23 July 2015
Museum draws many visitors during the Van Gogh 2015 anniversary year.
This week, the Van Gogh Museum welcomed its millionth visitor - four weeks earlier than last year. The Van Gogh Museum keeps drawing a great many visitors, both national and international art lovers. This also shows from the Amsterdam Marketing Tourism Barometer. The Van Gogh Museum received already circa 10% more visitors during the first quarter of 2015. The Anne Frank House and the Rijksmuseum also saw an increase. Amsterdam is popular: the number of international passengers arriving at Schiphol Airport increased by 6.6 % during the first quarter of 2015. The number of hotel reservations also increased by 5.2% during the first three months.
Van Gogh died in the French town of Auvers-sur-Oise exactly 125 years ago this month. Worldwide interest in his life and work keeps Van Gogh important and relevant. “This is something we notice every day”, according to Axel Rüger (Director of the Van Gogh Museum). “The number of visitors that come to our museum to discover more about our collection and Van Gogh’s life remain overwhelming. This trend also applies to online visits, as for instance the response to our current 125-questions campaign; we request the public to ask questions about Van Gogh and his life. During the first week we were already swamped with questions via our online network”.
The new presentation of the Van Gogh collection, which opened last November, and the completely renewed multi-media tour are also highly appreciated. The new presentation not only pays great attention to the artworks, but also to Van Gogh’s life and his popular image. Rüger: “A survey carried out by NBTC-NIPO among the public shows that the general appreciation of our museum is increasing. This again results in much greater willingness to promote a visit to our museum”. Word of mouth is one of the most important types of promoting, according to Amsterdam Marketing.
On account of a better distribution of the number of visitors during the day or the week - the museum is open on Friday nights the whole year round and on Saturday nights during the summer months - the museum is not experienced as crowded, despite the large number of visitors. A growing number of visitors buy their entrance tickets online and this way they can view which entrance tickets are available for which time slots. This results in a more efficient distribution of visitors across the entire day and week. Furthermore, the Van Gogh Museum is well-equipped to process the visitor flows: from the design of specific locations for picture-taking to a sophisticated positioning of the best loved paintings. It shows from the positive reception of visitors that this is paying off.
Not only international art lovers visit the Museumplein to enjoy Van Gogh's works, but also the Dutch public - in terms of percentage the largest group of visitors - (re)discover Van Gogh. This shows, for example, from the current When I Give, I Give Myself exhibition, with 23 contemporary artists presenting their personal responses to letters by Van Gogh, thereby showing how relevant and inspiring the artist remains until this very day.
The continuing interest in Van Gogh during the Van Gogh 2015 anniversary year also extends beyond the museum. For instance, AVRO/TROS television organized a competition inspired by Van Gogh that motivated hundreds of artists to send in wonderful works. In May, Sanoma published an edition of a Donald Duck comic, entirely dedicated to ‘Vincent van Dogh’; and the feature film Van Gogh: a new way of seeing was shown in cinemas in more than 50 countries. “As expected, this contributes to the positive image of our museum. In addition to our own promotional campaigns, we receive a lot of attention from a wide-ranging network of co-promoters, which appears to have materialized into a growing number of museum visitors”, according to Rüger.
The construction of a new entrance building of the Van Gogh Museum is presently in its final stages. On 4 September next, the transparent glass entrance building will be officially inaugurated. The relocation of the main entrance to the Museumplein will clearly enhance a visit to the Van Gogh Museum. The Van Gogh Museum now ends a long period of renovations along the Museumplein. The new entrance building will be open to the public from 5 September onwards; a few weeks later, on 25 September, the long-awaited Munch : Van Gogh exhibition will be opened.