The Rijksmuseum (State Museum) in Amsterdam is one of the world's leading art museums. Its collection of some 8,000 objects including many well-known masterpieces. Located in Amsterdam's Museum Square (Museumplein), the Rijksmuseum is close to the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedeljk Museum and attracts over a million and a half visitors a year.
During the Napoleonic Wars, the Netherlands was occupied by France. Napoleon Bonaparte made his brother Louis the king. It was decided that the country should have a national museum jas in France.
This decision led to the creation of the National Gallery of Art in 1800 in The Hague. Despite the name, the new museum was not a dedicated art museum but rather included both fine art and historical objects.
In 1806, King Louis decided that the museum shoud be in the new Dutch capital, Amsterdam. Therefore, the museum moved to the top floor of the Royal Palace in Dam Square. Several famous paintings including Rembrandt's “The Night Watch” from other collections in Amsterdam were added to the new museum's collection.
Following the restoration of the House of Orange, the museum, now known as the Rijksmuseum, moved to the Tippenhuis, a 17th century townhouse, along with the national print collection from The Hague. The historical objects were sent back to The Hague. The Rijksmuseum stayed at this location until its present building opened in 1885.
The new building was purpose-built for the Rijksmuseum. It was designed by Pierre Coypes in the Neo-Gothic style. Renovated several times over the years, the most recent renovation took 10 years and was completed in 2013. It transformed the building into a modern museum while at the same time preserving and restoring much of its original look.
Connected to the Rijksmuseum by an above-ground passage way is the Asian Pavillion. Art from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand is housed there. The Phillips Wing includes 13 exhibition galleries and a restaurant. There is also a preservation and conservation center in the Ateller Building and an education center in the historic Drawing School building.
The popular Rijksmuseum Gardens adjacent to the main building has fragments and ornaments from historical buildings as well as statues,
Following the 2013 renovation, the collection is displayed as a “Journey through 800 years of Dutch Art.” While the focus is on Dutch Art from the Middle Ages to Mondrian, works by artists from other countries helps to put the Dutch works in context.
Thirty of the Rijksmuseum's 80 galleries are devoted to the Dutch Golden Age. This period saw the height of Dutch prosperity and power. It included artists such as Rembrandt Van Rijn, Franz Hals and Johannes Vermeer. Famous masterpieces by these artists are high points of the collection.
However, the Rijksmusuem is not just Golden Age art. The collection also includes such things as a self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh and posters by Toulouse-Lautrec. There is also a 20th century collection with paintings, furniture, photography, films and historical objects telling the story of cultural history of the Netherlands in the last century.
The Rijksmuseum has a library, cafe and a store.
For information about visiting, see the Rijksmuseum website.
Places to see art - - Amsterdam, The Netherlands - - Rijksmuseum