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  • Flooding in 2010

    In recent weeks and months, the monsoon-like summer storms over Rotterdam during both the day and night have flooded the museum’s cellars and depositories on four separate occasions. The heaviest rainfall fell in the night of Sunday 15 August and Monday 16 August. But things also went wrong in June, July and September. Depending on the length of the downpour, hundreds and even thousands of litres of water which could not be handled by the drainage system flooded in. There was no direct damage to the collection. But the climate control equipment was damaged and, because of the damp, the humidity percentage fluctuated more than is permitted in the museum.

  • Pipilotti Rist

    The work by Rist which Bregje refers to is the permanent installation in the stairway designed by architect Bodon entitled: Let your Hair Down. It is a large net in which visitors can lay down and watch an ever changing selection of video art from the museum’s collection.

  • From Project to Object


    The archive images that have been edited to music in this episode are from a video made specially for Museum Boijmans van Beuningen by Mike Redman in 2009: From Project to Object. The silent film on which Redman’s video is based is stored in the Rotterdam Municipal Archive.


  • Robbrecht & Daem

    In 2003, the Belgian architect duo Paul Robbrecht and Hilde Daem (Robbrecht&Daem) designed a new wing for Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. The new U-shaped building encloses the wing designed in 1972 by Alexander Bodon.

  • Ronald Cornelissen

    The Rotterdam artist Ronald Cornelissen (1960) is exhibiting four enormous sculptures in Museum Boijmans van Beuningen with the names: Limbo, The Great Wave, Gangreen and For the God of Love. Each sculpture refers to one of the horsemen of the Apocalypse - the messengers of the end of time. In addition to the four sculptures, Cornellisen is also exhibiting five photo collages and drawings. The exhibition is entitled The Horseman’s Kitchenette (When Demons Cook) and can be seen until 23 January 2011.

  • Investigation depositories

    In the framework of the privatisation of the museum, the municipality of Rotterdam instigated an investigation into the condition of the depositories. This investigation was carried out in the second half of 2005 by the company Virtuoos. In the report, all the depositories of Museum Boijmans van Beuningen were declared unfit because of the danger of flooding through excessive rainfall and the risk of the pipes running through the museum and the depositories, including those for the sewers, water mains, and climate installations, bursting. The conclusions in the report were subsequently confirmed by experts from the ICN (Institute for the Dutch Collection).

  • Van Meegeren

    In 1937, two years after the building was opened, Dirk Hannema (1895-1984) acquired the painting The Supper at Emmaus. The canvas was acclaimed as the missing link in the oeuvre of Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675). In 1945, it was revealed that the work had been made by the master forger Han van Meegeren (1889-1947). Museum Boijmans van Beuningen held an exhibition from 12 May to 22 August 2010, featuring The Fake Vermeers of Van Meegeren.

  • Later building activities

    After the Second World War, the museum started collecting modern and contemporary art. The Van der Steur building soon proved too small. In 1964, the Hungarian-Dutch architect Alexander Bodon designed a two stage expansion plan. The first stage was completed in 1972; the second stage was never implemented. Instead, in 1992 Bodon designed a book shop on the street side of his wing and a year later, Hubert-Jan Henket designed a pavilion for arts and crafts at the rear of the museum. In 2003, the Belgian architect duo Robbrecht en Daem designed a new wing on the Westersingel which enclosed in a U shape the Bodon wing. The Hanket pavilion became the restaurant. In 2010 a start was made on restoring the Van der Steur building.

By: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Publication date: 12 Oct 2010

Views: 1900

In episode 7 of Boijmans TV, Mandy is no longer seated at the security system monitors, but in the reception - for more social contact! - and our guide Bregje tells her group everything about the museum building. The museum arose during a time of crisis, but architect van der Steur and director Hannema were thinking of the future. They took as their example the new city hall of Stockholm; discovered by trial and error the ideal incidence of light; combined an antique stairway from The Hague with the modern Rotterdam architecture and decided that the museum’s garden room would be a place of peace and quiet.

In 1940, Hannema even foresaw that the Germans had their eyes on the collection and so he hid it, partly in Limburg and partly behind a quickly constructed false wall in the cellar. But the builders of the museum could hardly have foreseen that a group of cyclists, under the leadership of Bregje, would cycle through the museum. Nor could they have known about the current climate change.

The original drainage system simply cannot handle the monsoon-like storms that increasingly fall in and around Rotterdam. After such a storm, the cellars are flooded and you’ll find museum director Sjarel Ex down there mopping the water. ‘You get used to it,’ says Ex to security guard Arie, who also lends a hand. But they are nevertheless concerned about the valuable Rotterdam art collection that is stored in the cellars.


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