His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands will open Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam on the afternoon of Friday, 5th November 2021. The landmark building is the first art depot in the world that is wholly accessible to the public.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam is currently closed as it undergoes a large-scale renovation and is set to reopen in 2028. The art storage in the museum’s cellars was no longer up to par either: unsafe, overfull and outdated. Works of art were already being stored in five off-site depots before the museum’s closure in 2019 when it became evident that continuing to store the invaluable collection of more than 151,000 artefacts in the bowels of the museum was not feasible; the only solution was an external storage facility. In Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen the works are stored in full view of the visitors, who are offered a glimpse behind the scenes of the museum world and can witness what maintaining a priceless art collection entails. Museums around the world show just 6 to 10% of their collections; the remaining 90 or so % is hidden away. Rotterdam is breaking with this tradition of ‘concealment’ and is making the entire art collection transparent for the public under a single roof.
An environment-friendly building
The reflective depot in the Museumpark was designed by MVRDV and is an environment-friendly building that makes use of solar energy and water storage. The depot’s exterior is composed of 1,664 mirror panels, which reflect the museum and Rotterdam’s city centre.
King Willem-Alexander will open the Depot, whereupon the building and the collection can be accessed by the first group of visitors. His Majesty will then be taken on a guided tour of the carpentry workshop, the storage depot for paintings, a restoration studio, study areas and a private collection. He will also be meeting with Boijmans Van Beuningen’s staff, the building’s architects and other users.
Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen is a collaboration that involves Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the City of Rotterdam and Stichting De Verre Bergen. The depot was designed by MVRDV and realised by BAM Bouw en Techniek.