For a year, the interior of the depot has been reflecting the bustle around the care and activities of seven centuries of art. More than a quarter of a million people have visited the Rotterdam icon in the past 365 days.
On 5th November, it is exactly a year since King Willem-Alexander pressed the button that officially opened the futuristic doors of Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. The reflective depot in the centre of Rotterdam was seen throughout the world as a new type of public place; the workplace behind the exhibition room. The idea is clear: in the depot, the visitor experiences the world behind the scenes of the museum. More than 250,000 people have visited the museum since its opening. Hundreds of fellow museums from all over the world could not contain their curiosity and made a visit. And there were many collaborations with artists: Suzan Drummen, Job Wouters, Gijs Frieling, but also Pipilotti Rist, John Körmeling, Marieke van Diemen, Ton Zwerver, Sarkis, Olaf Mooij, Anne Vegter and many others.
Here to stay
Works of art have been researched, restored, revised, documented, photographed, presented – against the background of the streets of Rotterdam. Works of art have been packed and unpacked, have travelled abroad and returned home. Fashion shows have been held, but also performances, film shows and yoga on the roof. Rembrandt took the lift, Viktor&Rolf used a cherry picker. School children ran up and down the stairs and art was produced. Works of art were admired, discussed and (almost) touched. Miles of floor have been mopped and metres of glass kept sparkling. A storm raged, but the roof thicket still stands. People ate, drank and made merry. There were hellos and goodbyes. One year on, and Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen is a living building, now a permanent feature of the Rotterdam skyline.
A pick of the past year.
6 education programmes
385 visits by schools
14,063 schoolchildren dropped by
101 trucks with art visited the loading bay
55,432 objects were moved for exhibitions, treatments, outgoing loans and returning loans.
80 objects packed for travel
280 objects returned to the depot
310 donations gratefully received
161 people performed yoga on the roof of the Depot
171 RET employees and family paid a visit
1664 outdoor mirrors cleaned three times
5,677,940 square metres mopped
400,000 litres of rainwater flushed down the WCs
1129 mirrors have already been adopted
And dozens of partnerships (i.e. Susan Bijl, the Eurovision Song Festival, POP Trading Company, Dudok, Urban Department Store, Feyenoord, the Bijenkorf, Codarts Rotterdam, ArtEZ, Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam Student Sail Association, Krajicek Foundation, Dakendagen, SSRR, De Zonnenbloem, Francon, Amsterdam Fashion Week, YG Studios, RET, the Boy Scouts).
The Depot is partly made possible by Stichting De Verre Bergen, Municipality of Rotterdam, VriendenLoterij, The Asahi Shimbun, Stichting Elise Mathilde Fonds, Peterson Control Union, Mr and Mrs Schoufour-Martin, KPN, Stichting Bevordering van Volkskracht – Fund 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, Family Verweij-Engelaer, Nedspice, Port of Rotterdam, Bruynzeel, PwC and RSM | Audit | Tax | Consulting, and those who do not wish to be named.
The Depot was designed by MVRDV and built by BAM Bouw en Techniek.
Photo by and © Michael Hasted 2021