British-Dutch oil and gas giant Shell is rapidly losing social acceptance in the cultural sector in the Netherlands. At the end of last month, the globally renowned Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam decided to end its 18-year sponsorship deal with Shell.

At the same time, two prestigious Dutch museums followed suit: Neither the Mauritshuis, a museum of Dutch art that features exhibitions in its Royal Dutch Shell Wing, nor science and culture museum Museon will accept Shell’s sponsorship money any longer.

Both the Mauritshuis and the Museon are situated in The Hague, home to Shell’s international headquarters.

Fossil Free Culture NL has been campaigning for the Van Gogh Museum to drop Shell as a sponsor. They have been staging a series of disobedient performances to erode public image of the fossil fuel industry whose business model has pushed our climate to the breaking point.

Fossil Free Culture celebrated this milestone saying:

“The deal dropping domino effect is no coincidence. We believe an ethical tipping point in sponsorship norms has been reached in the Dutch cultural sector. […] At long last, it’s time for the fossil fuel industry to take their well-deserved place alongside tobacco as morally unacceptable sponsors.”

We’ll be making more space to hear more from Fossil Free Culture NL (FFC-NL) about the story that has led to this amazing victory, which included their recent ‘Art Storm’. Within a period of five weeks, FFC-NL organised and executed a series of disobedient escalative interventions at the museum. These unannounced disruptions kept throwing a negative spotlight on the museum, building more and more pressure on them to finally act.

The Art Storm involved…

… Shell’s oil-stained finger prints appearing on the museum

Photo: Laura Ponchel