as a listening post, a place to eat, talk and work together. From February 2020, some members of the museum staff were there at least every Thursday until the coronavirus measures were introduced. From the beginning of June 2020, there will again be a group of employees present every Thursday. Everyone is free to drop by and share their stories. Boijmans is actively making connections with local organisations, institutions and members of the local community.
  8. Why is Boijmans doing this?
    During the transit period it is important for Boijmans to work together with partners on a programme that shows what kind of museum we want to be in the future and how we relate to the city. There are fewer cultural institutions in Rotterdam Zuid. Rotterdam Zuid is also part of the city, which is why it is important for us to work on location there. We want to work on a programme for all Rotterdammers.

Boijmans in the Classroom

  1. 1. When did Boijmans in the Classroom start?
    Boijmans in the Classroom started in the 2019-20 school year and will be continued in 2020-21.
  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.
  3. Which schools are taking part?
    Many schools in the Rotterdam-Rijnmond region.
  4. How many schools/pupils participate each year?
    We don’t have these figures yet.

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?
    In 2019, Kunsthal Rotterdam showed selections from the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in three different exhibitions. The Chabot Museum has devoted two exhibitions to the Boijmans collection. All the other venues are hosting one exhibition. That makes eleven exhibitions in total.
  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 – 22 March 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 Means Everything (2 June – 29 November 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 (4 September 2020 - 9 January 2022)
    - Museum Rotterdam | Rotterdam's Studio Secrets (14 December 2019 – 19 April 2020)
    - Maritime Museum | Maritime Masterpieces (12 February 2021 – 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.

Boijmans Abroad

  1. When and where can Boijmans’ collection be seen abroad?
    The next exhibition to be shown abroad is ‘Dalí and the Surrealists: Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen at the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand, from 5 December 2019 to 25 April 2021. It features 180 highlights from the collection by forty Surrealist artists and will introduce Surrealism to a broad audience. After New Zealand, a changing selection of works from the exhibition is expected to tour to museums around the world.
  2. Why is Boijmans showing the collection abroad?
    "Dalí and the Surrealists" is not the first exhibition in the Boijmans Abroad programme. In 2018-19 a large exhibition of Surrealist works from the museum’s collection was shown in Northern Italy. In 2017, the exhibition ‘Bruege's “The Tower of Babel” and Great 16th-Century Masters opened at the Metropolitan Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan.
    In addition, approximately 400 artworks from the collection are loaned to exhibitions arund the world each year.