19 April 2017
How can the Van Gogh Museum gain more relevance for young people in Amsterdam with a Surinamese Turkish, Antillean or Moroccan background? This will be the museum’s focus during 'Van Gogh Connects' ('Van Gogh verbindt'), a research programme that will see the Van Gogh Museum collaborate with the target group to develop 40 activities between 2017 and 2021.
Axel Rüger (Director of the Van Gogh Museum): ‘At the Van Gogh Museum, we truly want to make a difference and ensure that Van Gogh’s heritage is relevant to everyone. We also want to create awareness for cultural diversity within our organisation’.
Rüger: ‘Our society is changing; there are now new groups, those that visit the Van Gogh Museum less frequently and that we are less familiar with. In Van Gogh Connects we will work together with youths with a Surinamese, Turkish, Antillean and Moroccan background – the largest and fastest growing minority group in the Netherlands – to explore how Van Gogh can inspire them’.
Impact Centre Erasmus
The aim of Van Gogh Connects is not only to reach new visitors, but also to gauge the social impact of this cultural participation. In this regard, the museum is collaborating with the Impact Centre Erasmus (ICE) from the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Rüger: ‘There is a growing focus on impact measurement in the academic world, but in the cultural sector, it is still in its infancy. That is why we want to develop a method of assessing our social impact on this target group’. The Van Gogh Museum will collaborate with the ICE and Fonds 21 to actively share the expertise, experiences and results with other cultural institutions and the academic field, in order to increase awareness of social responsibility within the museum world.
Fonds 21, the Van Gogh Museum’s partner, will support Van Gogh Connects for the duration of the project with an annual contribution of €150,000. Marie Hélène Cornips (Director of Fonds 21): ‘Van Gogh Connects dovetails with Fonds 21’s entrepreneurial standpoint of actively working towards realising a new and varied audience for professional art and culture.
We are also keen to collaborate with the Van Gogh Museum to give a strong boost to the measurement of the social impact of art, serving as an example for other cultural institutions. For Fonds 21, the Van Gogh Museum – with its established reputation in improving accessibility – is the obvious choice of institution to help involve young people from various backgrounds with art’.
The Van Gogh Museum is dedicated to making the life and work of Vincent van Gogh accessible to as many people as possible. In order to remain relevant to a wide audience, the museum’s inclusivity policy focuses on young people (in general as well as from Amsterdam), those with a physical disability and vulnerable elderly people. Van Gogh Connects will help the museum to reach young Amsterdam residents with a migrant background.