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Research and reference => Numismatics => Topic started by: Figleaf on February 06, 2012, 11:32:30 AM

Title: Cutbacks at Geldmuseum, Utrecht
Post by: Figleaf on February 06, 2012, 11:32:30 AM
You can scrap the Utrecht Geldmuseum from your list of places to visit. Only an electronic kindergarten unrelated to coins remains. The collection is dormant.

Cutbacks at Geldmuseum Utrecht
by Christel Schollaardt and Ans ter Woerds

February 2, 2012 – For years the new Geldmuseum in Utrecht struggles with serious budgetary problems. Now the bigger part of the staff will be laid off, services will be extremely reduced, the research department cut off, the library closed and much more. Here you will find an information send by the Head of Department and the Librarian.

Since the merger of the Royal Coin Cabinet, the Dutch Mint Museum and the numismatic collection of the Dutch Central Bank in 2004, the new Geldmuseum struggles with serious budgetary problems.

Soon after the opening of the museum in 2007, the tuitions of the Founding Fathers, the Dutch Ministry of Culture, the Dutch Ministry of Finance and the Dutch Central Bank, appeared not to be sufficient for a healthy exploitation. Especially the rental fee for the building is excessively high.

This resulted in 2008 in the lay-off of 6 employees of the Department of Collection and Research. The Ministry of Finance was so kind to come to the rescue, and promised to pay 750,000 Euros extra for 3 years, under the condition that the museum would be self-supporting in 2011.

In 2009, the new director, Heleen Buijs, was confronted with this problem. She has not been able to find new sources of income. Fall 2011, the Ministry of Finance decided not to continue the extra money.

There was no other option than to reorganize the staff. Since the opening, it was obvious that the focus of the museum was no longer on numismatics, but on financial education. This already resulted in a permanent exhibition without collection, and in the end we can conclude that this change of direction made it easier to decide to cut off the research department. The director has chosen to keep the public side of the museum intact and sacrifice the scientific side, the Department of Collections and Research.

That has resulted in the lay-off of 9 people:

The Office-manager
The Head of the Department, Christel Schollaardt
The Curator of Medieval and Modern Coinage, Arent Pol
The Curator of Coins, Marcel van der Beek
The Curator of Medals, Carolien Voigtmann
The Financial Researcher, Gerard Borst
The Senior Researcher, Jaco Zuijderduijn
The Librarian, Ans ter Woerds
The Database Manager, Jan Pelsdonk.

There are plans to keep the library open for a limited amount of hours a week, hosted by volunteers, but officially there is nothing said about it, yet. There will be no budget for new publications. The library collection will not be built up, exchange will diminish and the international network of numismatic libraries will not be co-ordinated anymore by the librarian of the Geldmuseum. Questions for information from the library collection by external users will hardly be answered and accessibility will be limited to almost none.

Only two curators will remain: Paul Belien, Curator of Ancient Coinage and Erik van der Kam, Curator of Paper Money. The main part of their jobs will consist of making exhibitions.

All other expert fields are not longer covered by the Geldmuseum, let alone the overall knowledge and history of the collections as such. Cutting of the research part of the museum will be a great loss to the national and international numismatic world.

Source: Coins Weekly (
Title: Re: Cutbacks at Geldmuseum, Utrecht
Post by: akona20 on February 06, 2012, 11:51:00 AM
This is sad news indeed. Paul Belien still has a position which is excellent news.
Title: Re: Cutbacks at Geldmuseum, Utrecht
Post by: chrisild on February 06, 2012, 01:05:48 PM
Strange. I thought that one of the reasons for the mint to stay in the big old building was that the Money Museum would move in too. Well, if the rent is such an issue, maybe the museum can move to some other location?

Must admit though that, when I visit one of those "mixed" museums or exhibitions (where coins are just part of what is displayed), looking at lots of thumbnail sized coins can be tiring. A few selected exhibits, especially with magnifying glasses "mounted" in front of them, I find very appealing. But there are limits to what my eyes and joints can (or are willing to) do. ;)

Title: Re: Cutbacks at Geldmuseum, Utrecht
Post by: Md. Shariful Islam on February 06, 2012, 03:27:26 PM
Really very sad news. That indicate uncertain future of research. I guess some day there will remain only voluntary researchers. No paid research. Researchers will have to have their money both for collecting and then researching. They don't have to eat and they woun't have to have family life. Bad future.

Public side of the museum will remain open and the research unit will be closed. That means there will be coins only on display. There will be no descriptions of the coins. Visitors will only see the coins and will try to guess about them. Nice. Ohh. I forgot. There is WoC. The museum authority will open an account and will post the new coins here. Oesho, Peter, Overlord, NNasir, Akona... They will remain busy in the coming days.

Title: Re: Cutbacks at Geldmuseum, Utrecht
Post by: Figleaf on February 06, 2012, 04:25:29 PM
Sorry, Islam, there will not even be coins on display. The museum itself has become a collection of electronic games, so outdated the kids are losing interest (if the gadgets work in the first place). I fear the Museum has no future either. Move again? The ministry would not allow it. Frankly, I don't think the rent is even the probem. The real problem is the cost of setting up the games on borrowed money.

I know Arent Pol, Jan Pelsdonk and Christel Schollaardt personally. Their departure is a great loss. Arent knows the collections from having worked with it for decades and he knows coins like no one else. Jan did a pioneer job on Dutch lead tokens. Christel brought flexibility and the ability to bridge science and commercialism.

At least as bad is the loss of public services. Arent identified numismatic items people would bring to the museum at a glance. Jan registered the stuff metal detectorists found. Christel motivated and inspired special exhibitions.

To top it all off, all this serves no purpose. In the background is the Lehman crisis, which got the moderate right into power with the extreme right looking over their shoulder. They're hell-bent on balancing the budget, whatever the cost. This is where this all comes from. However, the European economy is set to take off again in the fourth quarter of 2012...

Title: Re: Cutbacks at Geldmuseum, Utrecht
Post by: chrisild on August 01, 2013, 11:38:21 PM
It may soon be over. ::)  Earlier this year (in June, I think) the Ministry of Finance ultimately stopped its "relations" with the Geldmuseum. The other two parties involved are, as mentioned before, the Ministry of Culture (OCW) and the Dutch central bank DNB. Last month the CDA and D66 (two politicial parties) made an attempt at keeping the subsidies, but Parliament (Tweede Kamer) decided ( a little later that the museum will, as from next year, not get any more government money ...

One option is to merge the Geldmuseum and the DNB Visitor Center ( in Amsterdam. (Both links in Dutch.) Another idea is to split the museum up again - until 2004 (see first post) there were three separate collections. We'll see what happens.

Title: Re: Cutbacks at Geldmuseum, Utrecht
Post by: chrisild on October 13, 2013, 03:22:30 PM
MünzenWoche and CoinsWeekly just published articles about the imminent death of the Geldmuseum. Here is the English language version:

Brief abstract: The museum has to close by the end of this year. However, since they need two months to clean up, so to say, the end of October is when the museum will close its doors. Edit: Attached is an image ( (in Dutch) from the museum's website.

Title: Cutbacks at Geldmuseum, Utrecht
Post by: Bimat on October 13, 2013, 04:54:50 PM
That's a very sad news... :(

Title: Re: Cutbacks at Geldmuseum, Utrecht
Post by: Figleaf on October 13, 2013, 06:08:39 PM
Shameful. The new set-up, heavily pushed by OCW was untenable. Sure, the income was there, but not the means to make it sustainable. Of course, OCW will never take its responsibility. The system wouldn't allow it. Civil servants who admit to being wrong on anything might as well start looking for another job. The result is cultural barbarism such as this, only to protect the civil servants who were so woefully wrong.

The knowledge of the staff is spread or lost already. The museum has a world class collection of coins and related stuff. The only way to increase the damage is to dissolve the collection. That is by no means excluded.

Title: Re: Cutbacks at Geldmuseum, Utrecht
Post by: Figleaf on October 23, 2013, 11:04:40 PM
To my surprise, I was invited for an annual happening (Van Gelder lezing) of the museum, to take place on 21st November, almost a month after the official closing date. Unfortunately, though I will be in the Netherlands that evening, I will have other obligations. If anyone plans to attend, could you contact me, please?

Title: Re: Cutbacks at Geldmuseum, Utrecht
Post by: chrisild on October 23, 2013, 11:12:23 PM
As for the date, well, the Geldmuseum has to be out by the end of this year. Guess they can do both - empty out the museum, and have a lecture in the building. :)

Title: Re: Cutbacks at Geldmuseum, Utrecht
Post by: chrisild on October 08, 2014, 12:42:41 PM
All "" links will now take you to the web interface of the "muntvondstendatabase", a collection of coin finds:

The museum is closed, and the Dutch central bank (DNB) now has the collection. It will apparently not be displayed in a new museum but, step by step, be made available online. The DNB also plans to give parts of this National Numismatic Collection ( as a temporary loan to interested museums in the Netherlands.

Title: Re: Cutbacks at Geldmuseum, Utrecht
Post by: chrisild on February 23, 2015, 01:40:12 PM
All "" links will now take you to the web interface of the "muntvondstendatabase", a collection of coin finds

... which is (as far as I can tell) no longer available online. ::)

Title: Re: Cutbacks at Geldmuseum, Utrecht
Post by: Figleaf on February 23, 2015, 03:18:28 PM
The Dutch Central Bank, now the owner of the database, says it is still there and new finds are being fed into it, but it is no longer available online.

Title: Re: Cutbacks at Geldmuseum, Utrecht
Post by: chrisild on March 05, 2017, 01:26:04 AM
Back to this topic after two years. :)  I just read an article at CoinsWeekly ( about the National Numismatic Collection. It is an interview with NNC manager Ewout van Haeften who says it is extremely unlike that the collection will be publicly accessible. But they are indeed working on making the NNC, and also the NUMIS finds database, available online. Many items are listed (in Dutch and in English), some - mostly paper money, I think - come with images.

Title: Re: Cutbacks at Geldmuseum, Utrecht
Post by: eurocoin on March 05, 2017, 10:03:15 PM
These are the kind of things I want to read in the Muntkoerier, which these days is no more than heavily surcharged toilet paper.

It is very bad that there is no cooperation between the Royal Dutch Mint and the NNC. Of course sometimes the Royal Dutch Mint provides some stuff but there should be an agreement between DNB and RDM.