Announcing the opening date + rehousing the collection

Favicon for Media kit: Start inhuizing collectie Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen | Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Newsroom

>> Rehousing the collection has begun: 151,000 artefacts are being transferred to the depot

>> Depot opens its doors on 6 November 2021 

>> Over the next five months: transportation, arrangement, training, restaurant and fine-tuning 

Over the next three months, approximately 151,000 artefacts will be transported from five external storage facilities to the new Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and installed in their new home. The rehousing on an unprecedented scale of all these works – the result of ‘172 years of collecting from across seven centuries of paintings, drawings, sculptures, design objects and other artistic items’ – has begun. The doors of the world’s first publicly accessible art depot are set to open in five months from now, on Saturday, 6 November. Through until the opening, work will continue apace on the arrangement of the display cases and presentation spaces, the completion of the restaurant and staff training. 


For almost four months and for five days per week, lorries will be driving to the new depot from external storage facilities in the Netherlands and beyond. A total of 216 journeys with 22 cubic metres of cargo will be undertaken to convey the 151,000 artworks (a total volume of 4,500 cubic metres, including 20% as packing material). While certain works will occupy a whole lorry, others (e.g. prints and drawings in boxes) can be transported by the thousands. 


The 3D measurement of all the objects began two years prior to the rehousing operation, to make sure that they fit into all the new racks and shelves. All the objects can immediately be positioned in a predetermined spot in the new depot, as the shelves and racks have already been tailored accordingly. All the objects have been given a label with a colour code, based on the material (whether glass, ceramic, textile, wood, metal or plastic) and format. There are 14 colours in all, corresponding to the 14 storage compartments in the depot. On the arrival of a lorry, the compartment where its cargo of art belongs is immediately obvious as it is unloaded. Artefacts that are similar are handled in the same way, so a lorry is always filled with a particular colour. 

The Boijmans collection

The collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is composed of more than 151,000 artefacts, of which 88,000 are prints and drawings. The remaining 63,000 or so objects include paintings, photos, films, industrial design and applied arts, contemporary art installations and sculptures. Like the majority of museums around the world, Boijmans can display just 6 to 10% of its holdings in its galleries. With Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen the museum has managed to kill several birds with one stone. The entire collection can from now on be accessed by everyone and viewed at a single location, the Museumpark, adding significantly to the allure of this location in central Rotterdam.

A collaborative effort

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen is a collaboration between Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the Municipality of Rotterdam and the De Verre Bergen Foundation. The depot was designed by Rotterdam-based architecture firm MVRDV and constructed by BAM Bouw en Techniek. When the depot opens its door to the public on 6 November 2021, visitors can immerse themselves in the behind-the-scenes world of a museum.

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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