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The Wereldmuseum Rotterdam completes its extensive renovation and will reopen fully to the public on 4 September. With this, its top collection will return to the Willemskade. The museum marks this moment with the opening of two exhibitions: Kruispunt Rotterdam and Remix Rotterdam.
Director Stijn Schoonderwoerd: "With the renovation of the Wereldmuseum
and the new exhibition design, the city once again has a modern museum for and by Rotterdam, with its wealth of cultures. The recent positive advice of the Rotterdam Council for Art and Culture shows that we are on the right track".
Schoonderwoerd continues: "At Kruispunt Rotterdam and Remix Rotterdam, visitors are challenged to look with an open mind and be surprised. In both exhibitions, connections are made between past and present. In this way, the Wereldmuseum presents the city of Rotterdam as a crossroads of many worlds, histories and human stories. Connecting and challenging the people who live there with a broader view of the world, that is what the new Wereldmuseum stands for. Especially in Rotterdam with so many cultures and backgrounds".
Kruispunt [intersection] Rotterdam
In the contemporary semi-permanent exhibition Kruispunt Rotterdam, the museum places its collection in a contemporary context. Supplemented with new works by artists, artists and Rotterdammers who have been inspired by the museum's collection. As a kind of dialogue between then and now, far away and close by. Kruispunt Rotterdam makes it clear that Rotterdam has always brought the world closer, starting with (trade) journeys, and today it is home to more than 170 nationalities.
This awareness begins immediately upon entering, with the work Globetrotter Rotterdam by spoken word artist Derek Otte, which places the history of the museum in the context of the current debate in society. The central theme in the exhibition is the dynamics between cultures. The visitor is taken on board on the basis of three questions: How did the collection come about? What stories does the collection tell today? How can the Wereldmuseum best collect in the future to better reflect the cultural dynamics of Rotterdam?
"Cultures and the identities derived from them are in motion through mutual exchange," says curator Priya Swamy. "For example, Kruispunt Rotterdam tells the story behind batik and the innovation within traditional batik techniques in contact with the Middle East, India, China and Europe. Or take the story of the tulip; a typical Dutch symbol, that entered the Netherlands through relations with Turkey." The museum is also showing new work by Sarojini Lewis and Kevin Osepa, among others, as well as interviews with musicians, such as those of the band Broederliefde.
Remix Rotterdam: Boijmans x Wereldmuseum
The other exhibition that is opening at Wereldmuseum on 4 September is Remix Rotterdam. In this way, the museum gives further substance to its desire to be a recognizable Rotterdam museum in which the city's collection is central. The collaborative exhibition Remix Rotterdam is part of the Boijmans bij de Buren project, which is made possible by Stichting Droom en Daad. This exhibition also challenges visitors to the Wereldmuseum to look at their own collection and that of the Boijmans differently. Because what do Jean-Michel Basquiat and Gordon Bennett have in common? Or how does a Syrian apothecary end up on a painting from circa 1425 by the Flemish artist Jan van Eyck? "The combination of historical and contemporary design, ethnography and visual art makes unknown histories visible, resulting in new stories", according to curators Wouter Welling and Alexandra van Dongen.
A museum in transition
The Wereldmuseum has been undergoing renovation since 2016. The museum is being transformed into a museum that broadens the view of the world and places history in a contemporary context. The museum has been gradually opening its doors since 2019. Starting in July 2019 with the family exhibition Superstraat, opened by Queen Maxima and in October of that year, Dossier Indië opened. With the opening of Kruispunt Rotterdam and Remix Rotterdam, the renovation is complete and the offer will be complete from 4 September. With the renovation a new climate system has been installed, the windows to the river Maas have been opened, educational spaces have been set up and a completely new visitor routing has been introduced.
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