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Dutch Museum Gift Shop The Art of Giving

Dutch Museum Gift Shop The Art of Giving

The Art of Giving

Dutch Museum Gift Shop is a webshop where you can buy unique museum merchandise. Often in limited edition and specially developed for an exhibition. The aim of DMGS is to promote and sell museum products in order to support cultural heritage and provide museums with an independent source of income. 17 museums are now participating.

In 2019 I worked as an interim webshop coordinator for the Rijksmuseum. There I discovered that many museums sell very nice, educational and unique products but do not have their own webshop. And that’s a shame because it means they miss out on opportunities to sell items. For this reason I started www.dutchmuseumgiftshop.nl. At the beginning of 2020 my business plan was ready. I started approaching museums. Then the corona crisis broke out and most museums were closed, as were their museum shop and webshop. Eye did the opposite. The corona crisis saw this as an opportunity to open a webshop. They were the first to participate in DMGS. After Eye, the Rijksmuseum, Tropenmuseum and the Kunsthal followed. 17 museums are now participating.

My interest in art started when I was young. My parents were both art teachers. My father at the Ubbo Emmius teacher training course and my mother at the PABO. One of the books on DMGS is by Sam Drukker ‘Man in the Mirror’. My father recently told me that he had taught Sam Drukker, who has had an exhibition at the Drents Museum, at Ubbo Emmius and he was one of his best students.

I’ve been drawing since I can remember and after high school I went to the Art Academy. I then went on to study Cultural Anthropology and did research in Senegal and graduated on a study of the Mapuche Indians in Chile.

After my studies I started working as a CRM implementation manager, as an online marketing and e-commerce manager at companies such as Philips, Technische Unie and Getronics. My studies came in handy, without being commercial or marketing courses. Doing target group analysis, in order to subsequently determine your strategy, is also of great importance online. In addition, I started to focus on building websites.

1. Who am I as a company and what do I stand for?

All over the world we give each other gifts! At a birthday party, a wedding, a funeral or as an offering. But what is the secret of a good gift? In Japan, a lot of attention is paid to gift wrapping. The more layers, the better. The exhibition ‘Gift Hoezo’ in the Tropenmuseum, for example, shows a huge, “Instagrammable” installation of furoshiki (Japanese wrapping cloth) that you can step into, so that you become the gift yourself! The story of DMGS is that we want to give gifts with a message. Love = give = support.

Curating the articles is an important part of Dutch Museum Gift Shop. The Retail managers do this by offering a selection of products online, but also within DMGS to see which articles need which attention and when. This way you can find a gift for everyone. For example, are you looking for something for a real foodie? We make a selection of the nicest and most original must-haves for on the table or in the kitchen. A selection from the collection:

• Take a tray. Serving a dish starts with how you present it! The Overlook Hotel tray is inspired by the Overlook Hotel carpet in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 horror classic The Shining,

• Cooking is art! The RIJKS® Restaurant is a must-have eatery in Amsterdam. Reason enough for the Rijksmuseum to publish this cookbook. This is not just a recipe book, but an inventory of 50 typical Dutch ingredients ranging from asparagus to wild boar. Each ingredient appears in both a traditional and a modern dish, prepared by 50 leading Dutch chefs and patissiers.

• A design cup: Together with MVRDV, the architects of Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, Depot x MVRDV has made a silver cup. Based on the technical scale drawing of the depot in Rotterdam. The cup has a reflective silver glaze and is made of porcelain.

• Another great book is the best recipe book for movie and cocktail lovers. Cocktails of the Movies celebrates the greatest movie heroes and their iconic cocktails through original illustrations and 65 easy recipes. From Marilyn’s Manhattan in Some Like It Hot to The Dude’s White Russian in The Big Lebowski!

• Jan Sluijters was a Dutch painter and draftsman. Sluijters painted in all styles, but always figuratively. He painted many prominent compatriots on commission and became a community painter. Sluijters was known as a pioneer of Dutch modernism and was a source of inspiration for Piet Mondriaan and the later Cobra movement, among others. He painted quite realistically, but always with his characteristic bright use of color. This tea towel shows his work ‘Vase with Peonies’, from 1912.

• The wedding portraits of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit are the largest by the Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn and can be seen in the Rijksmuseum. Designer Sander Luske was inspired by the rich lace that Marten & Oopjen wear on the paintings. The pattern of this beautiful lace can be found on this porcelain espresso and coffee cup. What also makes these cups special is that they are handmade by people with a special distance from the labor market within the Design X Craft project.

DMGS sells many unique products. One of our best-selling articles is Irma Boom’s latest book. In this richly illustrated 1000-page mini-book, graphic designer Irma Boom once again explores and experiments the boundaries of book conventions and gives her vision on the essence of the printed book. An impressive and inspiring little masterpiece, published during the Irma Boom 2022 exhibition ‘Irma Boom. Book Manifesto in the Allard Pierson. A limited, signed edition is available in the Dutch Museum Gift Shop & Allard Pierson Museum.

The Allard Pierson Museum manages the design archive of Irma Boom (1960). Not the end product, but the design and production process are central to this hall exhibition. Her working method can be followed on the basis of preliminary stages of seven projects. In this way, five sheets reveal the graphic concept of her 1200+ page tribute to artist Ellsworth Kelly. There are also projects for architect Rem Koolhaas, textile artist Sheila Hicks, chronicler Jennifer Butler, fashion group Chanel, fashion artists Victor & Rolf and artist Martin Margiela. The finished printed works can be seen in videos.

Another bestseller is the bag collection designed for the Depot by Susan Bijl. As a child, Bijl wanted as little stuff as possible and when cleaning up her room, she often threw away too much. At the age of 14 she moved to Rotterdam. After high school she went to the Willem de Kooning academy.

In 2000 she designed the first New Shopping Bag. She wanted to design a bag that would reduce the plastic problem, that you could use for groceries and that was also beautiful. The bag is also designed with the philosophy: Less is more. Susan Bijl wanted a simple bag that you would recognize immediately, so she made the slash in the middle with a different color. The material Ripstop nylon is durable and strong and is also used for parachutes. Nowadays Susan Bijl sells different types of bags and pouches.

Susan Bijl designed a bag for Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen as an ode to the iconic art depot. The silver-grey bag made of recycled nylon, called: ‘The New Shopping Bag Mirror & Agaat’ (2020), now also called the ‘depot bag’, reflects the light just like the mirrors and the color of the actual building. The bag was for sale during the Zilveren Opening, the construction preview of the depot, last September. After the great success, a new edition follows. The shopping bag is an iconic Rotterdam design, the first version of which was designed in 2000. Since then, five different versions have been made, which eventually led to the bag, which is also available in silver. The five prototypes will soon be included in the museum’s collection and are a gift. This gives the design a place alongside designs by many other Rotterdam designers and design agencies, such as the chairs by Bertjan Pot and the lamps and vases by Studio Wieki Somers and Hella Jongerius. The prototypes will be placed in the plastic compartment of Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, where they will be kept, cared for and exhibited alongside the other more than 151,000 artefacts.

2. What beliefs are the foundation?

We believe in/we stand for sustainability, transparency and joint growth.

We believe that art, culture and science form the foundations for our society and identity. We believe in the art of giving. (We believe in the Art of Giving)

Our articles are generally:

  • Sustainable
  • Locally made
  • Unique / not available anywhere else
  • With a story

We are good at indicating the rationale behind an item that is sold through us. We are a shop for every art and culture loving (museum) visitor. Our platform also allows small museums to join us that would otherwise not be able to set up a profitable webshop, so that their articles are also available online.

3. Future

More and more museums are joining us. Museums from Belgium and Germany are also interested. In addition to the desire to go abroad, it is important to embark on new growth paths because this allows us to dream and inspire. Ultimately, we want to reach even more visitors and develop new initiatives, such as a museum pop-up store. We want to be able to take the next step in retail and boost the museum world (disruptive).

With this we show both the museum world and the customer that we exist and that we are more than just part of a museum visit. (We hope they can find us on their own if they’re looking for a gift with a story.)

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