Van Gogh Museum Collection visited by almost 1.5 million culture lovers from around the world

The Van Gogh Museum is rounding off an unusual and demanding year. Over the past year, some 1,438,000 visitors from the Netherlands and around the world have come to see the museum collection. The Van Gogh Museum is once again the most-visited Dutch museum of the year and a major source of Amsterdam tourism. While the building in Museumplein is under renovation, Vincent van Gogh’s works will be on temporary display in the Hermitage Amsterdam until 25 April 2013, in the presentation Vincent. The Van Gogh Museum in the Hermitage Amsterdam. Since October, when the two institutions launched this joint initiative, almost 310,000 visitors have visited the Hermitage Amsterdam to see this presentation and the Hermitage exhibition Impressionism: Sensation & Inspiration.

Axel Rüger, director of the Van Gogh Museum, comments, 'We are very happy with this ongoing interest. When we came up with the concept for this joint initiative, we knew it would be tricky to inform people all over the world about the temporary move. The visitor numbers show that many people are finding their way to our new location and, judging by the many enthusiastic responses we hear every day, they're also enjoying their visit.'

Visitors from around the world
As in 2011, the Dutch form the largest group among the nearly 1.5 million visitors: 195,000, or more than 13%, come from the Netherlands. Internationally, Van Gogh attracts the most art lovers from Italy (10.6%) and the United States (10.4%). We have seen an increase in visitors from Western and Southern Europe and a slight increase from South America. Again this year, the museum shop was a welcome part of the visit for many people. The best-selling products were mugs decorated with images of the painting Almond blossom (1890). At the special Van Gogh shop in the Hermitage Amsterdam, the presentation catalogue is the best-selling item.

Social media
Thanks to online and social media, the museum is in direct contact with people with an interest in the Van Gogh Museum and the life and work of Vincent van Gogh. The level of enthusiasm is obvious from the number and nature of their responses and recommendations. On Facebook, the number of fans has grown from 27,000 to 75,000, while the number of Twitter followers has increased from 12,000 to 50,000. And on Google+, the museum has reached a milestone of more than one million +1’s.

Van Gogh Mile
Specifically for visitors who accidentally end up in Museumplein during the renovation, the visual artist Henk Schut created the Van Gogh Mile, a contemporary art installation. With its eye-catching red line that literally connects the two museums, this multimedia route stimulates visitors’ senses. The museum also helps visitors find their way to the Hermitage Amsterdam by arranging for hosts and extra transport.

2012 in brief
Besides the presentation of the permanent collection in the Van Gogh Museum, the first half of 2012 was marked by the exhibition Dreams of nature: Symbolism from Van Gogh to Kandinsky. The parallel display Beauty in abundance consisted of highlights from the museum’s print collection. In May 2012, the museum’s latest acquisition, Pollard willow (1882), a watercolour drawing by Van Gogh, was presented to the press and the public. Behind the scenes, the staff worked hard all year to prepare for the move. Their labours were rewarded on 29 September, with the opening of the presentation Vincent. The Van Gogh Museum in the Hermitage Amsterdam.

The Mesdag Collection in The Hague, part of the Van Gogh Museum, received more than 13,000 visitors this year. Besides the permanent collection, they also visited the exhibition Paintbrush princesses II and the photographic presentation At home with the Mesdags.

The new year
Director Axel Rüger says, ‘2013 will be a landmark year for Amsterdam and for the Van Gogh Museum. It’s marvellous to be able to report that by the spring all the museums in Museumplein will once again be open to the public in all their glory. The renovated Van Gogh Museum will open its doors in Museumplein on 1 May 2013 with Van Gogh at Work, an exhibition marking the museum's 40th anniversary and seven years of scientific and scholarly research into Van Gogh's working methods. We are very excited about this year of celebration.’

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