ART MUSEUM. Stadhouderskade 4, 1071 ZD. Tel: +31 20 673 21 21. Open: Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 1pm-5pm.
The Rijksmuseum is a museum of Dutch art in Amsterdam. Before I went to Amsterdam, the extent of my knowledge about Dutch art, was that "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" is a painting by Vermeer. I only knew that as I've read the book with the same name! So, with my lack of art knowledge in hand and a recommendation that a visit to the Rijksmuseum is a must; I headed off towards the museum.
The museum is located on Museumstraat in Amsterdam. The location is close to the Van Gogh museum and the Concertgebouw, which makes it easy to find. I found the tourist attractions to be very well signposted around the city and rarely had to get my map out! The tourist signs also helpfully give you an indication of how far you will be walking. Also, public transport is easy to navigate and I found that the main station had a very helpful tram guide outside between the railway station and the tram stops outside, which highlighted the museum area.
Approaching the Rijksmuseum, even just the building looks very grand! It's a long and very lovely looking building. The museum has been closed for 10 years for renovations and opened again recently in April 2013. The museum has a huge range of art and historical items on display, ranging from 1200 - 2000, including items by Rembrandt and Vermeer (two artists that I have actually heard of!!)
Going inside, there is an admission fee payable of 15 euros for those are aged 19 and above, or it's free admission for those who are 18 and under. The ticket desk can be quite busy, as it was when I was there, so you may wish to purchase your tickets online prior to arriving. It is open daily from 9-5.
The inside is very well laid out and it follows on in chronological order. Level 0 is the lowest level of the museum and comprises of an auditorium, cafe and shop, as well as the special collections from between 1100 - 1600. The special collections are laid around the perimeter and are really interesting. It contains a wide range of collections such as Delftware, fashion items such as immensely details and intricate design that was literally a wonder to behold, and a range of antique accessories, such as bags, fans, umbrellas, parasols, gloves, ruffs and far more! One of the great things in this section was being able to see the changes in fashion over time. It really gives you a sense of the fleeting nature of fashion! There is a section for arms (that look very much like the hand guns wielded by Captain Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean!). I found the ship models and temple guards to be very interesting! Normally, I would not have thought that these things would interest me, but it really did. The detail and how ornate they were was amazing. There are a wide variety of historical objects around this area so I definitely recommend making sure you visit these collections.
The next floor up, floor one covers the period 1700-1800 on one side of the level; and 1800-1900 on the other side. The area covering 1700-1800 was fascinating and has a variety of items such as a Roentgen writing desk which was interesting, as well as a number of prints and rooms themed around different periods such as the Haarlem Period Room, the Amsterdam Period Room and the Netherlands overseas. I found this to be very interesting, mostly as I am really interested in history and have more knowledge of it than I do of art. This area was something that really appealed to me as I do love a wander around a historical museum. The 1800-1900 area comprises of the Waterloo painting, which even to my untrained eye, was amazing. There are a number of other paintings in this area too. My artistic knowledge being as limited as it is, I was only aware of Van Gogh, the others went over my head I'm afraid!
The next floor up also covers two periods, one being 1600-1650 on one side, with a number of intricate tapestries. My interest was particularly drawn to William of Orange's portrait. I'm not sure why, but it really interested me. Ooh maybe I've developing an artistic side. Possibly not. Between the two time periods is the gallery of honour. I found it very interesting, and particularly Little Street and the Milkmaid, painted by Vermeer and also the Jewish Bride painting by Rembrandt. Next up is Nightwatch, another Rembrandt work. There is also a sculpture gallery in the middle of the two time periods, but I think this also went past my level of artistic appreciation. The side covers the period of 1650-1700 and contains a number of different exhibitions, one of them being a collection of antique dolls houses, which I hadn't expected to chance upon! I found them to be absolutely incredible, with the level of work which went into something like this. There is also a collection of coins and medals which may interest anyone with an interest in either history or military history. I was really quite taken by these and found them to be most interesting. There are many other artistic works on this level as well, which again were over my head, yet interesting to browse, for example, small scale sculptures and french court art.
The top floor is the most recent time period, consisting of one area of 1900-1950 and one of 1950-2000. The 1900-1950 consisted of art nouveau, rietveld (um, a chair...) and an aircraft model. The other side of this level consisted of a sculpture called constant, a painting called "appel" which I couldn't really make head or tail of... I didn't 'get it'.
The museum is easy to navigate, as you will be presented with a map at reception which will guide you around the various exhibitions. Also, the whole museum is really light and airy, which I thought was great as it really makes you want to stay and explore. It is very accessible for those with limited mobility as the floor space is pretty immense, giving plenty of space around all exhibitions. There is also a lift between floors if you require as well as amazingly wide sweeping staircases. The layout of the museum stops you from feeling crowded, which I think is important for a museum.
If you plan on visiting, you may wish to check out their guided tours. The Rijksmuseum has a number of different guided tours to allow visitors to get to know the various collections a bit better.
Overall, I enjoyed my time in this museum. Although quite a lot of art went over my head, particularly the top floor; I loved the Dutch history, the history of various religious figures and the people of significance through history who appear throughout. I could have happily have spent longer exploring the history of it, but my friend not so! If you really want to do this museum justice, I would say plan a good few hours at the very least. Even if you end up spending all day there, there is a conveniently located cafe selling lots of nice things including some very yummy pastries.
Amsterdam is a city of canals, bikes and museums. There are over 50 museums. Great variety of museums. Van Gogh museum, Tulips museum, Sex museum, Theatre museum, Rembrandt museum, Anne Frank's house... Above all of them there is a king of Amsterdam museums. It is a Rijskmuseum.
You could be discouraged by the sheer size of the museum recognizable by its red brick façade. It looks like a castle from the outside. Even if you are not in a top physical condition to walk for a long time - get familiar with the layout of the museum and visit few sections by your choice.
Everyone is going there to see masterpieces of Dutch painters from 16th and 17th century but I was most impressed with the history section. Holland was a big and rich naval power for a long time and their merchants, soldiers and explorers brought a lot of interesting things from their travels. I was most impressed with artefacts from South East Asia and Australia. You can get a glimpse of, until then unknown to me, cultures which existed in these areas. It is always exciting to me to see items people manufactured and used centuries ago, usually handcrafted with the great attention to details.
The most popular exhibit in the museum is 'The Night Watch' - Rembrandt's picture made in 1642. The title is given due to common misapprehension that this is a night scene but it is only the artist's usual dark coloured painting style. The picture is known for revolutionary approach to showing figures in perspective using shadows and colours. This type of scene was usually represented as static military display but Rembrandt did it so well that viewers get a clear impression of motion. It is very big picture (363 x 437 cm) and is known also for damages done to it. The first incident was in the 18th century when pieces of the painting were snipped from the left side and the top so that painting fit perfectly on the wall of its new home, the Amsterdam City Hall. The second incident was in 1976, when a museum visitor took a knife to the painting. In 1985 the painting was damaged with acid.
There are a lot of works by other famous Dutch masters (Vermeer, Steen, Van Gogh...) as well. The Girl with a Pearl Earring is in The Hague museum Mauritshuis so don't look out for it.
I would recommend you to buy a museum pass from the tourist office. You can also find it on the web site http://www.holland.com/amsterdam/gb/. That way you can see over 30 museums and have a lot of reductions for other attractions in Amsterdam. Prices for the pass are as follow: 24-hour I amsterdam Card (EUR 33,00) , 48-hour I amsterdam Card (EUR 43,00) , 72-hour I amsterdam Card (EUR 53,00)
Entrance to museum is EUR 10 and it is free for under 18.
Don't miss it if you are in Amsterdam.
...and now for something completely different...
The Rijksmuseum is a museum near to the centre of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. I visited in February 2008 on a cold day at 9am in the morning, just as it was opening.
The first thing to note is that the museum is under heavy amounts of re-construction, and after five years of work, it is estimated to re-open in full in 2009. At the moment the best of the museum's exhibits have been moved to what is called the Phillips wing of the museum.
The museum is split into various sections, starting with a look at the early wealth of the Netherlands, then a doll's house display, diusplay of Delftware and a comprehensive set of paintings including well known artists such as Rembrandt and Karel du Jardin.
You enter via a side entrance and security is tight, having to pass through a security system and metal detector. This is no doubt partly because over the last twenty five years there have been attacks on paintings in the collection. Indeed on my visit a tourist attempted to touch the frame of one of the paintings and was swiftly escorted from the building by one of the museum guides.
Entry to the museum is 10 Euros, with a small free guide in English to the museum given at the same time, and they also gave me a guide to the artist Karel du Jardin.
The displays are both in Dutch and English, which makes them very accessible. I went during a quiet period of the year, but it was still reasonably busy, but there were a large number of museum guides in the rooms looking after the collections.
The most famous painting in the collection was the "Night Watch" by Rembrandt, which is displayed well in what is nearly its own room in the museum. There were also many other paintings by Rembrandt in the collection, more than I had expected there to be.
There was a separate gallery of works by Karel du Jardin (1626-1678) who I must admit to not having heard of before. The small guide book they gave me at the entrance to the museum though provided a good introduction to the artist. With paintings I always like guides like this to help me understand what I'm looking at and what context it has generally.
The museum is well signed and easy to find and is in Amsterdam's museum square, which was noted on all the maps of the city which I saw. It opens all year round from 9am to 6pm, including on Sundays, with longer opening until 8.30pm in the summer months.
The building itself is large and airy, being built as a museum in the mid 1800s, although the imposing size of the building makes it look more like a palace sort of building. Certainly very impressive to look at from the outside.
So this is well worth a visit to understand a little more Amsterdam, the Netherlands and the history of the country. If I had to make a complaint at all I suppose it was a shame that few of the exhibits that are normally on display could be shown due to the rebuilding work, and maybe the entrance fee could have been reduced a little bit more to reflect that.
The Rijksmuseum is the grand dame of the Amsterdam museum arena. Analogous to the National Gallery, and the V&A rolled into one -- but on a smaller scale -- the museum bills itself as "The Treasure-House of the Netherlands" and attempts to live up to this hype with exhibitions of Dutch Masters, and furniture, sculpture and silverware dating back to the Medieval period. The gorgeous Cuypers designed building towers over the Museumplein, within easy reach of the city centre by tram, bike, or foot. No-one with a brain drives in Amsterdam. Now, it is fairly clear right from the beginning that the Rembrandts, Vermeers, Hals, and Steens are what the museum expects most people to go to see. Rembrandt's astounding "The Night Watchmen" -- painted on a canvas which covers most of the huge wall on which it is mounted -- is laid out at the centre of the museum, at the end of a long corridor which makes for easy access. The first time I was taken to the Rijksmuseum, it was by a frighteningly efficient Dutch friend of my aunt who whisked us in, down the grand masters' gallery and pointed at the huge Rembrandt saying "See. Night Watchmen. Now we go!" and we did :) But when I visited Amsterdam again last year, we made a bit more time for the museum pounding, and the Rijksmuseum does reward a more patient visitor. There are some fascinating exhibits about the history of the Dutch East India company, which effectively ran its affairs as a colonial power during parts of the 19th Century. Old coats of armour and (more interestingly) intricate ship models track the history of the Netherlands from the Medieval period also. The displays of furniture and decorative furnishings rival those you might expect to see in the V&A or any well-kept stately home. The Rijksmuseum does also put on special exhibitions, often about aspects of Dutch history, but equally they sometimes plunder their huge collectio
n of prints and photographs to highlight some other angle of their collection. In all, it's a grand museum in the tradition of the great European Galleries. It's certainly the largest museum in the Netherlands, and if you are curious to see the Grand Masters in a marvellous architectural setting, it's worth an afternoon at least. If your taste runs to more modern art you'll be better off spending some time at the Van Gogh Museum (which is actually part of the Rijksmuseum, but housed in a different building nearby) or the Museum of Modern Art. Rijksmuseum webpage is at: http://www.rijksmuseum.nl
I do occasionally like to take in a bit of the local culture and thought that a visit to Amsterdam would not be complete without a visit to a few museums/art galleries. The Rijksmuseum is a sort of national history museum with all manner of bizarre exhibits including parts of british ships captured during the various Anglo/dutch wars. Many portraits of the Orange royal family which explain the links between the country and its obsession with the colour. In addition to this there are many paintings including a large number of Rembrandts works, most notably The Nightwatch which is housed at the end of a huge gallery to emphasise the sheer magnitude of the painting. There are rooms of jewellery, ceramics, dolls house, furniture, sculpture,pre-historic tools, costumes, thrones, etc. Basically whatever you like in a cultural sense it's represented here. It the museum is absolutely huge so a good pair of comfortable shoes are recommended. The museum is situated on the Museumplein so it is located next to the Van Gogh museum and the Stedlijk Museum so if you want a cultural day it's very easy, though you may run out of time to visit all three.