The Van Gogh Museum is managed by Axel Rüger, Adriaan Dönszelmann and the Supervisory Board.
Van Gogh Museum Foundation
The Van Gogh Museum Foundation operates through a Board, consisting of the Director (Axel Rüger) and the Managing Director (Adriaan Dönszelmann), and a Supervisory Board. The Director chairs the Board, which administers the Foundation and is responsible for its day-to-day operations. The Board’s duties also include the implementation of programmes and activities. Everything the Board does is in keeping with the Foundation’s mission.
Axel Rüger – Director
Axel Rüger became the Van Gogh Museum’s Director in April 2006. He is in charge of Museum Affairs (Collection and Research, Collection Management and Restoration, Registrar’s Office, Collection Information, Education and Interpretation and Exhibitions) and Public Affairs (Marketing, Pressoffice, Digital Communication, Development, Visitors Service, Events, Publications and The Mesdag Collection).
Axel Rüger studied Art History at the Freie Universität in Berlin and then at Cambridge, before receiving his PhD at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
He worked at a number of museums in Atlanta, Detroit and Washington until 1999, when he was appointed Curator of Dutch Paintings (1600–1800) at the National Gallery in London. Axel Rüger curated two international exhibitions during his time in London:
- Vermeer and the Delft School (2001), in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
- Aelbert Cuyp (2002), with the National Gallery of Art in Washington
He contributed essays to the catalogues for these exhibitions, and has published and lectured widely on seventeenth-century Dutch art.
Axel Rüger was selected in 2004 to take part in the Clore Leadership Programme – a high-level initiative of the Clore Duffield Foundation in the UK, which focuses on the development of leadership in the cultural sector.
- Member Selection Committee TEFAF showcase
- Member of the Apeldoorn Conference Steering Group
- Trustee Art Fund
- Jury member Van Lanschot Kunstprijs
- Member Advisory Board Van Lanschot Kempen
- Member Stichting Marijn Brouwers Producties
Adriaan Dönszelmann – Managing Director
Adriaan Dönszelmann joined the Van Gogh Museum on 1 July 2011 as Manager Business Affairs. He was appointed Managing Director two years later. Adriaan is responsible for the Staf (Information manager and Professional Services), Staff Office, Quality & Business Control, Operations (Security, Facilities, HR, Finance and IT), Van Gogh Museum Enterprises (Buying and Merchandise, Logistics and Planning, Retail, E-commerce, BtoB and New Business) and the Meet Vincent van Gogh Experience.
Adriaan Dönszelmann (1972) received his Master’s in Town and Landscape Planning at Amsterdam University in 1997. After graduating, he spent just over ten years in a series of (financial) executive posts at Unisys, Logica, Telfort/British Telecom and Deloitte.
He moved over to the cultural sector in 2009, when he became Operational Manager at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam. Adriaan was jointly responsible there for rationalizing the museum’s commercial operations. He was also closely involved in its takeover of the management of the Portuguese Synagogue, and in the integration of the Jewish Historical Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue and the Hollandsche Schouwburg as a single enterprise.
- Cooperation partner JINC
- Member Supervisory Board Montessori Scholengemeenschap Amsterdam (School Community)
- Member Club van Elf
- Member Presidents Institute
Willem van Gogh – Advisor to the Board
Vincent Willem van Gogh (1953) is the great-grandson of Theo van Gogh, the artist’s brother. Having made his career as a lawyer, Willem van Gogh joined the Van Gogh Museum in 1999. He was initially responsible for the museum’s shops, before becoming Advisor to the Board in 2009. In his current role, Willem van Gogh works as an ambassador to expand and strengthen the museum’s network.
Babette Meerdink-Schenau - Secretary to the Board & Head of the Staff Office
Babette Meerdink-Schenau (1974) studied Dutch Law at Radboud University (Nijmegen) and International Trade Law at the University of London. She began her legal career at Houthoff Buruma before working for many years as a (legislative) lawyer at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. Babette also worked as a Clerk at the Enterprise Division of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal. She became Secretary to the Board of the Van Gogh Museum in September 2017, providing the Board with policy and legal support.