Stay engaged with Rotterdam art museums during lockdown

As we pass the two-month mark of the hard lockdown in The Netherlands, many of us are longing for the days when we could visit our local museums and bask in all that they have to offer. Unfortunately, with the lockdown set to last until at least 2nd March, these offerings seem but a distant memory. While we may not be returning to museums in-person in the immediate future, some of Rotterdam’s museums are offering online services to please their art-hungry patrons. Check out the following museums’ virtual programs to satisfy your art craving during the current lockdown.

Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum

The Boijmans Museum’s online collection boasts 42,000 digitized objects for your viewing pleasure. Their website offers detailed entries for each artwork, which include an image of the work complete with a zoom function, a short description giving context, as well as details of the work’s size, medium, exhibition history, and so on. Every entry features an “Ask Anything” button which, when pressed, will open a chat box with a representative from the museum. High resolution images of the artworks can be requested, but a fee is attached. Some entries include additional features, such as links to music videos inspired by the artwork and even a “discovery” tool for exploring details of the work in greater depth.

The Boijmans’ online collection is the perfect tool for exploring the artworks that remain behind closed doors during lockdown. Furthermore, all artwork descriptions are accompanied by a “Read Aloud” button, making this resource accessible to the vision-impaired.


Rotterdam’s Kunsthal is offering monthly online activities, ranging from children’s workshops to masterclasses taught by artists. The next activity will be a children’s event and will take place on Friday, 26th February.  A poet will recite a poem while an illustrator draws spontaneously in response. Children (and their parents) are invited to watch, listen, and draw along. Those interested up can sign up for the Facebook Live event. The event will be in Dutch.

You can also tune in to the museum’s new podcast, PETCAST, which accompanies the exhibit We Are Animals that was supposed to open this February. The podcast explores our own cultural relationship with animals, from love, to fear, to age old fables. Check out the PETCAST page for information on where to stream. The podcast is in Dutch.

Kunstinstituut Melly  (formerly Witte de With)

Kunstinstuut Melly has recently launched Melly TV, a television series exploring the institution’s transformation in light of their recent name change, featuring commissioned artworks, interviews with community members, and roundtable discussions with museum faculty, artists, and organizers. So far, three episodes have aired, each of which focuses on a central theme related to museum accountability in response to mounting calls for social equity in the art world. This quality production can be streamed online or viewed on television channels 36 (Ziggo), 1349 (KPN, Telfort), or 67+ (800 MHz). The show is presented in Dutch with English subtitles.    Julia Pompilius   23rd February 2021