CULTURE: New Study Shows That European Museums Are More Trusted Than American Ones

August 29, 2017

A new reputation study comparing 18 of the most famous art museums in the world shows European institutions emerge on top worldwide, with many scoring higher than the world’s most reputed businesses.

The study, published by Professor Cees van Riel of Erasmus University’s Rotterdam School of Management and senior research analyst Patricia Heijndijk, surveyed 12,000 people from 10 different countries.

Van Riel has been examining the reputations of museums in the Netherlands for several years already, but such a large-scale study for international art museums is the first of its kind. Using RepTrak®, the same standardized instrument that is applied to businesses, van Riel’s study identified seven drivers of reputation: products and services, innovative capacity, workplace, governance, citizenship, leadership, and financial performance.

Unsurprisingly, the Louvre, which remains the largest and most visited museum in the world despite this year’s 15 percent drop in visitor numbers, came in first worldwide, scoring 84.3 out of 100. But in an unexpected finding, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which houses the world’s largest collection of works and letters by Vincent van Gogh, eked ahead of the Louvre among European respondents, who gave it a score of 85.8 compared to the Louvre’s 85.6.

Worldwide, the Van Gogh Museum’s reputation placed second. Its 81.9 score was possibly aided by the strong global reputation of Amsterdam and the Netherlands, which is further evinced by the ranking of another Dutch institution, the Rijksmuseum (81.7), in third place.

The eight best reputed museums worldwide are all European, including the Vatican Museums, Madrid’s Prado, and the British Museum. Tate Modern in London is also very well regarded.

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