A highly original institute in the Netherlands
The Kunsthal Rotterdam is an extraordinary cultural institution. It is housed in an iconic building and offers a surprising range of exhibitions and events to a wide audience. The Kunsthal does not have a collection of its own and is therefore, strictly speaking, not a museum. It does, however, produce and organise museum exhibitions. In order to achieve this, the organisation uses its freedom to create a broad-ranging and exciting contemporary programme. The Kunsthal is a ‘magic box’, as it were, aimed at a wide audience.
From high art to popular themes
The iconic building was designed in 1992 by Rem Koolhaas, the Netherlands’ leading architect, as a ‘Palais des Festivals’, a meeting place for art and culture. With approximately 21 exhibitions each year, a large range of disciplines are simultaneously represented at any given time: visual art, contemporary art and design, photography, lifestyle, fashion, architecture and cultural history. The Kunsthal’s demonstrably low threshold combined with a great diversity of topics – from high art to popular themes – underscores its social relevance.
The power of collaboration
By working together with a broad range of (cultural) institutions, museums, artists and companies in the Netherlands and abroad, the Kunsthal is able to show prestigious exhibitions, as yet unknown bodies of work, intimate presentations and unexpected thematic exhibitions every year. Big names feature beside remarkable discoveries, all of them of the highest quality and with room to accommodate current events and personal stories. The Kunsthal thus offers its partners a platform and places them in the spotlights. Our intention to realise a continuous programme for the Kunsthal, as a ‘Palais des Festivals’, is a new development. In order to realise substantive activities that yield more spin-off, we are investing in sustainable collaborations with regular partners. Incidental partners, on the other hand, allow us to experiment and respond to current events.
Visitor-oriented cultural trendsetter
The Kunsthal is able to reach a wide (and often new) audience through its varied and rich range of simultaneously presented and rapidly alternated exhibitions organised by a small and efficient team. It is a programme that caters for specific target groups, with supplementary side-programming, special events, strong marketing and branding. The Kunsthal could well be described as a visitor-orientated cultural trendsetter with international flair that uses its complete freedom to programme in order to introduce a wide, and often new, audience to exhibitions about art, culture and society.
The Kunsthal is different
With, among other things, its continuous programme with a wide variety of constantly alternating exhibitions, the Kunsthal clearly distinguishes itself from other Dutch organisations. Its simultaneous programme of highly diverse exhibitions, each appealing to a different target group, is unique to the Netherlands. And the same goes for the diversity of its target groups. The Kunsthal is an institution that simultaneously caters for art lovers, fashionistas, history buffs, design fans and young people and offers them a place to meet. The Kunsthal is also distinctive and recognisable for its use of means.
In order to remain a relevant institution that is of added value to the city, the region and places much further afield, the Kunsthal focuses on priorities such as its premises as an architectural icon, in its function as a cultural Palais des Festivals. In addition, the Kunsthal has intensified its role as developer, producer, innovator and cultural entrepreneur. In 2016, the Kunsthal team took the time to further develop its strategy for the coming five years and attune it to the institution’s various departments. In doing so, they opted for a more strategy-led organization with an emphasis on participation, involvement, stewardship, perception and experience. These are all important additions to the already existing cultural entrepreneurship of the Kunsthal.
The Kunsthal brand
The Kunsthal brand is among the top twenty museum brands in the Netherlands and it is now time to spread it around the world. After all, the Kunsthal has excellent connections, original ideas and the right business instinct for marketing a great product. The challenge lies in the fact that the organisation is unable to draw on its own collection. As part of its business model, the Kunsthal aims to produce travelling exhibitions by intensifying its international connections, focusing on special collections and artists, and collaborating with collectors and guest curators. As the Kunsthal has been working closely with renowned international institutions for big exhibitions in the past, there is already an abundant supply of expertise and a large network to tap into within our team.
The Kunsthal as a producer
The Kunsthal presented itself internationally as a well-liked and strong brand with a prestigious traveling exhibition of Peter Lindbergh’s work. The fact that we managed to secure two major international sponsors (Swarovski and Marc O’Polo) for the exhibition can be called a unique feat. The world premiere of this exhibition about the famous (fashion) photographer Peter Lindbergh was majestic in many respects. The arrival of no less than ten world famous supermodels at the Kunsthal, events featuring dance, fashion and photography throughout the city, a flying visit from Tina Turner, and two packed book signings enticed the national and international press to come to Rotterdam. In 2017, the exhibition will travel on to the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung in Munich and the Palazzo di Venaria Reale in Turin.