Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

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The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam [ ˈrɛi̯ksmyˌzeːjʏm ] ( German  Reichsmuseum Amsterdam ) is a Dutch national museum on Museumplein in Amsterdam 's Oud-Zuid district in the Amsterdam-Zuid district . The museum is dedicated to the arts, crafts and history. It houses a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age and a comprehensive collection of Asian art objects and artifacts related to Dutch history. The museum shows about 8000 exhibits and has been declared a Rijksmonument .

It has around 2.2 million visitors a year. After the completion of renovation work, it was reopened on April 13, 2013.

The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam



Rijksmuseum on a photochromic print around 1895
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, view from Museumplein

The museum was founded in The Hague in 1800 to display the collections of the Dutch governors . The foundation was inspired by the French models of the era. The museum was initially known as the Nationale Kunst-Gallerij ( National Art Gallery ). The facility was eventually brought to Amsterdam on the orders of King Louis Bonaparte . At this time, the paintings of the city of Amsterdam also entered the collection; the most famous example is The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn (short Rembrandt called).

Pierre Cuypers building

Front view of the Rijksmuseum from Stadhouderskade, during the renovation in 2005

In 1863 an architecture competition for a new museum building was announced, but the designs fell short of expectations. The future architect Pierre Cuypers also took part in this competition and only achieved second place with his work. The design was a combination of Gothic and Renaissance elements . The final selection and the start of construction dragged on until October 1, 1876. The building received rich decorations, both internally and externally, inspired by Dutch art history. They had been selected in an additional competition won by B. van Hove and J. F. Vermeylen for the sculptures, Georg Sturm for the painting and W. F. Dixon for the glass design.

The new building was finally opened on July 13, 1885.

The front of the museum faces the Stadhouderskade . The back faces the Museumplein in a prominent position , where the Van Gogh Museum , the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the Concertgebouw are also located.

In 1890 the new building was supplemented by a building that was created from demolished historical buildings. The elements used give an overview of Dutch architectural history.


The night watch hall was renewed in 1906. Most of the colorful murals were painted over between 1920 and 1950. In 1960 the exhibition rooms and several corridors were converted into two large rooms. The building itself underwent minor renovations and restorations in 1984, 1995 and 1996 and 2000.

From 2003 to 2013 the museum was renovated again and partially gutted according to plans by Spanish architects Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz . Many of the old interior decors were restored. During these measures only parts of the painting collection were accessible. The exhibition The Masterpieces was located in the already finished rooms of what is now known as the “Philips Wing”. The renovation was originally supposed to be finished in 2008. Protests by cyclists, in particular, whose route to the Oud-Zuid district ran across the site, led to extensive rescheduling and construction delays. Instead of the originally planned cycle route around the museum, a passage for pedestrians and bicycle traffic has been integrated into the building.

In spring 2013, after ten years, the renovation and complete redesign of the museum was completed. The reopening by Queen Beatrix  - the monarch's last major public appearance before her planned abdication at the end of April - took place on April 13, 2013. In 2015 the Rijksmuseum was named European Museum of the Year .

The renovation did not increase the exhibition area of ​​around 14,500 square meters.


The library in the new museum building

Like many other museums, the Reichsmuseum maintains its own library for research purposes. The Rijksmuseum Research Library is the largest public research library on art history in the Netherlands. The library's web catalog currently includes around 140,000 monographs , 3,200 specialist journals and 20,000 art sales catalogs .

When the renovations began in 2003, the library was located at Frans van Mierisstraat 92 , but is now back in the main building of the museum.

The collections

In addition to the painting and art of the Netherlands, the collections include Dutch history , the colonial history of the Netherlands and art in the colonial areas. A special feature of the hall of the Marine models ( Marine Model Kamer ) with about 1,600 objects. Approximately 1 million properties are owned by the museum, of which 8000 are on display.


The painting collection includes works by Jacob van Ruysdael , Frans Hals , Jan Vermeer , Jan Steen , Rembrandt van Rijn and Rembrandt's students.


Rembrandt's The Night Watch (1642)
Vermeer's maid with a milk jug (1658–1660)

The collection includes the following paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn :

Jan Vermeer

The following paintings on Jan Vermeer can be found in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam:

Frans Hals

These paintings by Frans Hals are in the collection:

Jan Steen

Jan Steen's children teaching a cat to dance

The collection includes the following paintings by the painter Jan Steen :

  • The Nikolausfest
  • The drunk couple
  • The morning toilet
  • Adolf and Catharina Croeser
  • Arent Oostwaard and his wife
  • Children teaching a cat to dance


Branch offices


The Rijksmuseum has a small branch in a terminal at Schiphol . Admission is free. It was opened on December 9th, 2002 by the then Prince Willem-Alexander  - today's King. Passengers who have passed passport control can visit a small, constantly changing exhibition here. Schiphol Airport is the first airport with such a museum branch.

House Trompenburgh

On September 1, 2006, the Rijksmuseum took over the furnishing and management of Huis Trompenburgh . In addition to small exhibitions, the house can be used for conferences.

Web links

Commons : Rijksmuseum Amsterdam  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. nrc: Muses doen het goed: aantal bezoekers in 2013 fors gestegen (Dutch) , accessed on September 7, 2014.
  2. Charlotte Higgins: Rijksmuseum to reopen after dazzling refurnishment and rethink. guardian.co.uk, April 5, 2013, accessed April 8, 2013.
  3. (English) ; Rheinische Post
  4. Departure in Amsterdam. dradio.de, April 5, 2013, accessed April 7, 2013.
  5. ^ Siggi Weidemann: Rembrandt from the fifth row. On: www.sueddeutsche.de, May 17, 2010.
  6. 800 years of Dutch history. On: news.orf.at, April 6, 2013.
  7. ^ Dirk Schümer: Rijksmuseum reopened. faz.net, April 8, 2013, accessed April 8, 2013.
  8. Welcome! In: rijksmuseum.nl. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, accessed on April 13, 2013 . - The renovation. In: rijksmuseum.nl. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, accessed April 5, 2013 .
  9. Page no longer available , search in web archives: PDF Rijksmuseum@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.rijksmuseum.nl
  10. rijksmuseum Marinemodellenkamer
  11. Information on the website of the museum (English) accessed on April 8, 2013.
  12. Information about the museum on the airport website , accessed on April 7, 2013.

Coordinates: 52 ° 21 '35.3 "  N , 4 ° 53' 6.4"  E