Sunday, 26 May 2019, the entrance gate to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen was shut. Almost 6,000 people visited the Rotterdam art museum during the last weekend of May 2019 to say farewell. The museum is embarking on a major renovation and rebuilding programme that is expected to take seven years. During this transition the collection will remain as visible as possible in the Netherlands and abroad. In 2021 the collection will be housed in Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, the world’s first publicly accessible art depot.
Over a period of 170 years the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam has grown into a superb collection of 151,000 works of art. In 1935 the museum was established at its present location; Museumpark. Many decades and millions of visitors later the building is now worn out and ready for a full-scale renovation and refurbishment. From today the world-famous art collection will be taking up residence in the city of Rotterdam and all over the world. Eight neighbouring institutions in the city have entered into a unique partnership called Boijmans Next Door. In eleven surprising exhibitions, eclectic items from the collection will remain close to the public. Boijmans is also allowing the collection to go on tour abroad. From the start of the 2019 school year, the museum will be visiting students in their classrooms to show them real works of art. In the meantime, progress is being made on the building of Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, the world’s first publicly accessible art depot. It will open in 2021 and the 151,000 works of art will be shown and cared for there.
At the end of 2018, the city council opted for the most ambitious form of renovation and refurbishment, which means that the museum building will be rid of the risks posed by asbestos and flooding and will be made fire-resistant again. it will also be made ready for the future. The museum and Rotterdam City Council are in discussion with private individuals and private funds to achieve this. Thanks to this decision, and with the help of external investors and the Dutch government, the museum will be able to restore its current buildings to their former glory, meet current requirements again and expand its international position as an art museum.
The large-scale programme of rebuilding and renovation started in January 2019 with the closure of the Van der Steur Building and the rehousing of the art. Sunday, 26 May was the last day the Boden exhibition wing remained open. The total project is expected to last seven years. Removing the asbestos is expected to take a year. The search for an architect was started recently and the Programme of Requirements that will form the basis for the provisional design is being compiled.
Focusing on accessibility and the improvement of visitor experience, new open entrance(s) and reception areas are being built which will improve the link from the museum to the surrounding area. A modern museum shop and good catering facilities are being developed and there will be more space to stage large exhibitions. With an up-to-date museum building, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will be able to meet the future and continue to build on its national and international position as a leading institution.
The rich and multi-faceted collection grew out of the passion of 1,700 private collectors. During the almost 170 years of the museum’s existence they have gifted no fewer then 50,000 objets d’art. The collection owes its name to Frans Boijmans and Daniël George van Beuningen. Like their successors they added many stellar works. From fine art to decorative art and design. The drawings collection is one of the most important in the world. Boijmans Van Beuningen’s collection provides an overview of Netherlandish and European art, from the early Middle Ages to the twenty-first century. The collection plays host to such masterpieces as Bruegel’s ‘Tower of Babel’, Rembrandt’s ‘Titus’ and Salvador Dalí’s’ ‘Mae West Lips Sofa’.
Art lovers can be kept informed of the whereabouts of the collection by way of boijmans.nl, social media and the museum’s newsletter.