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Artishock Events & Marketing - Opening JB500

After nine years of preparation, the exhibition Hieronymus Bosch – Visions of Genius was opened by King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands on 12 February 2016. National television reported live on the opening, which was attended by 700 VIPs and other guests and for which thousands of residents of ’s-Hertogenbosch turned out.


35.000.000         euros media value
1.200.000            tourists to ’s-Hertogenbosch
510.000                visitors to exhibition
35.000                  litres of ‘Jeroen Boschbier’

The invitation process

The guest list consisted of four target groups who were invited for specific items on the programme by means of a posted invitation. Because this was a private event, it was necessary to rule out uninvited registrations. To achieve this, a personal code was printed on each invitation, allowing invited guests to activate the registration form on the event site.

The event

The exhibition Hieronymus Bosch – Visions of Genius was opened by King Willem-Alexander after 700 guests had attended the opening programme in St. John’s Cathedral and the assembled party had walked through the city to the Noordbrabants Museum. The route was lined by thousands of members of the public eager to catch a glimpse of the parade and appearances by Ali B., Brownie Dutch and Jelle Amersfoort.

The event was broadcast live on national television and the Internet (in hybrid form) and there was also great interest on social media: # JB500 was a trending topic on Twitter. The international media also covered the event and the exhibition itself.

The publicity for Hieronymus Bosch Year in newspapers and magazines and on radio and television had a combined value of 35 million euros.

Expectations exceeded

The event fired the starting-gun for a success story that exceeded all expectations. Initially, a million tourists had been identified as a target for the whole year, but that figure had already been exceeded by 20% by August, and the 510,000 visitors welcomed at the Noordbrabants Museum represented a record total. In the last two weeks of the exhibition, the museum opened its doors from 8 am to 1 am every day, and over the closing weekend it was open for 39 hours non-stop in response to enormous public interest.

Surveys also showed that for a while, the Hieronymus Bosch exhibition in the Noordbrabants Museum was the main reason why foreign tourists came to the Netherlands, the answer to this question usually being ‘Amsterdam’.

Winner of the Golden Giraffe 2016

The event won the Golden Giraffe for the Best Event in 2016. The panel of judges took the view that a very beautiful, powerful and above all effective concept had been devised, causing the opening event to generate a huge flow of visitors to ’s-Hertogenbosch and resulting in a huge brand boost for the city.


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