With Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, a mecca for art and collection management is opening. A building of a new order. King Willem-Alexander opens the depot, after which the public can discover the treasure chamber of Rotterdam.

The new depot of Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam is unique in the world. With its round shape and reflective surface, it is a work of art in itself. 151,000 art objects are stored safely and in a sustainable way thanks to the storage systems of Bruynzeel Storage Systems.

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Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen will be opened by His Majesty the King on Friday 5 November 2021. The depots under the museum were unsuitable for storage due to flooding – it proved to be an opportunity for the city. With the arrival of the new depot the internationally renowned Boijmans Van Beuningen art collection and the care for these 151,000 objects will be made transparent under one roof, next to the museum building that is undergoing renovation. 

Museums generally display an average of six to ten percent of the collection – the remaining ninety percent is hidden and sequestered. The depot breaks with this tradition and makes all of these invisible works of art visible; it is the epitome of the changing views on collection management and a pioneering building. Never before has accessible museum storage on this scale been combined with a view behind the scenes for the general public. Following the opening by HM the King, the depot will open to the public from Saturday 6 November.

Twan Janssen, Bruynzeel’s project manager for the museum depot, traveled dozens of times from Panningen to Rotterdam in recent years. “I don’t know how many kilometers I have covered in total,” he laughs. “But there are quite a few.”

From the end of 2016, Janssen was involved in the design of the museum depot.

The world-famous art collection now contains more than 151,000 objects, including more than 63,000 paintings, photographs, films, pre-industrial and design objects, contemporary art installations, sculptures and 88,000 prints and drawings.

Works of art in the new depot are stored, organised and displayed on the basis of their size and climatic requirements, rather than on the basis of art movement, era or maker. There are five different climate zones, suitable for different materials such as metal, plastic, paper, black and white and color photography. The works of art are arranged as efficiently as possible, just like in a closed depot.

“It is of course fantastic that we as Bruynzeel have been able to contribute to this”, says Janssen. “Really something to be proud of.”

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Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen in the press: