2020 was an eventful and extraordinary year. It was a year of redefinition, improvisation, introspection, uncertainty and of farewells, but also of new opportunities, ingenuity, solidarity and benevolence.
On 13 March 2020, the first day that the museum had to shut due to the coronavirus crisis, an unprecedented silence fell over the country, and so also over Amsterdam and the Museumplein. It seemed unimaginable that the closure would last for 79 days, and that it would be followed by another two lockdowns. During this challenging year, we were fortunate to be able to count on the support of loyal partners, sponsors, private donors and the government. And we adapted to embrace what was possible, inspiring a diverse audience with temporary exhibitions and the art and stories of Vincent van Gogh – both in person, and online.
Despite the COVID pandemic, there were many high points during 2020. In February, we welcomed Emilie Gordenker as our new Director. Millions of fans were inspired and comforted by the work and life of Vincent van Gogh online: we reached a peak of more than 250 million digital visitors. The exhibitions In the Picture: Portraying the Artist and ‘Your loving Vincent’: Van Gogh’s Greatest Letters were popular with both Dutch and international visitors. The Mancini exhibition at The Mesdag Collection was also very well received. It is in part thanks to these outstanding exhibitions and presentations that the Van Gogh Museum, despite being closed for 115 days, was still able to receive 516,990 visitors in 2020.
This year, we took the opportunity to collaborate with the entire staff and the Supervisory Board to formulate a new Strategic Plan (2021-2024), which clearly outlines the Van Gogh Museum’s new mission, core values and strategic goals. In the coming years, the focus will shift from growth to diversity.
At the end of the year, we said farewell to Managing Director Adriaan Dönszelmann, following nearly a decade of service.