Patrick went back to working in the museum world, spending several years at the Filmmuseum and Netherlands Architecture Institute (where he was deputy and interim director). Before coming to the Stedelijk, he was business director of the International Film Festival in Rotterdam. This is the largest public film festival in the world with 350,000 visitors and 3,000 professional guests from around the world all within 12 days. Patrick reflected on the kind of aspects a museum has in terms of festivals, “I like it because it gives me a lot of good tension and natural energy. You have to have both in the museum. When you don’t have these kinds of events where you really have to make an effort to get it right in time and involve a lot of people, then it wouldn’t be a place I would like to work.”
It was clear to me that Patrick’s wide range of organizational and management experiences in different kinds of cultural institutions and in media made him a good foil to the skills Ann brings to the Stedelijk. “In the new world of the museum director, you cannot excel on all sides,” he said. I asked him about what departments he oversees. He is responsible for marketing, finance, human resources, fundraising and sponsoring, development, ICT and also things like the shop and hospitality. In most cases, the division is normally that the general director is outward orientated and the business director is inward. This is not the case at the Stedelijk; Patrick is also outwards due to the communication and fund raising aspects of his position. Whilst we made the comparisons between different type of director, Patrick made the point that his role is more common in world of theatre.
So what are his main goals as business director? “One of my main ambitions is to make this museum sustainable and financially stable in a world that is quite turbulent.” This means not being dependent on one source of income. Patrick described the ideal being the balance between three main sources of income: subsidy, to maintain collection/building and to do educational work (the collection of the Stedelijk is still owned by the city); Income generated through activities, entrance fees, the shop and rental of space; the third source being sponsoring and private donations. Patrick said it will be a huge challenge to get more independence from government subsidy. Right now, it’s 70-80%. Patrick wants to bring it back to 60%.
When I asked how his first year has been at the Stedelijk, Patrick said one word, “Exciting.” To think that a year ago the Stedelijk Museum was a closed building. Now, it is open with highlights from its collections and offers a thriving public program of events and educational activities. Patrick told me the current objective is for the Stedelijk is to return the heart of artistic developments in the world of visual arts. So much is dependent on making sure people in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and across the world know that the Stedelijk Museum is back.