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.

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