Wim Pijbes (1961), General Director of the Rijksmuseum has announced his forthcoming departure, as of 1 August 2016; Pijbes has held this position since 1 July 2008. During this period he headed the extensive renovation, transformation and reopening of the Rijksmuseum. Pijbes will become the General Director of Voorlinden, a new contemporary art museum and nature reserve near the Dutch coast between the towns of Scheveningen and Wassenaar.
The Supervisory Board of the Rijksmuseum very much regrets his departure but respects his decision. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Chairman of the Board says: “With his relentless energy and motivation Wim Pijbes has played a crucial role to reshape the Rijksmuseum to what it actually is: a world class institution of Art and History.”
The first five years of Pijbes' directorate were marked by the reopening of the Rijksmuseum after a total renovation of the building and an internationally acclaimed reinstallation. Following the April 2013 reopening the visitor numbers doubled to 2.4 million in 2015. Youth attendance more than doubled, reaching 325,000 in the last year. The special attention given to innovative forms of education has become one of the corner stones of attracting future generations.
Pijbes: "It was with great pleasure and dedication that I completed the tasks that I had set myself when appointed. I was entrusted to lead one of the most beautiful museums in the world. With a team of fantastic and enthusiastic colleagues we were able to reopen the Rijksmuseum. The building is now open and thanks to our internationally renowned website the collection is visible to all. I am proud that visitors of all ages enjoy the gardens and the Teekenschool. The Rijksmuseum is in the hearts and minds of the public, and that makes me enormously grateful.”
In Pijbes' period the collection of the Rijksmuseum was considerably strengthened by donations and strategic acquisitions. The joint acquisition for the Rijksmuseum and the Louvre of the Rembrandt portraits of Maerten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit is a novelty in the museum world.