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We always knew it was a masterpiece of art! The blue bag has become a museum piece

In an unbelievable tale of art, utility, and happenstance, the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands has opened an exhibition that unites two disparate icons – a Van Gogh masterpiece worth up to 6 million euros and the ubiquitous IKEA FRAKTA bag, which today costs 0,49 euro in the Netherlands.

“We always knew it was an affordable iconic piece of art, but now the blue FRAKTA bag is also officially a museum piece

– Belén Frau, Global Communication Manager at Ingka Group

The Van Gogh painting, titled Spring Garden, The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring, 1884, was returned last year in an IKEA FRAKTA bag, more than three years after it was stolen in a raid from a museum east of Amsterdam. Now the painting and the bag are hanging on a wall right next to each other.

“We couldn´t thank the Groninger Museum more for displaying the most hardworking bag in the world. It is proven that it will support your life at home from when you move into your first house and allow you to reuse it in so many ways that after decades it still surprises us,” says Evelyn Cairo-Goris, Market Manager at IKEA Groningen Store.

Having served as a multifunctional staple in the IKEA range for over three decades, the FRAKTA bag is one of the most used and re-used bags in the world. Whether for shopping, moving, doing laundry, or – returning stolen goods – the   blue bag has been there to support and make life easier for many people.

“We always knew it was an affordable iconic piece of art, but now the blue FRAKTA bag is also officially a museum piece”, adds Belén Frau, Global Communication Manager at Ingka Group, the largest IKEA retailer responsible for The Netherlands market.

Visitors can see the returned Van Gogh and the FRAKTA bag in the exhibition between 29 March 2024 to 1 June 2025.

In fact, this is not the first time the FRAKTA bag has made major headlines. In 2017, the fashion world was in an uproar when a well-known luxury fashion brand presented a large blue shoulder bag made of wrinkled leather that resembled the FRAKTA bag from IKEA. Many wondered if it was a mistake, but the designer later said in interviews that he was inspired by the iconic blue IKEA bag.

Then yesterday, as a warning that one would dare to believe that people will run out of innovative ways to use the bag, out of the air, the world learns of a new story. BBC News reported that firefighters in London have used the IKEA blue bag to save a swan from a supermarket roof in UK.

The origins of the FRAKTA bag

The FRAKTA bag, a staple of IKEA, has its roots in the 1960s when the company began selling numerous small home items in Stockholm. Observing customers struggling with small plastic baskets and bags for items like tealights and glasses, the IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, and his assistant Sten Lundén realized the need for a more practical solution. Their studies in various stores revealed a taxing shopping experience, leading Kamprad to understand what they needed was a large, versatile bag.

On a trip to Taiwan, Ingvar Kamprad, and his Head of purchasing, Lars Göran Peterson (LGP), found a suitable manufacturer. They had specified, for example, that the bag had to be large enough to carry rolls of wallpaper, and sturdy enough for 50 kg.

A Taiwanese factory owner showed the men a sample of polypropylene, a material often used for large rice bags. Ingvar and LGP were keen on the idea, but they wanted to be sure the bag would not break. “We found a worker at the office who weighed about 50 kilos and asked to stand in the bag,” LGP remembers. “I took one handle and Ingvar took the other. We lifted the bag up, and it did not break!” This experiment laid the foundation for the now-iconic FRAKTA bag.

The reason it was named FRAKTA is that in Swedish its stands for “Carry”, and it certainly can carry heavy loads of everyday precious pieces again and again and again!

More about the FRAKTA bag history here: The story of a beloved IKEA bag – IKEA Museum.


About Ingka Group

With IKEA retail operations on 31 markets, Ingka Group is the largest IKEA retailer and represents about 90% of IKEA retail sales. It is a strategic partner to develop and innovate the IKEA business and help define common IKEA strategies. Ingka Group owns and operates IKEA sales channels under franchise agreements with Inter IKEA Systems B.V. It has three business areas: IKEA Retail, Ingka Investments and Ingka Centres. Read more on

About the Groninger Museum

The Groninger Museum is an art museum in the city of Groningen in the Netherlands, well-known for its vibrant and colorful architectural design. The museum exhibits modern and contemporary art of local, national, and international artists.

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