After a decade of renovations, and visitor access limited to a select number of masterpieces, Het Rijksmuseum has reopened with the reassembly of its entire collection, “…in a seemingly new building and with a completely new presentation.” This is a must-see museum for art and art history lovers. The gallery rooms are spacious and the artwork is given plenty of space in which to shine. We stopped in with the goal of seeing primarily the works by Rembrandt, in particular De Nachtwacht, hanging again in its rightful place, the Night Watch Gallery.
Gallery of Honor
The Milk Maid
Night Watch Gallery
The Night Watch
Leading up to the Night Watch Gallery is the Gallery of Honor, a series of side alcoves displaying an impressive collection of works by Vermeer, Jan Steen, Frans Hals, and additional paintings by Rembrandt. Yet, with four floors, including a subterranean level, there is much more to see in the Rijksmuseum. Among the 8,000 pieces on display, are paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Ferdinand Bol, Fra Angelico, Goya, as well as precious artifacts, including Delft Blue ceramics, Italian glasswork, metalwork, weaponry, furniture, and more. The collection is quite diverse; there’s even a painting by Andy Warhol.
Founded in 1800 as the Nationale Kunstgalerij or National Art Gallery in Den Haag (The Hague), the royal art collection moved to Amsterdam in 1808, where it was first housed in Het Paleis op de Dam (former City Hall and current Royal Palace) and then in Het Trippenhuis(now the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences) before being given a permanent home in the building we know as Het Rijksmuseum. Standing like a fairytale castle on Museumplein, the Rijksmuseum was designed by Pierre Cuypers (also known for his design of Amsterdam Centraal Station) and officially opened to the public in 1885. At over 125 years old, the building remains a grand and ornate sight.
The Night Watch – Rembrandt, 1642
The Threatened Swan – Jan Asselijn, ca. 1650
The milkmaid – Johannes Vermeer, ca. 1660
Girl in a Large Hat – Caesar van Everdingen, ca.1645
Dorf bei Sonnenuntergang – Vincent van Gogh, 1884
Give yourself a few hours or maybe even half a day to complete a thorough tour of the Rijksmuseum, it’s the closest thing to the Louvre in the Netherlands.