The Innovation of Audio-Guides

RSF International Brings the Van Gogh Museum’s Immersive Travelling Experience to Life

The Concept

The nature of museum visits is changing, creating a very different image of what the ‘future museum’ will look like and what its social impact will be. The Van Gogh Museum was founded in 1973 by the Van Gogh family. It safeguards the largest collection of Van Gogh works and has been the leading authority on Vincent van Gogh and the art of his time for nearly 50 years. Looking to the future of museum and exhibition visits, the Van Gogh Museum created its Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) award-winning touring experience, Meet Vincent van Gogh. Meet Vincent is a completely interactive journey through the most important stages of Vincent’s life, in line with the latest visitor attraction trends. In order to realise our vision of a truly multi-sensory experience, we needed an adaptable and reliable technology solution.

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Bringing Vincent van Gogh to Life

We were able to bring Vincent to life through RSF International’s unique audio-guide solution, Optima6. Designed to enhance the visitor experience, the Optima6 allows for seamless integration between audio, video, lighting and computer applications in immersive experiences.


RSF’s 40 years of experience addressing the challenging requirements of the world’s leading Museums and exhibitions has kept the company ahead of the curve when it comes to developing and adapting its audio-guide solutions. The Optima has been the museum sector’s leading interactive audio-guide for over 20 years. The Optima6 - a hands-free audio-guide capable of interacting with external application terminals – Android, Apple, PC – and mixing language-specific dialogue with high-quality surround sound systems, is the ideal solution for the Van Gogh Museum to realise its goals in Meet Vincent.

Interact with Van Gogh

Inspired by the Museum’s unique collection of Vincent’s personal letters, the Experience tells Vincent’s story in his own words. Visitors travel alongside Vincent on his journey as an artist from the rural countryside of the Netherlands to the colourful and chaotic cafés of Paris, to the vibrant villages of Southern France and the halls of Vincent’s asylum at St. Rémy. Along the way, interactive edutainment stations reveal the science behind Van Gogh’s most famous artworks. The journey ends with a Success Interactive showing the extent of Van Gogh’s immense cultural influence following his death.

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While listening to Vincent’s story, visitors are able to engage with these interactive stations. Examples include a Colour Paint interactive that lets you paint with Van Gogh’s brushstrokes; a life-sized reproduction of ‘The Bedroom’; a tactile blow-up replica of Van Gogh’s ‘The Harvest’ with which you can explore microscopic layers of paint at close range; and the award-winning Unravel van Gogh app that reveals the stories behind Vincent’s most famous works.

The Bedroom

To complement the Experience’s extensive interactive components, the Optima6 keeps the visitors’ hands free as it triggers messages and synchronises with the surrounding multimedia based on visitors’ location. This keeps their focus on our range of interactive stations and ensures that they really engage with and absorb Van Gogh’s story. In addition, the Optima6’s FreeSound headphones – a unique headset solution that does not touch the ears – let visitors interact with one another whilst still being fully immersed in Van Gogh’s world. As one of Meet Vincent van Gogh Barcelona’s visitors puts it, “The audio-guide really tied Meet Vincent together- I was able to chat with my son and daughter, but also experience my own multisensory journey.”

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Partners in Success

In 2019, Meet Vincent van Gogh had highly successful tour stops in Barcelona and Seoul. We look forward to an eventful start to 2020 as we launch new tours in two of Europe’s most dynamic cultural capitals - Lisbon and London.

As all operators of touring exhibitions will know, the Experience’s success comes with the challenges of travel, shipping, and upwards of 200,000 visitors handling headsets and audio-guides. The Optima’s wireless charging battery, full week of charge, low power consumption and 10-year life expectancy give our technical production team peace of mind when installing the Experience in different venues around the world. Back in Amsterdam, being able to gather precise and insightful usage data from the Optima6 allows us to stay on top of visitor trends and cater to what our visitors are most interested in.

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In addition to Meet Vincent van Gogh, RSF has supplied hundreds of Optima projects around the world and over many years: the first hands-free Optima project at the Euro Space Center in Belgium was introduced over 20-years ago, and is still running! RSF International’s list of clients includes English Heritage, Stonehenge, the Prado, Uffizi, Dachau, Tutankhamun exhibitions, BodyWorlds, and over 6000 other museums and exhibitions.

Looking to the Future - Look2innovate

RSF International continues to innovate to help the museums realize their most challenging projects, as well as their image of what the ‘future museum’ will look like. In that spirit, RSF International’s experienced team created a new venture: “Look2innovate”.

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A first product of this venture is the Look ‘Professional multimedia Android player’ aimed at using the power of Android to deliver multimedia-rich and interactive visit experiences.

The Look is the most powerful combined hardware and software solution in this field, as it solves the operational challenges related to using Android tablets with its two-day battery autonomy, modular charging system, solidity, and six-core processor. In addition, the Look offers a powerful online content management system designed to seamlessly bring augmented reality and immersive storytelling to museums and travelling exhibitions.

This solution has been already chosen by many important sites including Paris Musées, the 2019 Beethoven exhibition in Bonn (500 units), and by Oslo’s new Munch Museum.

For more information on RSF International, visit

For more information on the Look player, visit

Interested in joining the success of Meet Vincent van Gogh’s world tour? Register as a promoter or venue host and receive a free copy of the Meet Vincent van Gogh Promoter’s book. Learn the answers to all your questions: from technical production and design, to how the Van Gogh Museum’s distinctive branding can maximize the Experience’s impact in your city.

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