Birgit Donker (1965) has been appointed the new director of the Nederlands Fotomuseum. She is replacing Ruud Visschedijk who lead the institute for seventeen years. Donker is currently director of the Mondriaan Fund, the public fund for visual art and cultural heritage in the Netherlands. Prior to that, she worked for NRC Handelsblad as both editor-in-chief and art reporter.
Hugo Bongers, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at The Nederlands Fotomuseum, is both pleased and proud to present Birgit Donker as the new director/administrator of the museum. “Birgit Donker strengthens and broadens the museum’s foundation as a heritage institution. Her knowledge, experience and networks in the world of culture and heritage strengthens the profile of the museum as the most important heritage institution for photography in the Netherlands and as one of the major photography museums in the world. Her previous experience as editor-in-chief at NRC Handelsblad broadens our perspective on the media world, which has been essential for the past century and a half in the development of photography as a medium used to explore and comprehend the world around us.”
Donker said about her appointment, “This is a fantastic opportunity. The Nederlands Fotomuseum is the leading museum in the country for photography and visual culture. It manages a treasure trove of images from the likes of Ed van der Elsken and Viviane Sassen and has a dynamic exhibition policy, currently with two exhibitions each about the works of Cas Oorthuys and Charlotte Dumas both highlights from the collection. What the museum is and does, can be brought more into the spotlight, and this is what I plan to focus on.”
The Fotomuseum manages a large percentage of the photographic heritage of the Netherlands, organises exhibitions on photography with a distinctly contemporary approach and serves as the knowledge centre for photography in our country. The museum considers photography a social and artistic medium and places it within the context of both visual culture and visual arts.
Donker began her career at Mondriaan Fund in 2012, where she was responsible for tackling the consequences of funding cuts for heritage and particularly for the visual arts (more than thirty percent). The focus of the policy at Mondriaan Fund was visibility, collaboration and patronage. In the meantime, Donker has received more funding, partly earmarked for the talent development of artists and for cultural heritage. In recent years, Donker has also held the position of Chairwoman of Netherlands Visual Arts, the consultation forum that developed the fee guidelines for visual artists.
Chairman Annelies van der Pauw of the Supervisory Board at the Mondriaan Fund: “Over the past six years, Birgit Donker has resolutely set up the new fund as the public fund for visual arts and cultural heritage. Important developments have been initiated under her leadership, such as introducing the artists’ honorarium and growing awareness of the great importance art and heritage has in our society. Another of her achievements is the success of the starters’ exhibition, ‘Prospects & Concepts’.”
Donker will begin working at The Nederlands Fotomuseum on 15 November.