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The must-see museum in the Netherlands – the iconic Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

The Rijksmuseum, translated to English as National Museum, is a pride of the Netherlands dedicated to the arts and history of Amsterdam. After it’s founding in 1808 it was moved a couple of times, in 1885 it found a home at its current location, Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands. The original building was designed by Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers. It consists of two center squares with an atrium at the center of each and a tunnel that exists at ground level and the first floor Gallery of Honor.

After a ten-year renovation at a cost of € 375 million, the museum was rededicated in April 2013. It is the most visited museum in the Netherlands recording over 2.2 million visits annually. It is in Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, neighboring the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw.

The Rijksmuseum curates an astounding collection of 1 million art objects from the years 1200 through 2000. It displays 8,000 pieces at a time in permanent exhibitions, special galleries and highlighted presentations. The museum also includes the Cuypers Library, the Rijksmuseum Research renowned library, noted as the largest public art research library in the Netherlands.

In 2012, the Rijksmuseum curators began a Herculean task of digitalizing the collection into downloadable high-resolution images available for public download via its Rijksstudio web platform. In the first year 125,000 images became available with an intent of adding 40,000 images a year until the entire collection of 1 million art objects are digitally recorded.

Among its treasures the museum is home to over 2,000 paintings from the renowned Dutch Golden Age. It includes works by noted painters such as Jacob van Ruisdael, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Rembrandt, as well as rare works by Rembrandt's pupils.

An unusual exhibit piece, an artifact of history is the stern of the HMS Royal Charles which was captured during the second Anglo-Dutch war in 1667. Another anomaly exhibit at the museum is a small Asian collection which is displayed in the Asian Pavilion.

The Gallery of Honor features the largest of the paintings by Rembrandt, Night Watch, as its centerpiece. It also features two of the most well-known paintings in the world, Milkmaid by Vermeer, as well as the most famous selfie in history, Self Portrait by Vincent Van Gogh. Among the painters of the Dutch Masters including works by Frans Hals, Jan Steen, the Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh, The Hall of Honor features a pristine collection of Delft Blue pottery.

This year, 2019, Rijksmuseum is celebrating a “Year of Rembrandt” to mark the 350th anniversary of his death. Throughout the year there will be special events and exhibitions celebrating one of history’s greatest artists.

The museum features self-tours using a free app or guide books as well as guided tours by scholarly tour guides who will give you an overview of the don’t miss exhibitions within Rijksmuseum. Special symposiums are scheduled throughout the year, check the museum calendar to find out what’s on the agenda. The Rijksmuseum is open daily from 9AM-5PM, tickets may be purchased online to avoid box office waiting.

The Cafe

The Rijksmuseum offers a unique gift shop featuring a signature collection of exclusive Rijksmuseum gifts and souvenirs. The shop includes an array of art inspired home décor, toys, books, reproductions and classic Delftware. A treasure trove of unique gifts and books celebrating Rembrandt and the Dutch artists throughout history is available in the museum shop. The Rijksmuseum loves to join the modern age with history, the museum shop inventory is available at their online webshop when you’re not in Amsterdam.

When its break time you can visit one of the espresso bars located throughout the museum or sit down and relax for a cup of coffee, a piece of cake or lunch at The Café located in the atrium above the museum shop. The Café is dedicated to serving exclusive products with Dutch heritage including the traditional Dutch “Bitterbal”.

When its time to sit and converse about the amazing works of art that you have just witnessed, The Café offers High Wine beginning at 3:00. High Wine includes three glasses of wine with specialty snacks for a set price per person.

When it’s time to experience the art of food, RIJKS® is the one-star Michelin restaurant of the Rijksmuseum. Executive chef Joris Bijdendijk and kitchen chefs Ivan Beusink and Yascha Oosterberg present the art of the Dutch food experience using products from the soil of the Netherlands. Featuring worldwide cuisines that have influenced Dutch cooking throughout the centuries, the chefs present unique lunches and dinners in a 130-seat restaurant located in the Phillips Pavilion. The restaurant features a fine wine list and a sit-down bar.

Story by Daniel Dachille and Laine Page

Video voice-over by Jim Reynolds