Exactly one year ago, on 26th May, 2019, the doors of Museumpark 18 closed for an unprecedented seven years due to the upcoming renovation and the Rotterdam Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen went “in transit”. What has happened since then and what are the future plans . . .

Despite the closure, Boijmans Van Beuningen’s world-renowned art collection, consisting of more than 151,000 works of art, was “not locked”. Until March, the collection traveled to schools, institutions and museums in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and abroad. These activities will resume after COVID-19. The new Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen has been built – closed off from the outside world. An online program, B home, has been set up for new movements in current reality and to continue to draw attention to art and the city of Rotterdam.

But the Museum has not been idle. This is what it has been up to since May 2019 . . .

  • In August 2019, the last works of art left the museum and the key was returned to the Municipality of Rotterdam. The staff spread across the city and the office staff went to work in an office building at the Gedempte Zalmhaven.
  • More than 6,000 works of art and 87,000 works on paper were moved to five external depots.
  • The library (160,000 titles) and reading room will remain accessible in the Rotterdam City Archives during the renovation.
  • All 151,000 collection objects have been assigned their own future location in Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, where they will be moving from the end of 2020.
  • A series of lessons has been provided for doctors in training at the Erasmus Medical Center: “Art of looking” that encourages better learning to observe.
  • Boijmans has started Boijmans Hillevliet in the Feijenoord district; a learning and listening post in South with the aim of developing a sustainable contribution to the city.
  • Eight of the eleven exhibitions in the context of Boijmans near the Buren have so far taken place in the Kunsthal (3), Chabot Museum (2), Tax & Customs Museum, Erasmus MC, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam and Museum Rotterdam. These created special collaborations, new connections, context and knowledge. Two exhibitions at neighboring museums that would open in the spring of 2020 have been postponed.
  • The exhibition of old masters from the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in the National Gallery London, which was planned in 2021, may take place in the summer of 2023.
  • Boijmans in the Classroom, which had its international premiere in September 2019 and was already fully booked for the entire school year since December, was attended by about 3000 students in mid-March, spread across 124 classes from 28 different schools.
  • Since the closing, various works of art have been loaned to exhibitions at home and abroad, including “The Three Marys at the Tomb”, a fifteenth-century crown jewel by Jan van Eyck that was first loaned to another museum. It was shown from 1 February in the large Van Eyck exhibition in Belgium.
  • The depot has advanced over the past year, for example, most mirrors have been placed and adopted, the roof forest has been planted and the atrium has been installed.
  • The competition started in the summer of 2019, after which discussions with architects about the major renovation and renovation of the museum started. David Chipperfield Architects & WDJArchitecten, KAAN Architecten and Van Hoogevest Architecten and Mecanoo Architecten were in the race until last. Last February, an eight-member jury with representatives of the municipality, the museum, experts in architecture and monument conservation and the Chief Government Architect appointed Mecanoo Architects to carry out the project.
  • The B home program with online activities was set up to continue to pay attention to the collection, the museum, makers and creativity as long as the collection is not physically visible.

And looking forward  . . .

  • Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen will be presented empty during the Silver Opening in the last weekend of September 2020, after which the relocation of the 151,000 works of art will commence prior to the depot’s Golden Opening in the autumn of 2021.
  • In Rotterdam South, Hillevliet will reopen in early June to further shape its function as a learning and listening place.
  • In Rotterdam West (Bospolder Tussendijken) an art project on energy transition and poverty reduction is planned.
  • The famous surrealists from the museum’s collection can be seen on 1 June in the Cobra Museum in Amstelveen under the title: This is Surrealism! The Boijmans Masterpieces. These works then travel to the Museum Te Papa Tongarewa in New Zealand.
  • Boijmans at the Buren is still running. Three brand new exhibitions will be opened at Chabot Museum (June 2 under the title ‘Art proposes everything’), at the Wereldmuseum (in September under the title ‘Remix Rotterdam’) and at the Maritime Museum (in February 2021 under the title ‘Maritime Masterpieces’)
  • Boijmans in the Classroom will continue in 2020 and will provide many hundreds of lessons in the coming school year, if circumstances permit, whereby parts of the impressive art collection of the city of Rotterdam will be taken to the new generation of Rotterdammers.
  • A special museum professions program for MBO students has been set up in collaboration with Zadkine College.
  • In July, the first design sketches of the new Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen will be presented to the Rotterdam city council and the basic scenario will be presented. Later in the year, a decision will be made on the financial picture and the extent to which it will be renewed.
  • From 2021, if the developments of the corona pandemic allow it, Boijmans will participate in major international fairs and exhibitions in prestigious museums around the world. We will announce later this year to what extent this program can be continued.