The pupils are allowed to touch art in Boijmans

The depot, now an architectural icon of Rotterdam, was opened in 2021 and serves as a publicly accessible art depository during the renovation of Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. The tour starts in the Atrium, the central area of ​​the depot. If you look up there, you can see the building’s 40 meter high roof. In between, zigzagging stairs cross the room in a way that reminds the students of ‘Hogwarts’ or of an ‘LSD trip’. The staircase and the floating display cases were designed by the artist Marieke van Diemen.

The zigzag staircase is described by the students as ‘Hogwarts’ and an ‘LSD trip’.

Thought-provoking

As students walk up the stairs, they catch a glimpse of the museum’s collection through glass walls in the various rooms. Their taste in art varies quite a bit. Some like old paintings, while others find them boring and prefer modern art. “I like modern works of art where you have to think about what they mean,” says Tsvetelina Terzieva (Media & Creative Industries student, 22). For others, the only requirement is that a work of art must ‘look beautiful’.

In the depot, the works of art in the rooms are not classified by time period, but on the basis of the necessary climatic conditions. The purpose of a storage room is to keep the works of art in good condition for as long as possible and prevent them from deteriorating faster due to light and heat. Therefore, there is a time switch on the light in the rooms. This means that the students have to turn on the light again and again to be able to see something.

First the back

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The new way of looking at the back of a painting first.


Picture of:
Aysha Gasanova

Further on in Gallery I, the students are introduced to a new exhibition method that Boijmans is currently experimenting with. On average, visitors look at a painting for about two seconds. To do something about it, the museum has hung the paintings on glass walls so that their backs are visible.

When visitors enter the room, they first see the back of the paintings. All kinds of information is written on it, encouraging the viewer to look closer and further at the artwork. Guide Mirjam Martens from Boijmans explains that visitors now look much longer at the paintings. “First they read what is written on the back, then they look at the front and then they go back to the back. It is a huge change.”

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Students as artists during the workshop.


Picture of:
Aysha Gasanova

Works as an art dealer

During the workshop, the students are presented with art objects wrapped in bubble wrap. They must carefully unpack the items, measure them, describe their appearance, carry out a risk assessment and then repack.

Law student Adina Habegger (Law, 25) was very happy after the tour. “I thought the building already looked interesting from the outside and I’m glad I was able to visit it today.” For Tsvetelina, the trip was a great opportunity for a cheap visit to Boijmans. “I specifically wanted to go to this museum and then by chance I saw online that this tour was being offered, at a good price I thought.”

Restoration videos

For most students, this was their first visit to Boijmans. They all wanted to know more about art. Sophie van Roosmalen (Economics and Business Administration, 22) says she watched videos about art restoration during the pandemic. She finds it very interesting to see behind the scenes how it all works. “And I thought it was a nice change from my studies,” she adds.

The frequency of visits to museums varies among students. “I didn’t make it last month because I was busy with my studies, but normally I go to a museum every month,” says Lot ter Riet (19), medical student and art lover. Greta Garber (law student, 23) says she doesn’t visit a museum very often. “My friends aren’t that interested in museums, and I don’t usually go to museums alone.”

The event was organized by Studium Generale in collaboration with Boijman’s education team.

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