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The First Dutch Museum Management Training Programme to Run in China


Photograph reference: China is building museums in a steady pace of an average of 100 new museums per year. French architect Jean Nouvel has made the design for the new building of the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) in Beijing's Olympic Park, near the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Birds Nest stadium.


Coordinated by DutchCulture and the Dutch Embassy in China, from May 11th to 17th a delegation of museum experts and government officials from the Netherlands will visit Beijing to exchange expertise in the field of museum management with Chinese counterparts. This very first Dutch museum management training programme is ready to commence after one-year preparation and constructive collaborations with the Chinese Ministry of Culture.

The delegation consists of four museum experts from the Van Gogh Museum and the Reinwardt Academy of Museology in Amsterdam, as well as two representatives of the Dutch Ministry of Culture, Education and Science (OC&W): Mr. Sander Bersee, Director of Arts and Heritage and Deputy Director General of Culture and Media, and Mr. Kees Somer, Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Heritage and Arts. They will be accompanied by Ms. Monique Knapen and Mr. Ian Yang from the China Desk of DutchCulture.

By presenting one of the oldest civilizations in history to an ever growing (international) audience, museums in China are responsible for maintaining and exhibiting some of the oldest and valuable artifacts of the world. At the same time, numerous new, modern museums buildings have been popping up all over the country in recent years; with an average of 100 new museums per year, China’s cultural field has witnessed a rapid ‘museum-ification’. Museums in The Netherlands are eager to collaborate with all these new museum developments across China and to learn more about working within larger scales in different contexts.

Operating in a country where the number of available museums per person is among the highest worldwide, Dutch museums provide an excellent showcase of museums in general. With over 60 museums in total, Amsterdam has the highest museum density of all cities around the world. This list includes the renowned Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, among many others. Over all, museums in the Netherlands attract a continuously growing amount of visitors, and in relative comparison to neighboring countries, their visitor numbers are substantially high.

Sino-Dutch Cultural Cooperation 

The two countries’ Cultural Ministers partnered-up in 2014 by renewing an important Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cultural collaboration, placing particular emphasis on the museum sector. After one intensive year of preparations led by DutchCulture, the executive Dutch organization for the MoU, the management trainings will mark the second important realization of Sino-Dutch cultural collaboration as agreed upon in the MoU in this area.

A Tailor-made Collaborative Programme 

Supported by the Chinese Ministry of Culture, a large group of curators and managers from significant museums all over China have confirmed their attendance to the Dutch training programme, which includes lectures, workshops and fieldworks around the topics of collection management and exhibition development, and also interactive networking events with the participants.

Participating museums include the National Museum of China, the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), the brand new Tianjian Art Museum, the Nanjing City Museum, the Guangdong Museum of Arts, as well as key private museums like Shanghai’s YuZ Art Museum, Sifang Art Museum in Nanjing, among many more.

Top Museum Institutions to Share Expertise 

The Reinwardt Academy in Amsterdam – famous for its outstanding curriculum in museology – will contribute by providing a five-day course called ‘Exhibition Development’. The educational approach of this Academy is famous for teaching how to merge both the educational and the communicational components of curation into exhibitions that fit perfectly to the pre-determined focus groups. Besides getting acquainted with this so-called ‘exhibition language’, participants will also gain further insight into the practical organization behind exhibitions.

At the same time experienced representatives of the Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam will give a five-day course ‘Collection Care and Management’. This course will discuss some recurring challenges of museum management such as (the lack of) well-educated staff, the high costs and regulations of collection management and the struggle between preserving on one hand, and commercializing the collections on the other. After finishing the course, the participants will have acquired basic theoretical knowledge and practical insights into managing the collection for both long-term qualitative goals as well as short-term (audience) gains.

DutchCulture enables more relevant, more efficient and more effective cooperation in the cultural field and to increase the visibility of international cultural cooperation. We are looking forward to a fruitful and constructive training programme together with our partners and friends in ChinaFor more information, please feel free to contact us.