Amstelveen’s Cobra Museum of Modern Art rescued by business owner
Art lover and prominent business owner Marius Touwen has stepped up to provide the struggling Cobra Museum of Modern Art with some desperately needed financing to allow the Amstelveen institution to remain open. The museum has been at odds with the city council there, which has said it intends to heavily cut subsidies to the museum as its attendance has waned.
The museum has been in trouble for several years, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic, and national economic difficulties recently. The museum collects 60 percent of its operating capital from visitors, with the rest coming from Amstelveen. “Last week, the city council proposed closing the museum. It doesn’t have to come to that now,” the museum said on Monday.
When examining the museum’s accountancy, Touwen said, “I see no reason to be so panicky about the museum’s financial situation when I look at the figures.” Continued strong exhibits will help boost attendance, while support from the city and others will ensure the museum’s longevity. Currently, Amstelveen provides under 1.3 million euros per year to the museum.
Touwen is a shareholder in the Red Cross Hospital in Beverwijk, and founded the health and safety firm Zorg van de Zaak. His wealth was estimated by Quote magazine at 91 million euros for the 2019 Quote 500 list, six-times higher than his worth in 2012.
The Cobra Museum said Touwen, a renowned art lover, extended a credit facility to the museum. “This development rescues the museum from its acute financial crisis and allows it to engage in a new dialogue with the municipality of Amstelveen. There is now more time and space to develop a structural solution for the museum’s long-term survival, with careful consideration of various future scenarios for their attractiveness and feasibility,” the museum said in a statement on Monday.
The credit facility is “a lifeline for the museum,” and will help them put their finances in order. “This enables the museum and the municipality of Amstelveen to develop a sustainable and viable strategy for the future.”
Touwen hopes to leverage the credit line to offer more input in the museum’s programming, and to work with management to get the museum back on strong footing.
The coalition of Amstelveen’s mayor and aldermen recommended stripping the museum of its subsidy, fearing they were throwing money down the drain on a museum where the debt level rose by 700,000 euros last year to cover shortfalls. The full City Council is set to vote on the matter by the end of the month.