World-Class Museums: The Rijks and More
Amsterdam is renowned around the world for some of the finest museums on the planet. The city's showpiece is The Rijksmuseum, reopened in 2013 after a decade of renovation. The city's grandest museum was originally designed by Dutch architect P.J.H. Cuypers. Construction stretched from 1876 to 1885, when the Rijks debuted as the largest museum in the Netherlands. The collection includes historic art by Vermeer, Frans Hals and Rembrandt, whose 17th century masterpiece, "The Night Watch" is now displayed in a new hall speciallly designed to illuminate every detail. Alongside works by Dutch Masters from the Golden Age, the Rijks displays Delftware, sculptures, artifacts, clothing, Asian art and items from Dutch maritime history that collectively retell eight centuries of Dutch history. Beyond the famed Rijks and Van Gogh Museums—repositories of Golden Age art, iconic sunflowers and tormented starry nights―Amsterdam has many smaller museums showcasing everything from contemporary art (Stedelijk) and photography (Foam) to ancient torture (Torture Museum), sex through the ages (Sex Museum), houseboats (Houseboat Museum), tulips (Amsterdam Tulip Museum) soft drugs (Hash, Marijuana & Hemp Museum) and even an award-winning gem devoted to small bags and purses: Tassenmuseum on the Herengracht.
By Melissa Adams, AFAR Local Expert
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