Amsterdam’s State Museum reopened in 2013 after a decade of renovations, and it is oh so worth a visit! Weave your way through the museum's vast assemblage of historic art (there are over 8,000 pieces!) to check out works from Dutch masters such as Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and Vermeer in person. The collection's best-known and most prominently displayed piece is Rembrandt’s Night Watch, but visitors can find everything from sculptures to artifacts from both the Netherlands and Dutch-colonial territories around the world. Opt for the multimedia tour for a special surprise.
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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
It has been a decade since the major museums on the Museumplein—a grassy square connecting Amsterdam’s main art centers—have all been open at the same time. Here’s what to check out at Rijksmuseum. Once you’ve made the pilgrimage to the canvases of Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Hals at the upgraded Rijksmuseum, visit the new Asian art pavilion and a two-story shop filled with gifts and books. Museumstraat 1, 31/(0) 20-674-7000. This appeared in the June/July 2013 issue.
By David Farley, AFAR Contributor
A striking billboard near the Rijksmuseum.
Viewing Vermeer at the Renovated Rijksmuseum
The Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam) has reopened to universally positive reviews following a ten-year, $500 million renovation. The objective of the renovation, to restore much of the original 1885 lay-out, along with impressive architectural and ornamental details, was beautifully achieved. The floor-plan now tracks the history of Dutch art, with the many galleries mixing paintings, textiles, sculpture and other artifacts from each period. And the collection of Dutch masters - Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh - is unmatched. We recently spent a couple of hours wandering from gallery to gallery with a private art guide -- and only experienced a fraction of what the Rijks has to offer!
By Ron Cooper
MORNING AT THE RIJKSMUSEUM
Upon entering the Rijksmuseum I felt as if I had stepped on board a ferry floating through 800 years of European history. Original works such as Vincent Van Gogh’s Self Portrait and George Hendrik Breitner’s Girl in a White Kimono proudly hang on the museums muted walls. The museum was built by Pierre Cuypers, the same Dutch architect who designed Amsterdam Centraal Railway Station. Cuyper’s major projects tend to have Renaissance and Gothic influences, which contrast to the modern contemporary influences that this city is well-known for. Spend the day getting lost inside these walls, I can assure you the collection is bound to impress.
Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 674 7000
Sun - Sat 9am - 5pm