Van Gogh Museum most visited museum in the Netherlands

The Van Gogh Museum will close the year having welcomed a new record of circa 2.260.000 visitors, making it the most visited museum in the Netherlands in 2017. Axel Rüger (Director of the Van Gogh Museum): “This milestone demonstrates how Vincent van Gogh still inspires innumerable people all around the world. That is fantastic.”

Van Gogh Museum
© Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum

Record number of visitors and becomes most visited museum in the Netherlands

And even more importantly, nearly 90 per cent of our visitors rate their visit as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’. This high level of appreciation was also reflected in extensive research published by the Erasmus University Rotterdam earlier this year into the reputation of the 18 most famous art museums in the world.

European respondents placed the Van Gogh Museum in first place in this reputation ranking, closely followed by the Louvre.

That is something that the museum is very proud of, as that’s ultimately what it all comes down to: the quality of the museum visit’.


The museum’s online fan base also grew exponentially.

The Facebook pages of the Van Gogh Museum and of Vincent van Gogh, both managed by the museum, now have a joint total of more than 4.4 million followers. The Van Gogh Museum Twitter account now has more than 1.4 million fans and in the past year, the number of followers on Instagram doubled to more than 500,000.

With these impressive figures, the museum positions itself – alongside the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Saatchi Gallery – firmly in the international top-five of museums on social media. The museum’s own website attracted more than 3.2 million unique visitors in the past year.

Facebook-based project

Several events at the museum captured the imagination of visitors in 2017. Alongside the presentation of the two stolen paintings that were recovered in Naples in late 2016, it hosted the popular exhibitions Prints in Paris 1900, The Dutch in Paris 1789-1914 and Van Gogh, Rousseau, Corot: In the Forest. There was also international interest for innovative projects such as ‘#SunflowersLIVE’, in which five live streams digitally reunited five of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers paintings. With this Facebook-based project, the Van Gogh Museum reached millions of art lovers from the Netherlands and much farther afield.

Visitors from more than 125 countries

Vincent van Gogh himself, the museum’s permanent collection and the programme of exhibitions all continue to hold great appeal to visitors from more than 125 countries. Visitor numbers in 2017 increased compared to 2016, from nearly 2.1 million to 2.26 million.

The number of Dutch visitors increased dramatically compared to the previous year, rising by nearly 25 per cent to a total of nearly 350.000. Most visitors were therefore once again from the Netherlands, followed by the United States, Italy, France, Great Britain and Germany.

Notable increases in visitor numbers were also evident for countries including China and South Korea: the number of visitors from these countries increased by 50 per cent. 2017 also saw the launch of Van Gogh verbindt (Van Gogh Unites) project.

This four-year learning path is designed to help the museum to become more relevant to young people in Amsterdam with a Surinamese, Turkish, Antillean or Moroccan background.
The number of schoolchildren that visited the museum in the past year also rose. More than 57.000 pupils visited the museum with their schools, an increase of 24 per cent compared to the previous year.

Axel Ruger in front of the Van Gogh Museum
Axel Ruger in front of the Van Gogh Museum

Improved distribution and high appreciation

Sales of tickets with a time slot increased dramatically in the past year: whereas a third of visitors purchased such a ticket in 2016, more than half of visitors to the museum now purchase a time-slotted ticket. Time-slotted tickets help to improve visitor distribution throughout the day, and ensure that the peaks and lows of visitor flows are less pronounced.
Visitor appreciation of the museum remains high: nearly 90 per cent of the visitors rate their visit as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’, and indicate, for example, that they ‘are given food for thought’, ‘are inspired’ and ‘are touched’.
The intense interest and quest for inspiration is also reflected in the milestone reached by the Van Gogh Museum multimedia guide in 2017: in the past year, the millionth interactive audio guide was presented to a visitor. An average of one in five visitors – one in four in peak season – uses the multimedia guide to discover and gain a better understanding of Vincent van Gogh and his art.

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