Director of The State Hermitage Museum
of the Hermitage-on-the-Amstel
It was he who established the traditions of mutual attraction
and cooperation which bore many fruits of success. Among them
there is a modest Hermitage-Amsterdam centre and a grandiose
Petersburg whose original name derived from the Dutch language.
The Hermitage-Amsterdam centre is a result of many years
of hard work and experiments. Among them there have been: exhibitions
(ten exhibitions in total), sponsor projects, restoration works,
the Hermitage for Children project. Preparatory research has
been carried out in economical and construction fields. Such
a thoroughly elaborated project is deemed to succeed.
The Hermitage-Amsterdam centre was established in the atmosphere
of such mutual attraction and goodwill that otherwise can rarely
be found in the world. For that we are grateful not only to
our first friend Ernst Veen and his staff, but also to all our
friends from the museums in the Netherlands who accepted us
in their family. We are grateful to the Hermitage-on-the-Amstel
foundation, the Hermitage Friends in the Netherlands, the mayors
of Amsterdam and their staff, our counterparts from Dutch museums,
a big group of officials in Holland, journalists and ordinary
people, private and corporate sponsors. We are especially touched
by the long-term personal support by HER MAJESTY Queen Beatrix,
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS Prince Willem-Alexander and HER ROYAL HIGHNESS
Princess Maxima. A remarkable example of international goodwill
was blessed by the high officials of the Russian Federation
and the Ministry of Culture. More than one hundred employees
of the Hermitage worked for the realization of our common dream.
The project born in the atmosphere of such a sincere friendship
is deemed to succeed.
Together we have established a new cooperation model where we
managed to find a mechanism for uniting state, non-profit and
private structures, combining various cultural and organizational
traditions. The Hermitage has been granted an opportunity for
a better fulfillment of its global mission of a world museum.
In Amsterdam there has emerged a new centre of cultural attraction
belonging both to Russia and to Europe. It enriches the life
of Amsterdam and attracts culture lovers to St Petersburg.
According to our plan, this centre will become not just a model
for innovative relationships, but also a place where museums
and other cultural institutes from the whole Russia and the
whole Europe will work together in order to create a truly common
cultural space. That was our intention from the very beginning,
and now there are new opportunities for that.
Tsar Peter founded the first public museum in Russia. Many
of the astonishing exhibits of the Kunstkammer were bought by
Tsar Peter himself in Holland. The visitors were encouraged
to come to the museum by a free shot of vodka. Nowadays people
are ready to stand in long queues for hours in order to visit
The museum tradition has come to Russia from Europe. It comes
back here in a new, enriched and useful for Europe form.
Tsar Peter would be pleased.