1 September 2015
Eye-catching entrance hall delivered on time and on budget.
The new entrance hall at Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum opens to the public on 5 September. “Work to move our main entrance to Museumplein has gone very well,” says director Axel Rüger. “It has been delivered within the tight eighteen-month deadline, and on budget. The all-glass entrance hall features high-quality structural engineering and systems, with modern walls and flooring. There is a spacious, well-lit foyer with cloakrooms and a revamped museum shop stocked with more than 500 new products. Improved access, better logistics and more space will allow us to give our visitors a much warmer welcome than before. Moreover, this arrangement better suits the upgraded Museumplein – all its cultural institutions now have their entrances facing the square. The transparent building with its state-of-the-art glass structure enriches both the Van Gogh Museum and Museumplein.”
To mark the opening of the new entrance hall, a major event is being held on Museumplein on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 September. From 4 pm on Sunday, a total of 125,000 sunflowers will be handed out free to members of the public.
By enclosing the empty “sunken pond” on its Museumplein side, the Van Gogh Museum has gained 800 square metres of floor space. This new entrance hall offers numerous benefits. The neighbouring Stedelijk Museum and Rijksmuseum have recently relocated their main entrances to face Museumplein, and now the Van Gogh Museum is following suit. The new glass structure is also positioned conveniently between the original museum building designed by Gerrit Rietveld and the more recent temporary exhibitions wing, providing better access to and between them. The additional 800 square metres will improve visitor flows and create more room to welcome and assist them. The museum is now better equipped to cope with the expected future rise in visitor numbers. And the entrance hall has a flexible layout, allowing it to host gatherings and receptions of various sizes.
Outside the museum, on Willem Sandbergplein – which separates it from the Stedelijk Museum – the City of Amsterdam has created a waiting area where visitors who have not purchased their tickets in advance can buy them at one of the new ticket desks.
High-quality glass structure with an open, transparent design
The open and – literally – transparent entrance hall has been built using the very latest glass construction techniques and contrasts wonderfully with the solid outer wall of the temporary exhibitions wing. Its frontage consists of 650 square metres of cold bent glass, with 30 so-called “roof fins” – also in glass and up to 12 metres in length – and 20 glass columns up to 9.4 metres high, all mounted on a load-bearing structure containing 65 tonnes of steel. Visitors descend from the street-level entrance to the sunken foyer by a magnificent glass staircase, an illuminated escalator or a glazed panoramic lift. In the foyer are a cloakroom with space for 2,200 coats and 1,700 bags, an array of 1,450 multimedia guides and a brand new museum shop. This is selling some 500 exclusive new products, created in collaboration with leading local and international luxury brands like Jaeger-LeCoultre, Gassan Diamonds, SMAAK and Pommery, or by Dutch designers inspired by Van Gogh and his work. They include Hester van Eeghen, Tord Boontje, Edward van Vliet and Droog Design.
The draft design for the new entrance hall was prepared by Kisho Kurokawa Architect and Associates, the firm founded by the late Kisho Kurokawa, designer of the temporary exhibitions wing opened in 1999. Hans van Heeswijk Architecten then elaborated on this to create a solution in which the existing wing and the new structure form a surprising new whole.
Paid for thanks to many generous donors
The Van Gogh Museum has largely financed this project itself. The total cost of €20 million has been met from the museum’s own funds, together with contributions from the BankGiro Loterij, the foundation Stichting Vincent van Gogh, Van Lanschot Bankiers, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance, the Tokyo Shimbun, the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the City of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam-Zuid city district, Yanmar Europe, the Triton Collection Foundation, the John and Marine van Vlissingen Foundation, Heineken, TAKII Seed, the Drs C. van Zadelhoff Fonds, Ernst A. Nijkerk, Dümmen Orange and other companies, charitable funds, foundations and private donors.
“We are proud that the project is fully paid-for,” says Axel Rüger, “and grateful that the Van Gogh Museum and its new entrance hall have had such an appeal for our financial supporters.”
Construction of the new entrance hall was overseen by the Central Government Real Estate Agency (Rijksvastgoedbedrijf, RVB), the owner of the museum building.