Jump to content

Groninger Museum

Coordinates: 53°12′44″N 6°33′58″E / 53.21222°N 6.56611°E / 53.21222; 6.56611
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Groninger Museum
The museum on the Verbindingskanaal
Groninger Museum is located in Groningen (province)
Groninger Museum
Location in the province Groningen in the Netherlands
Established1874 (1874)
LocationMuseumeiland 1[1]
Groningen, Netherlands
Coordinates53°12′44″N 6°33′58″E / 53.21222°N 6.56611°E / 53.21222; 6.56611
TypeArt museum
Visitors213,000 (2017 est.)[2]
DirectorAndreas Blühm[3]
CuratorMark Wilson[4]
Public transit accessGroningen

The Groninger Museum (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɣroːnɪŋər myˈzeːjʏm]) is an art museum in the city of Groningen in the Netherlands. The museum exhibits modern and contemporary art of local, national, and international artists.

The museum opened in 1874. The current post-modernist building consists of three main pavilions designed individually by architects Philippe Starck, Alessandro Mendini, Coop Himmelb(l)au, and was completed in 1994.

Since 2008, it has had 173,000 to 292,000 visitors per year, the highest amount of any museum in the province of Groningen.


The former building of the Groninger Museum in 1975

The Groninger Museum was founded in 1874 and opened its own building twenty years later on the Praediniussingel, in 1894.[5] The Menkemaborg, a historic mansion, was donated to the Groninger Museum by the heirs of its last inhabitants in 1921.[6] The current building of the museum was opened in 1994.[5]


Entrance of the museum in 2011, with the yellow tower that was designed by Alessandro Mendini
Corridor inside the museum in 2009

The radically modernist structures that form the Groninger Museum stand in a canal opposite Groningen railway station. They consist of three main pavilions: a silver cylindrical building designed by Philippe Starck,[7] a yellow tower by Alessandro Mendini, and a pale blue deconstructivist space by Coop Himmelb(l)au.[8] A bridge that connects the museum to the train station is part of a cycling and walking path to the centre of the city.

The architecture's futuristic and colourful style echoes the Italian Post Modern designs of the Memphis Group. Mendini, a former member of the firm, who is noted for his furniture and industrial designs, was asked by museum director Frans Haks in 1990 to design the new museum.[9] Haks wanted something extravagant and insisted on non-architects to create the conceptual studies. American artist Frank Stella was originally approached to design one of the pavilions. However, his plan turned-out to be too expensive because he wanted his structure completely built out of Teflon. The municipality then invited Coop Himmelb(l)au to replace him for the commission.

The museum was mainly paid for by GasTerra, the Dutch national natural gas company. The company was celebrating its 25th anniversary and wanted to give the city of Groningen a present. Haks, wanting to move out of the old and insufficient exhibition space, suggested a new museum building. GasTerra agreed to Hak's proposal and granted 25 million guilders for the project.

Alderman Ypke Gietema, a strong proponent of the new museum, was responsible for siting the museum at its present location despite acrimonious objections. During site preparation, protesters managed to halt construction for one year via the high court. Citizens' objections centred on the controversial design, fearing their homes would not sell with such a peculiar and eccentric structure nearby. Despite the controversy, building resumed in 1992 and it was completed in 1994. Local residents had to get used to the shapes and colours of the building, but it soon became a popular success.


Exhibition space of the museum in 2012

The Groninger Museum is home to various exhibitions of local, national, and international works of art, most of them modern and abstract. Some have provoked controversy, such as the photo exhibition of Andres Serrano, but others are more conventional such as the exhibition of the works by Ilya Repin, the "Russian Rembrandt". While the exhibition "David Bowie is" was taking place at the museum the death of David Bowie was announced. The museum responded by opening a condolence register and opening its doors to visitors on Monday (while the museum is normally closed).[10][11]

  • Russian Legends, Folk Tales and Fairy Tales
  • The circle around Kirchner. Expressionismus aus den Bergen
  • Ancient Bronzes: Masterpieces from the Shanghai Museum
  • Go China! Assen - Groningen
  • Now in the former Groninger Museum - 100 years of collecting (1894–1994)
  • Bernhard Willhelm & Jutta Kraus
  • Brücke, German Expressionism (1905–1913)
  • Folkert de Jong
  • The Unknown Russia
  • Me, myself and I by Chi Peng[12]
  • Silver in Groningen
  • The Firebird by Othilia Verdurmen[13]
  • Highlights From The Museum Collection[14]
  • Yin Xiuzhen
  • Painting Canada
  • Iris van Herpen
  • Iconen van het Groningerland. Jan Altink (1885–1971) (Icons of the Groningen Countryside. Jan Altink (1885–1971))
  • Famille Verte
  • Azzedine Alaïa in de 21e eeuw (Azzedine Alaïa in the 21st Century)
  • Eigen collectie - Oude en nieuwe portretten (Old and new portraits from the Groninger Museum collection)
  • Studio Job & het Groninger Museum (Studio Job & the Groninger Museum)
  • Bijzondere huwelijkslepels uit de middeleeuwen
  • Diane KW. At World's End
  • Draken en lange Lijzen. Chinees Porselein uit de eigen collectie (Dragons and Lange Lijzen. Chinese porcelain from the Museum's own collection)
  • Vrouwen van de Revolutie (Women of the Revolution)
  • Nordic Art 1880 - 1920
  • Groninger Museum eert grondlegger (Groninger Museum honours founder)
  • Marc Bijl. Urban Gothic
  • Gronings zilver uit de collectie Hofman-Westerhof (Gronings silver from the Hofman-Westerhof collection)
  • De Ploeg - Eigen collectie (De Ploeg - Groninger Museum Collection)
  • Strijd! 100 jaar vrouwenkiesrecht / Battle! 100 years of women's suffrage


Year Visitors
2008 256,000[15]
2009 227,700[15]
2010 88,469[15]
2011 214,000[15]
2012 180,000[15]
2013 197,517[16]
2014 173,355[17]
2015 209,500 (est.)[18]
2016 290,000 (est.)[19]
2017 213,000 (est.)[19]

Andreas Blühm has been the museum director of the Groninger Museum since 2012.[20]

The Groninger Museum is a member of Museumhuis Groningen (Groningen Museum House),[21] which is an umbrella organization for museums and heritage institutions in the province of Groningen.[22]

Since 2008, the museum has had between 180,000 and 292,000 visitors per year, with the exception of 2010, when the museum was closed for renovation from April to December.[15] In 2016, the museum had 290,000 visitors.[19] It is the most visited museum of the province of Groningen.[15][23]


  1. ^ Contact, Groninger Museum. Retrieved on 13 September 2013.
  2. ^ "Prima jaar voor Drents en Gronings Museum" (in Dutch), Dagblad van het Noorden, 28 December 2017 (updated 29 December 2017). Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  3. ^ Who is who, Groninger Museum. Retrieved on 13 September 2013.
  4. ^ (in Dutch) Wie is wie?, Groninger Museum. Retrieved on 11 January 2014.
  5. ^ a b (in Dutch) Museumgebouw, Groninger Museum. Retrieved on 11 January 2014.
  6. ^ (in Dutch) Menkemaborg, Groninger Museum. Retrieved on 11 January 2014.
  7. ^ Philippe Starck, Starck pavilion Archived 2012-03-23 at the Wayback Machine, Groninger Museum.
  8. ^ Coop Himmelb(l)au Coop Himmelb(l)au pavilion Archived 2017-06-11 at the Wayback Machine, Groninger Museum.
  9. ^ Alessandro Mendini, "Groninger Museum's second life", Domus, 2011.
  10. ^ "David Bowie dies of cancer aged 69 - BBC News". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  11. ^ "Groninger Museum opent deuren speciaal voor Bowie-fans" [Groninger Museum opens doors specially for Bowie-fans]. nos.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  12. ^ Me, Myself and I, Chi Peng Archived 2016-08-29 at the Wayback Machine, Groninger Museum.
  13. ^ The Firebird Archived 2016-08-28 at the Wayback Machine, Groninger Museum.
  14. ^ Highlights From The Museum Collection Archived 2011-06-10 at the Wayback Machine, Groninger Museum.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g (in Dutch) Bezoekcijfers musea aangesloten bij Museumhuis Groningen, Museumhuis Groningen. Retrieved on 11 January 2014.
  16. ^ (in Dutch) Meer bezoekers voor Groninger Museum, OOG Radio en TV, 2014. Retrieved on 11 January 2014.
  17. ^ (in Dutch) Jaarverslag 2014 Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine, Groninger Museum. Retrieved on 24 July 2014.
  18. ^ (in Dutch) "Groninger Museum trekt 209.500 bezoekers in 2015", Nu.nl, 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  19. ^ a b c Topjaar voor Groninger Museum (in Dutch), Dagblad van het Noorden, 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
  20. ^ Andreas Blühm new director of Groninger Museum Archived 2016-08-12 at the Wayback Machine (press release), Groninger Museum, 2012. Retrieved on 11 January 2014.
  21. ^ (in Dutch) Leden Museumhuis Archived 2014-01-11 at the Wayback Machine, Museumhuis Groningen. Retrieved on 11 January 2014.
  22. ^ (in Dutch) Over ons Archived 2014-01-11 at the Wayback Machine Museumhuis Groningen. Retrieved on 11 January 2014.
  23. ^ (in Dutch) Top 55 Museumbezoek 2012[permanent dead link], Nederlandse Museumvereniging. Retrieved 11 January 2014.

External links[edit]