DUNDEE’S new design museum really is a national treasure – because its first year has been worth £75 million to the country. That’s according to an evaluation carried out by consultants hired to check the economic impact of the V&A Dundee.

The work, which is published today, concluded that the Tayside attraction has drawn far more visitors and brought in much more money than estimates suggested it would.

The National: V&A Dundee museum


HOUSING collections including fashion, tech and more, the concrete creation by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma is intended to serve as a “living room for the city” and captured international attention even at the construction stage. It opened in September 2018 and more than 833,000 people had crossed its threshold as of September 2019. That’s considerably more than the 500,000 predicted and includes a higher proportion of visitors from overseas than had been expected.

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Visitors were found to be worth £21m to Dundee alone and £75m to the overall Scottish economy, according to Ekosgen and Reference Economic Consultants.


IT’S thought the V&A supports almost 700 posts in Dundee, and almost 2150 in Scotland. That’s aside from the construction of the museum, which was found to have had an economic impact of £70m across Scotland.

Dundee’s tourism sector is now worth £10m a month. Council leader John Alexander is understandably “delighted”.

“Our stunning museum is now very firmly part of the cultural fabric of the city,” he said. “It has raised Dundee’s international profile and played a key part in record-breaking tourism figures. V&A Dundee is helping to create jobs and new economic opportunities for the city and the Tay Cities area.”

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INDEED. V&A Dundee director Philip Long expects to do good business this year too.

“V&A Dundee has a hugely exciting programme ahead, including our major exhibitions Mary Quant and Night Fever opening later this year, which will continue to draw visitors to the museum, to Dundee and to Scotland,” he said.

Pamela Reid of Ekosgen says the findings suggest many of the 2019 cohort had never been to Dundee before, and a “substantial proportion” plan to return.

Its nomination for the European Museum of the Year Award 2020 won’t hurt its profile. Other contenders include the Vabamu Museum of Occupation and Freedom in Estonia, Anne Frank House in the Netherlands and the German Spy Museum in Berlin. The result will be announced in May.


IT put £38m into the construction of the building and Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop called the result “a powerful symbol of Dundee’s new confidence and the strong future of design and innovation across our nation”.

The destination has proved to be, she says, “an incredible success in boosting Scotland’s attractiveness to those looking for world-class cultural experiences”.

Extra Holyrood funding was committed to support its first decade of activity, but Hyslop says the site is about more than money. “It has more than proved its cultural value,” she said, “and I welcome this report in highlighting the economic value of this flagship museum.”