The Underrated Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Weekend Travel: Rotterdam | NL

I did a quick visit (again) to what know known as "the city of the future" in Netherland, Rotterdam. Coming from "the city of the past", Rotterdam has its own perks that Amsterdam does not have. As one of the largest port in Europe, Rotterdam is exposed to long  and dynamic history of cultural life and heritage. Doesn't sounds so like the place that carries promise from the future eh?

Unfortunately, the city suffers from a terrible war catastrophe during World War II that almost destroyed the entire city center. The aftermath is the surge amount of opportunity to re-think and re-design the city. Now, Rotterdam has become the proving ground of architecture experiments to world-famous architects like Rem, Ben van Berkel, Winy Maas, and many more. 

After the famous Erasmus Bridge, Markthall, and de Rotterdam, this magical chrome bowl is going to be the next big thing. It's going to house art storage facility of one of the major art museums of the city, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. 

MVRDV's proposal for the  new Boijmans Art Depot in Rotterdam.

MVRDV's proposal for the new Boijmans Art Depot in Rotterdam.


Of course, after a long series of drama. Typical architecture competition struggle and hustle. Winning the competition is just the start of the long journey.


MVRDV was earlier disqualified from the competition due to a considered breach of the tender procedure but won a preliminary injunction at the court of justice of Rotterdam.

Hey, I think we can do a series of how architecture firm struggle to get things built, maybe can get the same rating as The Kardashians.

The decision about the Public Art Depot has been made! 
On Thursday 5 November Rotterdam City Council voted in favour of the construction of the new Public Art Depot in the Museumpark.

Exciting news! Now as we are looking forward to the completion of the world's first art storage facility that is fully accessible to public, let's check how cool the museum is right now.

*Actually Herzog de Meuron's Schaulager in Basel has pretty similar concept although it's still a private collection and the building only open to public on a certain time. Well that's a huge bummer.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen


Entrance courtyard with the noticeable pavement pattern. 

Entrance courtyard with the noticeable pavement pattern. 

The museum is right located in the Museumpark area, comparable to Amsterdam's Museumplein. Museum has become one of the key component  for Dutch cities as cultural element for its resident and also to propagate the development of the city and attract talent from outside.


Boijmans museum in a similar setting with Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.


Rijksmuseum situated as the center axis of the museum park.




This is one of the most interesting component out of this museum and there are two reasons. The first one, the gallery rooms  at the ground level are stretched along the central courtyard with opening towards it, sometimes at both sides. This allow visual interaction with the courtyard as the background and allow artworks to be viewed in daylight. 


Second floor is where the permanent collection stays. Van der Steur, the original architect has come up with a pretty unique solution to what suppose to be mundane and typical layout back in the day. 

Conventional linear room layout (Left). Boijmans Museum linear room layout (Right).

Conventional linear room layout (Left). Boijmans Museum linear room layout (Right).


Rooms are arranged in a linear fashion (reminds me of the typical aristocrat mansion) BUT, how the passage to connect between rooms are placed in a way that allows visitor to isolate themselves and focus on the content  in one room.

Circulation path is clearly defined through linear view of sight.

Circulation path is clearly defined through linear view of sight.

No visual interference from the adjacent room.

No visual interference from the adjacent room.


Cafe / Restaurant

Integration of sculpture park and the rest of the public park.

Integration of sculpture park and the rest of the public park.

This is great!

I am a big fan of sculpture park or where artwork is being liberated from it's confined white boxes where it usually stays. Well, it's not a new idea, MOMA in New York, or Louisiana Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark or Kruller Muller Museum in Otterlo, Netherland has the similar park.

What really stands out is the fact that part of the sculpture park is publicly accessible and that brings art closer to the residents of Rotterdam.



The Ultimate: Vocabulary of Solitude by Ugo Rondinone

If I have to have one reason to visit this museum this time, it's gotta be because of this exhibition. There is a strange feeling as visitors meander through the sad clowns. Sort of showing satiric side of clown which is an irony on itself.

Something strange happens every time you look at Rondinone’s art. He gives everyday motifs and images a poetic dimension by isolating or enlarging them. On the floor of the 1500m2 Bodon Galleries visitors will move between life-size clown figures. With titles in the present tense, such as be, breathe, remember, feel and yawn, the clowns in the exhibition represent a 24-hour day in the life of an individual. These clown sculptures have never previously been exhibited.


Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum is one of the most important art museum in the Netherland because of what it can offers as a unique canvas to present the artwork.  Apart from its one of a kind gallery spaces, the museum offers a very relevant content in the landscape of contemporary art itself balanced with its more classical / historical collection.



Hey do check #donotsettle's Wahyu Pratomo video who came along with me to check the museum!


And he got me a fancy picture. 

And he got me a fancy picture.