2022: A year of prosperity, continuity, but also change

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen's first year of showing the world behind the scenes of the museum has exceeded expectations. The Rotterdam institution now reflects on a lively year as it looks forward to the future.

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2022 brought together a new attraction for Rotterdam, the departure of a director, and a commitment to the museum building of the future. The year started with four weeks of lockdown, but the Depot quickly flourished with activities, research and visitors, exceeding even the highest expectations. In 2022, some 265,000 people saw behind the scenes of the museum and the working building behind it. Artworks were examined, restored, documented, photographed and presented, all against the backdrop of Rotterdam's streetscape reflected in the Depot's mirrored facade.

In addition, 'Zuid. Boijmans Van Beuningen' established itself as a lasting place for talent development and collaboration in south Rotterdam. We now look back on collaborations, presentations, research, restorations and, above all, a lively Depot full of visitors and professionals. We take pride in the growing number of individuals, companies and funding bodies that have financially supported Boijmans in 2022, and who have helped make our progress possible.

It was also a year of change, with Sjarel Ex stepping down as director in September 2022 after more than 18 years. Our new director, Ina Klaassen, is committed to continuity and a focus on the museum of the future. Boijmans is therefore aiming for a breakthrough with architects and the City of Rotterdam for a functional and multi-use museum that Rotterdam and future visitors can be proud of.

Collection on display

The Depot is a new museum building for experiencing art, and Depot presentations are not like museum exhibitions. There is less focus on art history, themes, periods and styles, but rather the stories hidden behind individual pieces.

A Depot presentation cannot be seen independently, instead it exists in conversation with the collection around it. This creates a new experience for exhibition makers and visitors alike, with a visit to the Depot acting as one big experience. Visitors can also enjoy Depot tours or simply wander through the building and see presentations, learn about restoration, or watch masterpieces moving with art handlers.


Depot presentations

·     In 2022, seven presentations were on display at the Depot: Highlights from the museum collection: a trial presentation, Drawn memories of Albert J. Elen, Paul McCarthy's Bunkhouse, Unpacking Boijmans, Piranesi on paper, and the presentation of the collection in the atrium vitrines

·     Our changing displays mean the inside of the building is constantly developing, and new objects can be seen all the time. This is how the Depot comes alive: the atrium, the vitrines and the restoration studios are always in flux, alongside screens showing different videos in the film room

·     The collection can also be seen in more places around the building. Over the course of the first year, a number of empty rooms and walls were filled with artworks and stories about the collection

·     In collaboration with Phill Procter and Studio Ossidiana, work began on new presentation objects such as plinths, vitrines and mounts. We are creating a range of presentation tools that fit the Depot building and which can be added to for years to come, in turn contributing to a more sustainable way of working

·     Family of Objects is a multi-year programme allowing visitors and staff to view the collection as one big family, encouraging everyone to create new stories together

Travelling exhibitions

·     À la campagne! French light from Maris to Monet at Fries Museum in Leeuwarden (around 70,000 visitors)

·     A Surreal Shock at Seoul Arts Center (around 60,000 visitors (during pandemic))

·     Sólo lo maravilloso es bello. Surrealismo en Diálogo at Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City (around 246,000 visitors)

·     The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel I was on display at the Hermitage in Amsterdam

·     Eight masterpieces from our collection are on long-term loan to the newly reopened KMSKA in Antwerp


Collection expanded


The Rotterdam collection is expanding with new acquisitions, including many donations in honour of Sjarel Ex's departure:

·     Grensposten (2022, 1993), a photo series by Sushan Kinoshita, donated by Hidde van Seggelen

·     Muffit (1990), a painting by Co Westerik, donated by Jan Christiaan Braun

·     Cinquante Fifty (Installation for a Parking Lot) (2000), a video installation by Pipilotti Rist, donated by Han Nefkens

·     Untitled (1989), an installation by Berend Strik, donated by the artist



The most notable acquisition was, of course, Peinture-poème (Musique, Seine, Michel, Bataille et moi) by Joan Miró. Other important purchases include 88 postcards from the I got up series by On Kawara, a booklet by Gertrude Pape, and four works by Sarkis. We also acquired two Kabra Blauw vases by Boris van Berkum that were recently inaugurated by Winti priestess Marian Markelo, one of which can be seen in the presentation Unpacking Boijmans. Prints and drawings added to the collection include a beautiful souvenir rose and drawing by Louise Charlotte de Neufville Ritter.


Collection up-close

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen sees research into its collection and its history as one of its core tasks, and visitors can view various investigations through our research presentations in the Depot. 2022 was also the first year that we worked in this new building with four restoration workshops, allowing work to be carried out in front of visitors. Such a dynamic first year is unique for a museum, especially as it has introduced a new way of working for all the employees involved.


Research projects

·     Bram Donders has been working within the Mondriaan Fund's Coronavirus scheme to research 19th-century female artists. This is part of Women in the Dutch art world 1780-1980, a collaboration with RKD, Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and UvA, with which Boijmans is affiliated

·     With funding from Bröcker, Milou Goverde continued the Boijmans study on 19th-century picture frames, due for publication in late 2023

·     An additional grant from Getty has been received for editing and translating the online catalogue of Italian drawings 1400-1600, completing the Getty Paper Project. Work continues until mid-2023, including editing and uploading 381 drawings. The catalogue can already be seen online while under construction

·     Mireille Linck published Piranesi research in an online catalogue edited by curator Peter van der Coelen, and Sandra Kisters, director of collections and research

·     Boijmans is collaborating with the government's Cultural Heritage Agency on a multi-year research programme on Dutch heritage from the 20th century. The project includes various research programmes in our restoration workshops

Restoration and conservation

·     Research into the cleaning of Yayoi Kusama's Mirror Room

·     Research into paintings by Karel Appel

·     Research into Vincent van Gogh's Poplars near Nuenen

·     Research into the degradation of glass objects

·     Restoration of Kees Timmer's Self-portrait

·     Restoration of Francesco Francia's Portrait of Pietro Cenni

·     Restoration of Italian earthenware

·     Investigation and conservation of wooden sculptures

·     Work on loans

·     The government's Cultural Heritage Agency have visited with research equipment to take X-rays, conduct pigment research, and complete technical data


Collection in the classroom: education and audience support

·     Over 62,000 visitors took part in tours of the Depot

·     Over 11,000 students took part in education programmes in the Depot, at Zuid. Boijmans Van Beuningen, and in the classroom

·     The Depot app won a Webby Award, chosen by an expert jury from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences

·     We continued our innovations in visitor accessibility with learning sessions, guided tours with interpreters, and the Boijmans met Gebaren series (Boijmans signed)

·     We launched a new group of public programmes: Family of Objects, Boijmans Backstage, Lab op Pad, art-packing workshops and more

·     After two years of pandemic, Museumnacht is back at the Depot and at Zuid. Boijmans Van Beuningen

·     School collaborations were made possible through intensive cooperation with Mytylschool De Brug, Wolfert Dalton, Dr. M Polanoschool, Mariaschool, Melanchthon Wilgenplaslaan, and Accent college Hoogvliet

·     The Boijmans team was strengthened with a new trainee curator of education, Gianni Antonia, now starting a unique training programme

·     Our front of house team received training from Sunflower Hidden Disabilities. A pin, brooch or lanyard now highlight who to turn to for visitors with hidden disabilities

Zuid. Boijmans Van Beuningen

·     Zuid. Boijmans Van Beuningen was established in 2022 as a permanent location for education, talent development and cooperation in south Rotterdam

·     Opening of the Boijmans Art Workshop by youth mayor Louey Zerourou and the youth council's climate representative Salma Omanssour

·     Three fellows conducted artistic research into the relationship between the museum and city: Pip Passchier, Alona van Rosmalen and Mar Muñoz Aparici

·     Three commissions provided space for the talented makers Pris Roos, Latischa Sparks and Priscila Fernandes

·     The 3 Question Marks, Each Inside A Frame programme invited three Rotterdam-based media artists to develop new work in relation to Boijmans' video collection

·     MBO students from Zadkine started a pilot project on learning and working in the cultural sector: Boijmans Startacademie op Zuid

·     2,025 pupils visited Zuid. Boijmans Van Beuningen

·     Museumnacht at Zuid. Boijmans Van Beuningen


Collection visitors

·     Over 270,000 visitors have made their way through the Depot

·     Museumnacht was celebrated at the Depot and at Zuid. Boijmans Van Beuningen

·     Visitors from our neighbour, Erasmus MC, included a boy toured through the Depot on his bed. He can see the Depot from his hospital room and wanted to see the Depot and special paintings up-close

·     We held an open house at the Depot for the farewell of director Sjarel Ex, an afternoon with live performances by Anne Vegter and Mehmet Polat, Ton Zwerver and Peter Somuah. The farewell ceremony was devised by visual artist Sarkis, with several artworks given as donations to the museum

·     The public relations team is always evolving, aiming to make visitors feel comfortable, welcome, and fully attended to so that they remember their visit as a pleasant experience and the Depot as a place they would like to return to

·     Kunstpakt collaborated with Dr. M Polanoschool and Wereldmuseum to develop an ongoing programme around cultural education and citizenship for students with impaired hearing


More facts and figures

·     Gault Millau awarded the Depot restaurant Renilde 15 points

·     Renilde nominated in Entree Magazine's Best New Design Restaurants 2022

·     The first wedding was held in the Depot

·     The Depot hosted an Amsterdam Fashion Week event with fashion label Francon

·     Renée Froger and Kris Kross Amsterdam performed at the Depot

·     At the Depot, Daniil Medvedev was presented as the new top tennis player of the 50th ABN AMRO Open

·     Part of the Dutch Museum Association's 2022 museum congress was held in the Depot's Coert hall

·     Following the conclusion of Boijmans Next Door, all neighbour institutions gathered for a celebration breakfast at Renilde

·     Nationaal Dakenplan gathered representatives from several Dutch municipalities in Coert hall to use the Depot's roof garden as an example of sustainable planning

·     96 events were held in the Depot

·     More than 41,595 people downloaded the Depot app

·     More than 353 Depot Christmas baubles have been sold

·     More than 1,583 Depot mugs have been sold

·     More than 6,874 postcards have been sold

·     More than 1,637 Susan Bijl bags have been sold


Awards in 2022

·     Winner of the Futureglass Prize in the World Architecture Festival awards

·     Winner of the Habitat category in the Dutch Design Awards

·     Winner of the public choice award in the Rotterdam Architectuurprijs

·     Winner of the popular choice award in the Gallery and Exhibition Spaces category in the Architizer A+ Awards

·     Winner of the Stimulating Environments category in the BNA Best Building of the Year

·     Winner of the Apps and Software, Art, Culture and Events category in the Webby Awards

·     Shortlisted in the Architecture category of the Dezeen Awards

·     Shortlisted in the Completed Buildings category of the WAF Awards

·     Finalist in the Best Cultural and Sports Infrastructure category in the MIPIM Awards

·     Renilde nominated as Best New Design Restaurant in the Entree Awards


We've collaborated with 14 institutions and groups: Feyenoord, Bijenkorf and De Bonte Koe, Codarts projectweek, ArtEZ, Pasen and De Bonte Koe, WdKA, RSZV, Krajicek Foundation, Rotterdamse Dakendagen, SSRR, De Zonnebloem, Francon – Amsterdam Fashion Week, YG Studios, and RET. More than 350 RET employees and their family members paid a free visit to the Depot as part of our collaboration



·     Zuid. Boijmans Van Beuningen was made possible by Fonds 21, Mondriaan Fund, Innovatielabs and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Zuid-Holland

·     Acquisition of Peinture poème (Musique, Seine, Michel, Bataille et moi) was made possible by Vereniging Rembrandt (thanks in part to Nationaal Fonds Kunstbezit, Dura Kunstfonds, Innorosa Fonds, Themafonds Moderne Kunst, and the annual contribution of Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds), Museaal Aankoopfonds, Mondriaan Fund, Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, VriendenLoterij, Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht, G. Ph. Verhagen-Stichting, Kring van Eyck, Boijmans Business Club and Boijmans Corporate Members, Stichting Elise Mathilde Fonds, Erasmusstichting, and various private individuals

·     Vincent van Gogh's painting Poplars near Nuenen was displayed at TEFAF after their restoration fund contributed to its restoration


·     VriendenLoterij gave €554,667 in 2022 as a fixed partner contribution plus a donation from earmarked lottery tickets

·     Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen was made possible in part by Stichting De Verre Bergen, the City of Rotterdam, VriendenLoterij, The Asahi Shimbun, Stichting Elise Mathilde Fonds, Peterson Control Union, Mr and Mrs Schoufour-Martin, KPN, Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht - in the name of Swart-van Essen, Piet van der Slikke and Sandra Swelheim, Erasmusstichting, VSBfonds, Jurgen and Carin Stegmann-Overzier, G.Ph.Verhagen-Stichting, the Verweij-Engelaer family, Nedspice, Port of Rotterdam, Bruynzeel, PwC and RSM | Audit | Tax | Consulting, and those who do not wish to be named





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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