On Thursday, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium unveiled their attendance figures for 2022. They revealed that their six establishments had attracted over 650,000 guests last year, reaching the pre-pandemic levels of 2018.
In 2021 as a result of the Covid-19 lockdowns, the museums saw a reduced number of 303,194 visitors the latest figure of 652,249 for 2022 will have come as good news for the museum's management.
While nowhere near the Royal Museums' record figure of 1 million in 2019, last year's number of guests is close to the pre-pandemic levels of 680,089 and 664,221, in 2018 and 2017 respectively.
Furthermore, most of the visits came from Belgium, as Belgians accounted for 76% of the guests. The second-highest number of visitors came from France, which the French accounting for 10% of visitors in 2022.
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Nonetheless, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium expect 2023 to be much tougher, due to both financial and internal issues.
Firstly, management has stated that the museum is under "extreme budgetary pressure" due to the multiple crises that have beset Belgium, and Europe in general. With the after-effects of the pandemic still being felt on the museum's finances, the inflation generated by the energy crisis has further dented their budget.
Additionally, the museums will have to wait and see whether visitors will be turned away by recent reports of sexist behaviour by Michel Draguet, the museum's director. In late December, news came out that 31 of the establishment's employees had signed an open letter condemning a toxic work culture festered by Draguet in the workplace.
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium are a group of art museums in Brussels, Belgium. They include six museums: the Oldmasters Museum, the Magritte Museum, the Fin-de-Siècle Museum, the Modern Museum, the Antoine Wiertz Museum and the Constantin Meunier Museum.