Rotterdam’s Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen - the world’s first publicly accessible art depot - will open in 2021

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The Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen will be a unique space for exploration, interaction and discovery. The Depot will be the first museum storage facility in the world to offer public access to the largest part of the 151.000 artworks from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen collection without the mediation of a curator. With the choice to enter with or without a guide, visitors will be able to watch what are usually the ‘behind the scenes’ activities of a museum, witnessing at first hand the extreme care devoted to each artwork and the attention to detail that is dedicated to responsibilities such as conservation, restoration, transportation and research. Offering unparalleled transparency into the active role that a museum carries within society, into what it is that a museum does and how a museum cares for its extraordinary holdings, the new Depot is expected to attract approximately 90,000 visitors per year.

Sjarel Ex, Director of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen: “The Depot will provide a world icon for the arts in Rotterdam. It will highlight the role of the museum as a place that does in addition to being a place that has. Visitors will gain new insights into our shared culture and heritage (and how it is cared for and maintained) through an unmediated experience of art: for the first time - here in Rotterdam - the whole of our collection will be visible to everybody.”

Located in Rotterdam’s Museumpark, next to the existing Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen building, this 39.5-metre high building with a total floor area of 15,541 metres squared is designed by Rotterdam-based architectural firm MVRDV, led by Winy Maas. The building will have a variety of climate-controlled situations tailored to art storage and visitor comfort. At its base, the building has a 40-metre-diameter footprint widening to 60 metres at the roof. The roof garden will be planted with seventy-five trees suited to high altitude and able to withstand the wind and weather conditions at a height of 35+ metres. The ambition is to achieve a BREEAM sustainability classification of ‘excellent’.


In addition to its role as the engine-room of the museum, the Depot will have a commercial role. Part of the building (1900 metres squared) can be rented as storage by private collectors, corporate collections or other museums. Those renting within the depot will be offered the same services and level of professionalism as the museum gives its own collection. Furthermore there will be a restaurant at the roof garden, ticketed events and guided tours, and a Depot shop.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Bosch, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Dalí and Dutch design: a visit to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is a journey through the history of art. Dutch and foreign masterpieces provide a comprehensive survey of art from the early Middle Ages to the present day. Masterpieces by, among many others, Monet, Mondrian and Magritte show the development of Impressionism and Modernism. The museum has one of the world’s largest collections of Surrealist art and an excellent collection of British and American Pop art with works by David Hockney, Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg. The museum is also the place for decorative arts and design: from medieval ceramics and Renaissance glass to furniture by Gerrit Rietveld and contemporary Dutch design.

Forthcoming Renovation of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

The collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam has grown over a period of 170 years into a world-class collection of 151,000 artworks. The museum moved to its current location on the Museumpark in 1935. Many decades and millions of visitors later and the building is now in need of radical renovation. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen hopes that the renovations will go ahead in their most ambitious form, restoring all current buildings to their former glory and also meeting contemporary demands and being prepared for the future.


In 2019, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will begin the process of renovations and rebuilding. This transition will take place in phases. The permanent collection will remain in its current display ‘The Collection as Time Machine’ until January 14. From 9 February - 26 May there will be three temporary exhibitions, including highlights from the Museum Van Boijmans collection; the exhibition “The Netherlands - Bauhaus: Pioneers of a New World” and a selection of the best paintings and journal entries from Dutch artist Co Westerik. From 27 May the museum building will close for renovation and the “Boijmans bij de Buren” [Boijmans Next Door] and other programmes will begin to ensure that the collection remains visible throughout this period.

A collaborative effort

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen is a collaborative project of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the City of Rotterdam and the Stichting De Verre Bergen. The depot was designed by MVRDV and constructed by BAM Bouw en Techniek.

About Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

The world-renowned art collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has over the span of 170 years expanded to more than 151,000 artefacts, which includes some 63,000 paintings, photos, films, pre-industrial design and design objects, contemporary art installations and sculptures, as well as 88,000 prints and drawings.

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