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21 December 2018

Rotterdam City Council Makes its Decision: Museum of the Future

On 20 December 2018 Rotterdam City Council decided on an ambitious renovation of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. ‘This is an investment that Rotterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s magnificent collection deserve,’ said Said Kasmi, lead councillor for Culture.

An overwhelming majority of Rotterdam city councillors (38 out of 45) voted in favour of the ‘ambitious scenario’, which will see the renovation and modernisation of the museum over a period of seven years at a cost of €223.5 million. An amendment carried unanimously allows for a ‘go or no go’ decision after the building plan has been worked out in detail.

Thanks to this decision, and with the aid of external investors, the museum will be able to restore its present buildings to their former glory, satisfy current requirements and expand its international position as a museum of art. ‘This is an investment that Rotterdam and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s magnificent collection deserve. It will give the city a regenerated top-quality museum which will attract many more visitors,’ said Said Kasmi, lead councillor for Culture.

Rotterdam City Council’s decision is ‘a magnificent gift for the city of Rotterdam and everyone who cherishes the incredibly rich art collection. We are extremely happy that the collection is secure and will again be accommodated in an unusually beautiful home. The ability to be join the city in building on this ambitious renovation scenario means that the museum will again be one of the finest in the world,’ said museum director Sjarel Ex.


The refurbishment and modernisation is expected to take seven years and will begin in the summer of 2019, immediately after the monumental building in Museumpark closes. Asbestos removal is expected to take a year. Meanwhile, we are starting the process of selecting the architects and the Schedule of Requirements that will form the basis of the provisional design is being drawn up. While the rebuilding works are going on, the collection will continue to be seen in institutions in the Netherlands and around the world, and from 2021 in its full glory in the Boijmans Van Beuningen Depot, the world’s first publicly accessible art storage facility.

Overdue Maintenance

The museum building has been in dire need of a makeover for years and can no longer function in its present state due to the presence of asbestos, the risk of flooding and the lack of fire resistance. In November 2018, the Rotterdam Council for Art & Culture voted in favour of the ambitious scenario. The Mayor and the Executive Board agreed to the same proposal as the Council. It categorically opted for a programme of renovation that goes beyond the necessary clean-ups; Rotterdam has chosen a sustainable and future-proof museum. Focusing on accessibility and the improvement of the visitor experience, new open foyers and reception areas will be built to improve the link between the museum and the surrounding area. A modern museum shop and good catering facilities will be included and there will be more space in which to stage large exhibitions. With an up-to-date building, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will be able to face the future and continue to build on its world-wide reputation as a trend-setting institution.

Last Chance: Permanent Collection

The sixty rooms in the iconic Van der Steur Building, the famous brick-built museum wing on the right, which was built eighty-five years ago, will close on 14 January 2019. The removal of the museum’s permanent collection will commence in mid-January. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s exhibition wing will remain open until 26 May. The museum has decided to stage a Bauhaus exhibition in this building, with a selection of highlights from the collection and an exhibition devoted to the Rotterdam-based artist Co Westerik (1924-2018).

The collection of Sjarel Ex

Transit Boijmans Van Beuningen

In 2019 the museum will embark on the essential renovation programme. During this Transit period, the museum will present its world-class collection in other locations in Rotterdam and around the world.  This will take effect on 27 May 2019 after the museum building closes for the renovation. The museum has struck up partnerships with eight neighbouring venues in the city for the project ‘Boijmans Next Door’. Wide-ranging selections from the collection will remain visible in eleven surprising exhibitions. In addition, Boijmans will also be operating abroad, with travelling exhibitions. From the beginning of the 2019 school year, schoolchildren in Rotterdam will get to spend time with real works of art from the collection in the project ‘Boijmans in the Classroom’. Meanwhile the construction of the Boijmans Van Beuningen Depot progresses. This art depot, the first in the world to offer public access, which will house and safeguard the 154,000 artworks in the museum’s collection, will open in late 2020 or early 2021.