Van Gogh Museum launches successful initiative in Japan
At the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Tokyo, the Van Gogh Museum, in cooperation with KLM, Yakult and the Okura Hotel Tokyo, recently launched its Global Circle Japan. The Global Circle allows businesses and individuals to forge a bond with the museum through a financial contribution. These contributions are spent on special activities, such as educational projects. The launch was a success, with many new Japanese members joining the museum’s network. Furthermore, Geert Jan Mantel, CEO of Yanmar Europe, pledged 250,000 euros on behalf of the Japanese parent company Yanmar for the new entrance building that the Van Gogh Museum plans to build in Amsterdam’s Museum Square. A private individual also donated funds for a Japanese-language publication of a selection from Van Gogh’s letters. The Global Circle, which began in the Netherlands, will now be expanded to the United States, France and Switzerland.
Van Gogh Museum director Axel Rüger is extremely happy with the successful launch in Japan: ‘The Van Gogh Museum has had strong ties with Japan for many years. Vincent van Gogh was a great admirer of Japanese art, and he and his brother Theo jointly collected Japanese prints. Our exhibitions in Japan attract large numbers of visitors; a case in point is the recent Van Gogh in Paris: New Perspectives in Museum Huis Ten Bosch in Nagasaki and the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, which drew some 300,000 visitors in total. Van Gogh wrote a great deal about Japan and Japanese art. Our present exhibition wing was designed by the Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa and is also sponsored by a Japanese company. We are very pleased that our new entrance will be supported by a world-class Japanese corporation, further strengthening our bond with Japan. The donation for the Japanese version of a selection from the letters is another confirmation of our popularity there.’
Since 1912, Yanmar has been designed and produced diesel engines for use in many applications, such as seagoing vessels and agricultural machinery. Yanmar’s European distribution company has had its headquarters in the Netherlands since October 1988. After Yanmar’s contribution, the funds still to be raised for the new entrance building total somewhat more than 5 million euros. The Van Gogh Museum intends to start construction work on the new building next year. The draft design has been developed by Kisho Kurokawa Architect and Associates, the office of the late Kisho Kurokawa, the Japanese architect responsible for the Van Gogh Museum exhibition wing opened in 1999. The new entrance building will better integrate the Kurokawa wing with the main Rietveld building and improve the circulation of visitors through the museum.