Shell sponsorship agreement with Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum ends
The museum and the Mauritshuis in The Hague have stopped cooperating with the oil company by “mutual decision”
Two of the major Dutch museums have just ended their cooperation with Shell, at a time of increasing protests about sponsoring by companies with fossil fuels. The Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum and the Mauritshuis in The Hague both ended this summer with the largest oil and gas company in the country.
A Mauritshuis spokesperson said that it had a six-year cooperation contract with Shell, which would end in July and not be renewed. Surprisingly, however, the Mauritshuis’ latest annual report states that the support of the oil company Nederland and two other partners is’ crucial for the future of the museum in the long term ‘. Shell also supported technical research into paintings by Jan Steen, but this work is almost complete and will be published by the end of the year.
A statement from the Van Gogh Museum says that after eighteen years of Shell support their sponsoring has ended earlier this month. In the past five years, this has focused on Van Gogh’s 1888-90 paintings and although the technical research may have been completed, publication of the resulting catalog is still available for a number of years. Axel Rüger, the museum director, thanked the oil company for “an extremely rewarding collaboration”.
A Shell Netherlands spokesperson says her relationship with the two museums was ended by “mutual decisions”.
The ties of the Mauritshuis and the Van Gogh Museum with Shell have been attacked by the Fossil Free Culture group, which has set up protests. The spokesperson says that it “would like to think that the museums took ethical decisions”.
In the United Kingdom, museums that receive sponsorship from BP have also been the subject of protests. The support of Tate by BP was not extended in 2016, although the British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery continue their relationship with the company.