Rotterdam Fave: Boijmans van Beuningen museum

It’s time to expand Rotterdam Faves! Of course, I love food and exploring restaurants and bars in my adopted hometown, but there are so many other places which have a special place in my heart in Rotterdam. In this blog, I introduce you to my favorite museum, Boijmans van Beuningen, which allows me to escape, romanticise about artists and their lives and relax for a while.

Read on to find out more about my favorite museum in Rotterdam!

Why the Boijmans van Beuningen is my favorite museum in Rotterdam

This is the first museum that I have gotten to know very well, taking time to explore the different rooms and always visiting their new exhibitions. They have varying forms of art on display, although the majority are paintings. Since June 2017 the collection is curated by Carel Blotkamp, a professor and artist, and the order in which you view the main collection on display has been remixed. Now you can view Medieval religious art in one room, and then walk into a room with expressionist art immediately after. Jumping a few centuries ahead, Carel Blotkamp hopes that this will engage visitors more and allow them to take in the art longer. I love it, as you never know what you will encounter around the corner. The moment I start to get ‘art fatigue’, I walk into the next room and am surprised and intrigued all over again.

The Fiery Explorer - Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam

Yayoi Kusuma

Possibly my favorite art installation in the entire museum. Her name may not ring a bell immediately, but you may recognize her work when you see it. Most famous for her infinity mirror rooms, the Boijmans acquired her first infinity room in 2010. It’s not widely known that the museum has her first mirror room in their collection, and it’s hidden away underneath a staircase in the entrance hall. It always makes me happy to stand in this tiny room, suddenly in a field of red spotted, white shapes. Extending into infinity, you’re rewarded with a reflection of yourself from all angles. It excites me and makes me feel a little uncomfortable at the same time; I love thinking about the infinity world and what could lie in those red dotted fields. But seeing myself over and over again takes some getting used to. In my opinion that is what makes it special, it makes you think and confronts you with your own thoughts.

The Fiery Explorer - Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam

The Fiery Explorer - Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam

Coat Hanging System

I enjoy this every time that I am there. There is an inventive pulley system, with three coat hangers attached to a rope, operated by a pulley system. It allows you to hang up your coat, pull it up and lock it. Watching kids figure out the system with a smile on their face is always entertaining. It’s another opportunity to have fun doing something really simple.

The Fiery Explorer - Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam

My personal favorite room in the Boijmans van Beuningen museum

(Post) Impressionists

The Boijmans has one room dedicated to the (post) impressionist movement and despite not having many works, they have a great collection. My favorites are The Earring by George Hendrik Breitner, the bronze dancer by Degas and the peaceful seaside paintings by Monet. They also have an earlier work by van Gogh and one his well known portraits – Portrait of Armand Roulin.

The Fiery Explorer - Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam

If I visit, what should I really not miss?

Opinions and taste in art are so subjective that this is very difficult to say. The museum houses some classics which I list below, but I have also included my personal list of favorites in the main collection. If you visit, why not compare the different works and come up with a shortlist of your own favorites?

My main recommendation for museum visits is the following; the next time you visit, pick one or two pieces in a few rooms. Then really study them – the colors, the composition, the lighting (if any), the subject matter. How does it make you feel? What do you focus on first? This will make it less overwhelming, and help you to engage more with the artwork!

Well-known works and some of my personal favorites:

  • Tower of Babel – Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1563)
  • Titus at His Desk – Rembrandt van Rijn (1655)
  • De vinger aan de wang – Kees van Dongen (1910)
  • Portret of Armand Roulin – Vincent van Gogh (1888)
  • The lyrical – Wassily Kandinsky (considered first abstract work of art!) (1911)
  • La maison du pêcheur – Claude Monet (1882)
  • Femme assise à la terrasse d’un café (woman sitting on the terrace of a café) – Pablo Picasso (1901)
  • Couple aux têtes pleines de nuages (couple with heads full of clouds) – Salvador Dalí (1936)
The Fiery Explorer - Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam
The lyrical – Wassily Kandinsky (1911)
The Fiery Explorer - Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam
One of the many works of Dalí in the Boijmans
The Fiery Explorer - Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam
Tower of Babel – Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1563)
The Fiery Explorer - Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam
Femme assise à la terrasse d’un café – Pablo Picasso (1901)
The Fiery Explorer - Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam
Dalí’s famous sofa, based on Mae West’s lips

Practical information

  • Address: Museumpark 18, 3015 CX Rotterdam
  • Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 11.00 am to 17.00 pm
  • Website: www.boijmans.nl/en
  • Price: €17.50 adults / €8.75 students

What is your favorite place to escape in your city? Please share it with me in the comments below!

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