Rijksmuseum - the most important information
The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. The museum is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, close to the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw. The museum has on display 8,000 objects of art and history, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000, among which are some masterpieces by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer. The museum also has a small Asian collection, which is on display in the Asian pavilion. The Rijksmuseum represents the largest art museum in the country.
History of the Rijksmuseum
In 1795, the Batavian Republic was proclaimed. They thought that a national museum, following the French example of The Louvre, would serve the national interest. The Rijksmuseum was founded in The Hague on 19 November 1798 and moved to Amsterdam in 1808, on the orders of king Louis Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, where it was first located in the Royal Palace and later in the Trippenhuis. The current main building was designed by Pierre Cuypers and first opened in 1885. The design was a combination of gothic and renaissance elements. In December 2003, the main building of the museum closed for a major renovation. During this renovation, about 400 objects from the collection were on display in the 'fragment building', including Rembrandt's The Night Watch. On 13 April 2013, after a ten-year renovation that cost € 375 million, the main building was reopened by Queen Beatrix. In 2013 and 2014, it was the most visited museum in the Netherlands with record numbers of 2.2 million and 2.47 million visitors.
What to see in the Rijksmuseum?
The Rijksmuseum is special in so many ways. Here we can spot the culture and the significance of history, art, and beauty. Amsterdam’s grandest museum is home to a staggering collection of artworks and artifacts showcasing Amsterdam’s Golden Age beginnings through to recent artistic innovations. There’s never enough time to view the complete collection of treasures, so here are some tips:
- The Night Watch: Rembrandt’s best-known masterpiece, which marked a turning point in the artist’s career, takes pride in its place in its own eponymous gallery.
- The Milkmaid: Johannes Vermeer’s only painting of a domestic servant is one of his most recognizable, rivaled only by Girl with a pearl earring on display at the Mauritshuis in The Hague.
- The dolls’ house: These 17th-century curiosities were not children’s toys, but rather a sort of expensive hobby for wealthy housewives.
- Marten and Oopjen: Wim Pijbes, former director of the Rijksmuseum, describes these works as ‘the most wanted and least exhibited Rembrandts in the world.’
- The gardens: Before you’re even inside the museum, you can enjoy the artistic whimsy of the sculpture-filled garden designed by Pierre Cuypers in 1901.
- The Threatened Swan: This painting by Jan Asselijn was the first piece purchased by the Nationale Kunstgalerij (the Rijksmuseum’s predecessor) but that’s not all that’s special about it. The swan fiercely defending its nest from a dog was later understood to represent Johan de Witt who fought against enemies of the state. The swan has since become a symbol of Dutch national resistance.
Opening hours and tickets for the Rijksmuseum
- Opening hours: The museum is usually open from Tuesday to Friday from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm and on Weekends from 12.00 am- 5.00 pm. It is closed on Mondays.
- Tickets: The prices usually start at 15 dollars and for students and childer 4 to 18 it is half of the price. Younger kids and people with museum passes can enter for free.
Because the museum is temporarily closed, and from now on, you can access the museum only if you book your visit, we are recommending you to check out the official website of the Rijksmuseum
before going where you can buy your tickets, arrange your trip and find out when the museum is opened for your visit.
How to get to the Rijksmuseum?
The Rijksmuseum is located in Amsterdam’s museum quarter and is easy to get to by public transport, car, and bicycle:
- by Public transport: Plan your route to the Rijksmuseum using the Public Transport Travel Information website or call the Public Transport Information Line: +31 900 9292.
- by car: It’s quite an easy ride to the Rijksmuseum in central Amsterdam. And even easier if you plan your route in advance using Google maps. Paid parking is available close to the museum and there are various disabled parking spaces nearby. There’s a Q-Park Museumplein underground car park close by at Van Baerlestraat 33b.
- by coach: Check the City of Amsterdam website for information about visiting Amsterdam by coach.
Fun facts about the Rijksmuseum:
- Rijksmuseum is the only museum in the world with a road inside of it. It was built at the edge of the historic city center of Amsterdam. So the building served as a historical gate into the city.
- Rijksmuseum was built on more than 8,000 wooden piles
- Today, there are around one million objects in its collection. While ‘only’ some eight thousand of them are on display.
- Rijksmuseum is home to the largest art library in the Netherlands.
- It was closed for ten years starting from 2003 because of the flood.
- A few decades after it was made, The Night Watch was transferred to Amsterdam’s City Hall (today’s Royal Palace on the Dam Square). However, the wall on which they wanted to put it was too small for the painting. So, instead of just removing it and placing it on a more suitable wall, they decided to cut the picture a bit to fit it in. Because of that, we are missing two men in the left part of the painting, that were initially there.