88,000 visitors

88,000 visitors to the Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics

The Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics in Leeuwarden has had an exceptionally good year with 88,000 visitors, more than twice as much as in previous years. Most visitors came for Made in Holland: 400 years a global brand. The exhibition was awarded four stars by the NRC newspaper and was rated by visitors with an 8.3. The public’s favourite was In Motion: Ceramic Reflections in Contemporary Art, which was on view until 6 May. This major contemporary art exhibition was widely praised and received a score of no less than 8.6. Since 28 April, the museum has been honouring one of its most famous residents in the basement of the city palace: M.C. Escher. The Princessehof is ready to continue its success into 2019, with Made in Holland until 30 June and Sunken Treasures from 7 September.



Never before has the museum attracted so many visitors. Last year 36,834 people visited the museum; in 2016 it was 39,311. In 2017, the Princessehof celebrated its centenary and the museum was completely renovated. I29 interior architects won several international prizes for the design of the foyer, shop, tea salon and exhibition spaces and have been named as Interior Designer of the Year 2018. Visitors respond positively to the renovated Princessehof, thanks in part to the efforts of 68 volunteers. The museum has attracted many new visitors: 53% came to the museum for the first time. Almost a third of the visitors also went to the Fries Museum. The Princessehof is also a familiar destination for ceramics aficionados. For 30% of the visitors it was at least their third visit to the museum. This confirms the role of the Princessehof as the Netherlands’ national ceramics museum. The Princessehof received a lot of media attention and was mentioned in 868 articles in various media, with an advertising value of more than 2 million euros.


Economic significance

More than 50,000 visitors came to Leeuwarden especially for the Princessehof. Most people combined their museum visit with a dinner, a day of shopping or a weekend in Leeuwarden. On average, this group spent 58 euros per person in the city. This resulted in a considerable economic boost of almost 3 million euros. Also, 14% of the visitors slept an average of 1.3 nights. Because of the Princessehof there were more than 9,000 additional overnight stays in Leeuwarden.



In 2018, eight exhibitions opened in the Princessehof. The international exhibition Made in Holland: 400 years a global brand takes visitors back to the origins of typical Dutch export products, from Delft Blue to Art Nouveau and Dutch Design. The exhibition is viewable until 30 June 2019. EKWC@Princessehof is a series of temporary exhibitions of works by artists who have had completed a residency at the EKWC. Tattoo & Ceramics ran from 2 July to 25 November, and featured tableware painted by leading tattoo artists from the Netherlands and abroad. A collaboration with Leeuwarden-Fryslân Cultural Capital of Europe 2018. Currently, Lennart Lahuis is exhibiting his monumental wet-clay tablets inspired by Brexit. Other works from this series by Lahuis are being displayed simultaneously in the Fries Museum. Jelle Mastenbroek's works bridge the gap between ceramics and music in Design #4, on view until 27 October 2019. In the same period, the Princessehof will be paying tribute to Galerie De Witte Voet, winner of the Van Achterbergh Prize. Since 28 April, the basement of museum has been devoted to M.C. Escher, who was born in this building. The temporary exhibition Planeet Escher can also be seen is this space. In this project, various groups from the community are invited to be inspired by the famous graphic artist and to work creatively themselves.



This year, the Princessehof was the first museum in the Netherlands to purchase three blue-and-white printed vases by Olivier van Herpt. In doing so, the museum is once again fulfilling its leading role in the field of contemporary ceramics. The Princessehof had the popular Van Herpt on its radar from early in his career. In 2016 the museum gave the successful young designer a stage for his first solo presentation, even before his international breakthrough. The museum also purchased a number of works by Meekyoung Shin (South Korea, 1967). For the series Translation in the exhibition In Motion, she made replicas of Asian porcelain from soap.  


Young visitors

This year, the Princessehof organised 177 activities for young and old with a total of 5868 participants. More than 1300 preschoolers from Leeuwarden and the surrounding area participated in a special programme in which primary school groups 1 and 2 visited the Princessehof, the former city palace of Princess Marijke. And 764 pupils attending secondary and secondary vocational education participated in one of the three design competitions. During the annual Princess Day, 262 children dressed as princes or princess came to the Prinsentuin for a lively programme of dancing, songs and workshops. As in previous years, the day was a resounding success with the maximum number of participants, including many who would otherwise not necessarily visit a museum.



The Princessehof website was visited more than 127,000 times in the past year. The social media activities were also vibrant this year. On Facebook, the museum’s followers increased from 2340 to 3437 and on Twitter from 2560 to 2636.



From 7 September 2019 to 28 June 2020, the Princessehof presents the exhibition Sunken Treasures. In the exhibition, ceramic treasures from shipwrecks tell fascinating stories about the Maritime Silk Road.


This year the Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics and its exhibitions were made possible in part by the Mondriaan Fonds, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Stichting Woudsend Anno 1816, Stichting Van Achterbergh-Domhof, Stichting Het Nieuwe Stads Weeshuis, Vereniging van Vrienden Keramiekmuseum Princessehof, the Wassenbergh-Clarijs-Fontein Stichting, Stichting het Old Burger Weeshuis, the BankGiro Loterij, Ir. Abe Bonnema Stichting, Stichting Dioraphte, VSBfonds, St. Petersburg. Anthony Gasthuis, Meindersma-Sybenga Foundation, Dorodarte Foundation, Leeuwarder OndernemersFonds, GGB Bolhuis Fund, P.W. Janssen's Friesche Foundation, Stichting Herbert Duintjer Fonds, Boelstra-Olivier Foundation, Ottema-Kingma Foundation, Boersma-Adema Foundation, Ministry of Education, Culture & Science, KLM, Turing Foundation, Cultural Capital 2018, Fund 21, Stichting Juckema Siderius, Keramiekstichting van der Meulen, Mullerfonds, De Gijselaar-Hintzenfonds, EU-Japan Fest.

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