In 2021, a museum opened in Rotterdam that spoke directly to me – namely the Boijmans van Beuningen Depot. Actually, the Boijmans van Beuningen is a normal museum, but it is currently closed for renovations to guarantee the safety of the artworks exhibited there and those of the visitors. So that you can still look at the art, the museum has unceremoniously made the adjacent depot accessible. And that can really be seen!
The Boijmans van Beuningen Art Depot
From a distance, the Boijmans van Beuningen Depot looks like one of those shiny silver salad bowls from a big-name Swedish furniture store. It not only has the shape of a bowl, but is also mirrored all around. Pretty futuristic! The facade reflects the city skyline, and since Rotterdam is one of the few Dutch cities with a lot of high-rise construction, it looks pretty cool.
In the museum you see exactly what you can expect from the name: an art depot, where not only art is stored, but also restored and recovered. The interior is built like a labyrinth, and you slowly work your way from the first floor to the roof terrace. On each floor there are different rooms, some with art installations, some you can see through a glass pane into the warehouse. And in the stairwell, there are various pieces of art on display everywhere, from clothing to furniture and paintings or vases. Everything is very modern and there are a few places where you can write your wishes for the reopening of the actual museum on a piece of paper and hang it up.
If you expect to see a lot of exhibited art in the Boijmans van Beuningen depot, you will still be disappointed somehow. Although various works of art are on display everywhere, the idea behind the museum is primarily to show visitors how art is stored and preserved. In many of the rooms behind the glass, you might recognize individual works, but they are actually on shelves and often completely or partially boxed up. The light also goes off automatically, if you want to look through the glass you have to turn the light switch first.
In the end, you will be standing on the roof terrace of the museum, virtually on the edge of the 'bowl'. From here you can not only admire the 360 degree view over Rotterdam (including the Erasmus Bridge and the famous skyline), but also see directly opposite the actual museum, which is currently being renovated. There is also a cafe and restaurant at the top where you can end your visit before heading back down the stairs or by elevator.
Boijmans van Beuningen Depot – worth a visit?
I would definitely say yes! I had never been in an art warehouse before my visit and found it super interesting. And with this depot really a lot of effort was made! Although you are finished relatively quickly on each floor, there is a lot to see and it is very informative. And at the same time just really cool! Being afraid of heights is not ideal when visiting, by the way, as you work your way up from floor to floor through a huge open gallery, some with glass bridges. But of course you can get around it! So if you are in Rotterdam for a day and want to visit a museum, I can only recommend the Boijnmans van Beuningen Depot!
Cost & ticket reservation
Especially with a Museumkaart a visit is worthwhile in any case, then the entrance is for free. For everyone else it costs 20,00 Euro per person. Be sure to book your ticket online in advance, as the museum is very popular and it is not possible to get in spontaneously on site!
By the way, the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen will remain closed for a few more years. Before the municipality decided to not only rid the museum of asbestos, but also completely modernize and rebuild it, it was estimated that construction would take a total of 7 years, starting in 2019.