Marieke van Bommel
Press release:

Marieke van Bommel appointed managing director of the National Museum of World Cultures and the Rotterdam Wereldmuseum

Today, the Supervisory Board of the National Museum of World Cultures (NMVW) and the Rotterdam Wereldmuseum announced that Marieke van Bommel has been appointed managing director. She will fill the vacancy created earlier this year when Managing Director Stijn Schoonderwoerd joined the Dutch National Opera and Ballet. As of 1 January 2022, Marieke van Bommel and Content Director Wayne Modest will form the two-member board of the partnership of the four museums.

In her previous position as the managing director of the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) in Antwerp, Marieke van Bommel turned MAS into an open venue with close ties to the city and its communities through intensive participation processes. The innovative youth programme ‘MAS in Young Hands’ culminated in Instinct: the first exhibition created entirely for and by young people. MAS’s latest temporary exhibition, 100XCongo, received the British Museum & Heritage Awards for ‘Best International Exhibition of the Year’.


Under Van Bommel’s leadership, the MAS promoted its collection and core values to the museum’s partners and the general public. She further strengthened the MAS’s position both nationally and internationally as a place for the people of Antwerp, a place for experimentation, and a place where visitors come to look at the city, the world, and themselves.

At NMVW/Rotterdam Wereldmuseum, Van Bommel’s tasks will include encouraging the museums to increase their national and international relevance for an ever more diverse audience. Together with Content Director Wayne Modest, she is eminently placed to shape this process.

Marieke van Bommel: “I feel a strong connection with the mission of the National Museum of World Cultures and the Rotterdam Wereldmuseum to contribute to global citizenship. The Tropenmuseum, Museum of Ethnology, Africa Museum and the Rotterdam Wereldmuseum are highly relevant museums at the heart of society. It is precisely these museums that can contribute to the social debate about the connections between people and collections in the past, present, and future. I look forward to working with these wonderful collections and the teams at the NMVW and the Rotterdam Wereldmuseum.”

Content Director Wayne Modest is pleased about Marieke van Bommel’s appointment: “Both at home and abroad, the trend is for museums to re-assess their place in society. It comes down to the question of what museums are and what they should be in view of global and domestic developments. Within this framework, the NMVW and the Rotterdam Wereldmuseum continue to re-evaluate their own roles and their main collections in order to improve understanding of the past and the present. I look forward to working on this with Marieke van Bommel. Because of what she has achieved at the MAS, I know that we have a shared vision of what the museum should be, now and in the future.”

Koen Becking, Chairman of the Supervisory Board: “The Council is delighted to announce the appointment of Marieke van Bommel as the new managing director of NMVW and the Rotterdam Wereldmuseum. The Tropenmuseum, the Africa Museum and the Museum of Ethnology merged in 2014, and they have become relevant once again, and so has the Rotterdam Wereldmuseum. In addition to Van Bommel’s wealth of experience in the museum sector, we see great added value when it comes to connecting people, and past, present, and future – for both the collections and the museums. The NMVW’s mission is to contribute to a better world by connecting people, inspiring them, and tilting their perspectives. We believe that Marieke van Bommel as our managing director will join Wayne Modest, our content director, in giving a stimulating interpretation of this statement.”

About NMVW and Rotterdam Wereldmuseum

The Tropenmuseum, the Africa Museum and the Museum of Ethnology all focus on people. These museums aim to inspire an open view of the world, and they advocate global citizenship. In May 2017, the Rotterdam Wereldmuseum Rotterdam joined the NMVW partnership and shares in its mission and its collection.

Our collection tells you that in this world, we all laugh and love, celebrate and dance, we cry and mourn, pray and fight. It shows you that in this world, we all give and take, cherish and destroy, we dream and desire, create and change. Our collection proves to you that in this world, we are all extraordinarily human, tragically imperfect, but at the same time so very beautiful. Our collection shares with you that in this world, we are all different and yet all the same: human beings.

note to the editors, not for publication
NMVW/Rotterdam Wereldmuseum: Coromandel Brombacher, or by phone 06-53152835
MAS: Inge De Rouck, or by phone +32 495 89 33 12