Van Gogh Museum Pokémon exhibition sparks stampede, price gouging

van gogh stampede

Crowds have flocked to the Van Gogh Museum to get their hands on exclusive Pokémon merch; amid stampedes, special Pikachu cards are already selling for hundreds.

Typically, museums and galleries are quiet, genteel spaces, not venues for the kind of scenes you get during a Black Friday Sale. And yet, as Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum opened its doors to greet the first visitors to its special Pokémon exhibition, with artworks and merchandise based on the famous Dutch artist’s work, they were confronted by a stampede. 

Yesterday, footage began to filter out onto social media: great swathes of people, arms outstretched, frantically trying to get their hands on Pokémon merch, such as large prints of Pikachu painted in the style of Van Gogh’s Self Portrait with Grey Felt Hat.

Now, it’s quite common for The Pokémon Company’s pop-up stores, such as those that have appeared in London in recent years, to attract large queues and customers clamouring for items, but the scenes captured on Twitter (or X) are unusually fraught.

Take a look at this one:

And also this one:

It’s pretty ugly stuff, and all the more odd given that much of the merchandise can currently be purchased online from the museum’s store.

One thing that can’t be purchased online, though, is the exclusive Van Gogh Pikachu card that can only be acquired from the museum, and even then, you have to complete something called The Pokemon Adventure first.

These sorts of exclusive cards always attract the attention of scalpers, and true to form, Van Gogh Pikachu cards have already started appearing on Japanese online auction sites for around 65,000 yen – or about £355. Capitalism!

The Pokémon collaboration runs at the Van Gogh Museum until 7 January 2024. We suspect all that merch will have sold out long before then.

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