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Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum in the grip of Pokemon madness

Hundreds of gamers and collectors flocked to the Van Gogh Museum after the partnership with Pokémon Company was launched in a bid to get their hands on one of the merchandising items

Published: Oct 20, 2023 05:10:42 PM IST
Updated: Oct 20, 2023 05:36:38 PM IST

Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum in the grip of Pokemon madnessFloor 1 of the Van Gogh Museum houses six canvases combining the world of the Dutch painter with that of the Japanese franchise. Image: ©2023 Pokémon / Nintendo / Creatures / GAME FREAK. And Vincent van Gogh Foundation©

In recent years, museums with a strong reputation have stepped up co-branding operations with brands. Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum is no exception, as demonstrated by its recent partnership with the Pokémon Company. However, the art establishment was forced to put an end to this initiative due to the huge success of the merchandising resulting from this surprising collaboration, which ended up creating some issues.

The Van Gogh Museum this week announced on its FAQ webpage that it will no longer be selling the Pokémon card "Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat." The card depicts the famous yellow Pokémon wearing the grey felt hat worn by the Dutch painter in one of his famous self-portraits. This limited-edition piece is a victim of its own success since September 27, when the institution unveiled the result of its collaboration with the Pokémon Company.

Hundreds of gamers and collectors flocked to the Van Gogh Museum after the partnership was launched, in a bid to get their hands on one of the merchandising items combining the world of the Japanese franchise with that of Van Gogh. Videos posted on social networks show scenes of jostling in the Van Gogh museum store, creating what the institution described as an "undesirable situation."

Astronomical sums

"[That] has led us to take the difficult decision to remove the Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat promo card from the museum. In this way, visitors will be able to experience this special collection of Pokémon paintings and the rest of the museum in a safe and enjoyable manner," explained the Van Gogh Museum on its website. It added that both the museum and the Pokémon Company "take the safety and security of visitors and staff very seriously."

Also read: Museums and brands: Is it a marriage made in heaven?


From now on, fans of the Pokémon franchise will no longer be able to purchase the "Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat" card in the museum. But they can console themselves by acquiring the other merchandising products resulting from this collaboration, or by admiring, on floor 1 of the Van Gogh Museum, the six canvases executed by Pokémon Company artists, which plunge Pokémon characters into the painterly scenes imagined by the post-impressionist master. One shows Pokémon monsters Munchlax and Snorlax in Van Gogh's bedroom in Arles, while another depicts Sunflora in a bouquet of sunflowers.

In the meantime, fans of the franchise may be tempted to head to the Internet, and eBay in particular, to "snag" one of these cards. But be warned, the price tag could be steep. Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat" cards are  going for hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on the e-commerce platform.

Works from the collaboration between the Van Gogh Museum and the Pokémon Company will be on display until January 4, 2024.