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Municipal Museum Schiedam, 2018-2022
On 14 May 2022, the Municipal Museum Schiedam was officially reopened in the presence of State Secretary for Culture and Media Gunay Uslu and Mayor Cor Lamers. It was a memorable day on which the museum doors reopened to the public and everyone could witness the result of the renovation that had taken place over the past three years.

History of a monument
The Municipal Museum Schiedam was founded in 1899 and has been located in the national monument Sint Jacobsgasthuis since 1941. This hospital was built in 1787 in a symmetrical, neo-classical style after a design by architect Jan Guidici. It was built on the site of an even older hospice which was founded around 1547 by Countess Aleida van Henegouwen. The property housed poor elderly people until 1934 and that function is apparent from its floor plan: in the centre of the building there is a large chapel with a wing on either side. The left wing was used as a men's wing and the right as a women's wing.

Research and integral approach
A thorough research process preceded the museum's renovation. Together with Bordewijk/De Adviseurs, Soda carried out a design study. Leading in this were finding solutions for various safety and construction problems and the malfunctioning installations, the wish to improve the sustainability of the national monument and enhancing the visitor experience.

The entire museum has been thoroughly and meticulously renovated. Exhibition halls, traffic areas and various visitor areas have been renewed and adapted. Together with Bordewijk/De Adviseurs, Bureau Soda was responsible for the design and supervision of the renovation, working closely with the museum, the municipality and specialised partners. Throughout the renovation process, the national monument was addressed with great care and, where possible, existing values of the building were reinforced. It also took into account more recent interventions such as those from 2013, when MVRDV designed the chapel as an entrance to replace the underground access via the square.  


Museum halls
As a result of the renovation, the museum has acquired beautiful exhibition halls. Virtually everything in these halls is new. The rooms have been made sustainable and insulated, sound is absorbed, the hall floors have been structurally improved, all installations have been eliminated and daylight can be admitted again, if desired.

A major danger when post-insulating monumental buildings with a museum function is an increased risk of condensation of vulnerable construction parts. To reduce this risk, capillary active insulation was used to insulate the exhibition rooms, in front of which ventilating pre-walls were installed. An additional advantage of this procedure is that the previously dominant installation could be concealed from view behind these walls.


Staircases and orientation
To tackle the existing problem of vertical art transport and exhibition materials, as well as improving visitor accessibility, the stairwells and lifts were enlarged and renewed. At the same time, the visual relation with the surroundings and the square has been restored, improving the orientation of visitors. This strongly enhances a pleasant visitor experience.


From an abandoned basement space to a vibrant education studio
With the renovation, the basement area, located in the heart of the building, has also been transformed. The former underground entrance on the square is closed and in the previously unused former entrance area, new spaces such as a cloakroom, city gallery, exhibition hall and an education studio have been created with great care for the existing structures. This central education studio is now the dynamic heart of the basement area where children can (actively) learn.    

Echo of the past
In the design, Soda tried to do justice to the national monument as much as possible. In this respect, Soda often subtly refers to the past, but without historicising it. One example is the colour palette applied in a number of rooms: the ceilings are a deep dark red, tending towards black, and the grey floors show a tiny touch of red. This is a hint to the 'oxblood' that was often used as a binding agent for paints in earlier times. The new layout of the stairwells also recalls the vanished 1930s staircase where the continuous handrails were a connective element linking the different floors.

Thus, the past echoes in this national monument from 1787 which, in 2022, as a museum is once again fully equipped for the present time.

The Stedelijk Museum Schiedam is a museum that presents modern and contemporary Dutch visual arts, including a large collection of artworks from the Cobra movement. In addition, the museum houses a cultural-historical collection. The museum was founded in 1899 and has been housed in the listed monument Sint Jacobs Gasthuis (1787) since 1940.

Consulting and executing parties renovation:
Installation consultancy: Energetica Advies, Bordewijk/De Adviseurs
Building physics: Engineering firm Physitec
Structural engineer: Van den Brink
Management: STEAD Advisory
Project management: Stevens Van Dijck
Lighting design: Beersnielsen Lichtontwerpers
Building contractor: BURGY Bouwbedrijf
Installation contractor: Kuijpers
Structural contractor basement area: Metz Nederland B.V.
Electrical engineering: Stigho Electro bv
Advisor museum: Toornend en partners
Advisor restoration: Vitruvius


Photos: Ernst Moritz
First photo: Zoro Feigl, 'Zwermen', 2020