Van Gogh Museum Installs LED Lighting with Xicato Control and Monitoring Solution

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam hosts the world’s largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh. In addition, the museum features traveling exhibitions of other artists and collections. Since January 2017, the museum has been converting about 1300 light points, including the lighting of the Mesdag Collection in The Hague, to Xicato Intelligent Modules with Bluetooth control (XIM Gen4).

Xicato LED modules in fixtures illuminate Van Gogh Museum

Xicato LED modules in fixtures illuminate Van Gogh Museum

According to Xicato, the lighting installation was accomplished entirely after hours, without causing any disruption for visitors. Furthermore, the installation did not require moving or replacing the existing lighting infrastructure.  In fact, no new track, no wires, and no holes in the walls were added. Therefore no dust accumulated because of the installation. While the significant savings in energy and maintenance are the result, the big benefit is conservation of the artwork.

Goal of Installation Art Conservation

Conventional lighting tends to degrade the dyes of paintings and tapestries, and it even changes the color and finish of wood in furniture and carved objects. In order to minimize the frequency of restoration work, museums of historic artworks carefully calculate and control the amount of light exposure each artwork receives. The museums must balance the mission of public display against the need for conservation. Knowing the spectral distribution (SPD) of the display lighting and calculating lux-hours help museums determine how many hours, days and weeks a work can be showcased, and how brightly it should be lit.

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Xicato LED modules illuminate Van Gogh artwork at Van Gogh Museum

Xicato LED modules illuminate Van Gogh artwork

Like many museums, the Van Gogh often opens after hours for special events. The rental income from such events contributes to the general funds for museum operation. Unfortunately, after-hours events increase the light exposure of artworks and contribute to their degradation. Lighting, especially those controlled with simple on/off switches can be the most harmful. The Van Gogh discovered that their paintings were degrading faster than expected.

Almost five years ago Domenico Casillo, who manages the museum’s lighting, saw a presentation in which Xicato demonstrated its Artist Series lighting. The Artist Series produces light that matches the color rendering quality of halogen lighting.
Xicato developed the Artist Series to be less damaging—even among LED solutions—because it radiates less energy in the harmful, high-energy blue-violet and UV portions of the spectrum.

After the demonstration, Domenico was determined that the museum would someday move to Xicato’s LED lighting solution.
Then in June 2016, Kees van den Meiracker, Head of Collections, and Henk van der Geest, their lighting consultant, witnessed an Xicato demonstration of Bluetooth control, monitoring, sensors, and beacons. This demonstration made them realize that Xicato’s XIM Gen4 could offer an uncompromised light quality and visitor experience while minimizing light exposure.

So the museum created a phased plan. Mike Stoane Lighting provided the luminaires, and Xicato provided the modules.

Phase One: Minimize Disruption During Halogen Replacement

During the first phase, the museum wanted to minimize disruption while simply replacing the existing halogen track lighting with Mike Stoane Lighting TTX2.70 fixtures featuring Xicato XIM 9mm Artist Series intelligent LED modules (XIM09953013A6A). These modules are 0-10V dimmable from standard dimmers and Bluetooth controls.

Two museum employees installed about 100 units each evening.

Phase Two: Add Sensors

In Phase Two, the museum is adding Xicato intelligent motion and lux sensors (XIS). Through the company’s Control Panel Software the lights can be programmed to respond to scheduling, occupancy, and ambient light levels, to help further reduce both energy consumption and light exposure.

The software allows individual luminaire programming as well as programming of groups, and scenes. Each Xicato module stores individualized sensor responses, eliminating the need for centralized controllers or hubs. Xicato says that the lights themselves contain their individual schedules. And Each light listens to sensors, switches, and app commands, and makes independent decisions about how to respond.

Phase Three: Central Management

XIM stores configuration and status information about itself. This information includes module type, hardware and firmware revision, its programmed maximum flux level, control interfaces (e.g. Bluetooth + DALI or Bluetooth + 0-10V), total operating hours, the number of on/off cycles, and histograms of its lifetime intensity and temperature states. In addition, the module stores programmed settings as well as it network, group and scene membership.

While in operation XIM periodically broadcasts information about its immediate operating status, including input voltage, temperature, intensity (dim percentage), ripple, and overall status. Xicato Intelligent Sensors (XIS) also transmit sensor data into the Bluetooth network. Occupancy, lux levels, temperature, and humidity can be used to remotely monitor the environment, control the lighting, and provide lux-hour tracking for the lighting of individual paintings.

All of the data is collectible via Bluetooth, either locally on a PC, Mac, or mobile device, or remotely over the LAN using the Xicato Intelligent Gateway (XIG).  The Van Gogh plans to deploy XIG to enable lux-hour management, as well as monitoring and management of the luminaires, and remotely of the lighting from the reception desk.


So far, the Van Gogh Museum loves the lighting quality and the energy savings. Also, the Museum Director is extremely pleased with the energy savings and is eagerly awaiting the increased savings with the help of the sensors.