Newly opened Rijksmuseum boosts Dutch economy

30 August 2013, by
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A report commissioned to examine the economic impact of the re-opening of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam states that the new museum is already making a significant difference.

The annual economic impact of the Rijksmuseum since its opening in April this year is, according to the report, 235 million euros. Around 80 per cent of this is due to a large increase in visitor expenditure.

The Rijksmuseum, founded in 1798 as the national museum of the Netherlands, reopened on 13 April 2013 after a 10 year, 375 million euro renovation and refurbishment programme. It welcomed its millionth visitor on 23 August, 2013.

Total contribution

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contributed to the economy by the Rijksmuseum from 2003 to 2017 will total approximately 3 billion euros. This breaks down to 1,9 billion in visitor expenditure, 720 million from expenditure on on-going operations and 360 million from renovation work.

As a result of the renovation, the Rijksmuseum’s annual economic impact will increase by 90 million euros as of 2013. Part of this is due to employment: during the refurbishment, the museum provided an average of 2.600 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions every year, while from now this figure will increase to 3.700 FTE per year.

Higher profile

When it opened, the Rijksmuseum was the recipient of a global outpouring of praise: the BBC called it "a triumph of curatorial intelligence and sensitivity," while The Times simply said that it "rocked."

These impressions are borne out in the report, which says that the new museum has helped increase the appeal of Amsterdam for tourists and for businesses.

It claims that the museum now serves as an icon of Dutch identity, "a visual representation of the country as a whole."

Interior of Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Photo by Flickr user erich2448
Thumb photo by Flickr user KellyReeves

Furthermore, the museum now also plays a key role as an academic institute in training new tradesmen and academics and applying scientific research.

A fine investment

Director of the Rijksmuseum Wim Pijbes said that it was clear that the renovations had consequences beyond the actual building itself.

“These results prove that the age-old wisdom of John Paul Getty still rings true: fine art is the finest investment,” he said.

The public certainly seem to think so: there were 579.000 more visitors in 2013 after the reopening than in 2012.

Not just for foreign tourists

While the majority of visitors to the Rijksmuseum come from outside the Netherlands, the numbers of Dutch visitors also rose sharply after the reopening in 2013.

In 2012, 34 per cent of visitors to the Rijksmuseum were Dutch nationals; in 2013, that rose to 48 per cent. Projections for 2014 are that numbers of international and national tourists will be roughly equal.

Source: Rijksmuseum

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Alexandra Gowling

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