Iconic Visit Depot Boijmans van Beuningen

Written by Anika Rasenberg
Frontrunner

Three times a charm! Because after two previous cancellations due to the lockdown, my boyfriend and I were finally able to visit the Depot Boijmans van Beuningen. Something we have been looking forward to for a while, because the 'Pot' (as we Rotterdammers call the mirror building) is seen as the new eyecatcher of the Rotterdam skyline.

Would you like to know what to expect from a visit to the Depot? We put it to the test for you and we also share a number of useful tips.

The depot is not a traditional museum

In case you didn't know yet - the Depot Boijmans van Beuningen is not a museum. Actually, the name says it all - it really is an art depot, a storage of works of art.

The emphasis is mainly on the world behind the preservation and maintenance of works of art. The works are arranged on the basis of their dimensions and strict climate requirements. For example, you will not find a room with all the paintings by Salvador Dali in the depot.

‘You will not find a room with all the paintings by Salvador Dali in the depot.’
Anika Rasenberg

What can you expect as a visitor? An impressive interior with a labyrinth of stairs, lots of glass and climate and conservation rooms. Certainly an architectural masterpiece, with Instagrammable vistas and special lighting.

Small tip: take the glass elevator from the top all the way down (or vice versa). Then you see the interior of the depot pass you by. A really cool effect!

Visit a climate room full of art

Some works of art can be seen in the public areas, but the majority are stored behind glass in special compartments. So can't you get to the artworks at all? Yes you can, per day they allow a number of visitors in the compartments (for free). You have to ask about this yourself at the desk in the entrance area, because due to the limited capacity they don't really promote it.

Fortunately, we had just managed to get the last two spots before the end of the afternoon. With a group of ten people, we were admitted into a compartment accompanied by a guide and a security guard. The air was dry and the temperature no warmer than 20 degrees. The guide briefly explained that these are the most ideal conditions to store these works of art. Isn't that special?

Do not expect an extensive explanation about the works of art as in a traditional museum. Let alone that you can pull a Mondrian off the rack yourself. The security guard strictly ensures that everyone stays at an appropriate distance (and rightly so).

Panorama view from the roof

The roof of the Boijmans van Beuningen Depot is actually an attraction in itself. There you have a fantastic 360 degree view of Rotterdam. Don't worry, you don't have to go downstairs to get your coat out of the locker first. For the cool days there are fleece blankets ready at the door that you can warm yourself with.

By the way, did you know that the roof is free to visit after the museum's closing time (ie after 6 p.m.)? You then go up and down with the glass elevator through an abandoned depot. Quite an experience in itself and completely free!

‘Insiders tip: the roof of the depot can be visited for free between 6 pm and 11 pm!’
Anika Rasenberg

Eating at restaurant Renilde

Our visit fell around Valentine's Day, so we ended the day with a romantic dinner on top of the depot. Because there, on the roof, you not only have a panoramic view of the city. You will also find restaurant Renilde, led by chef Jim de Jong.

During the day you can go there as a museum visitor for a tea or coffee with something delicious or a lunch. When the museum closes at 17:00, restaurant Renilde transforms into an atmospheric a la carte restaurant where you can eat really delicious.

The chef decides

The changing menu is carte blanche, so Chef Jim decides. Ideal for people like me, who like everything and often have trouble making choices. Do you opt for three, four, five or the complete Renilde Menu with six courses? You can make it as crazy (and expensive) as you want.

Because we had had an extensive lunch earlier in the day, we opted for four courses with a matching wine arrangement. You certainly don't have to worry about going home with an empty stomach, because the freshly baked bread is complementary and unlimited.

Last minute reservation? There is a good chance that the restaurant will be full in the coming weeks. That was also the case with us. That's why I signed up for the waiting list. As soon as there is a cancellation, the entire waiting list will receive an email. Because I clicked on the link in the mail first, we got the vacant spots! So turn on your e-mail notifications, so that you don't miss out.

Written by Anika Rasenberg
Frontrunner
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