A visit to the The Rijksmuseum
In line with national policy concerning the coronavirus, the Rijksmuseum will be closed to the public until and including the 6th April 2020.
When I lived in the UK a British friend gave me a book called the Miniaturist. The story was about the Netherlands in the golden age. The main character of the story is Petronella Oortman who owned a doll house. In those times it was quite common that rich people had a dollhouse to show other people their wealth. Although part of the story is fiction, Petronella Oortman really did exist and her dollhouse as well. The dollhouse was made from high quality and quite a famous showcase all around the world. Petronella was very proud of this dollhouse and it was even painted in 1710 by Jacob Appel. Today it is still possible to see the dollhouse in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It is an interesting object because it gives a good impression about daily life in a wealthy household in the golden age.
This story about the dollhouse is only a tiny piece of the Dutch culture that can be found in the Rijksmuseum. The Rijksmuseum was founded by the government after a proposal from Isaac Gogel that the Netherlands (at that time known as the Bataafse republic) needed a National museum. The French ways of art were in fashion at that time and they already had a national museum. The Netherlands couldn’t stay behind. At the 31th of May the National Museum opened its doors in Huis ten Bosch in the Hague. There was a collection of mainly Dutch historical paintings and artifacts. In 1808 the art collection moved by order of Lodewijk Napoleon to Amsterdam. At that time Amsterdam was the new city of the Kingdom of Holland. The new location of the museum became the Palace on Dam square the former city hall. After King Willem I was installed as new King in 1813 he decided to move the national art collection to the Trippenhuis on the Kloveniersburgwal. Soon it turned out that the Trippenhuis wasn’t a suitable place for the national art collection. In 1876 Pierre Cuypers designed a historical building that we know nowadays as the Rijksmusuem. Because of the expansion of the art collection, the Rijksmuseum had multiple redecorations and renovations. In 2013 the Rijksmuseum opened its doors after a renovation of several years.
It is absolutely worth paying a visit to this fabulous museum. It houses a stunning art collection from artists like Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Vermeer and Vincent van Gogh. An absolut must see is the Cuypers library. This is one of the biggest and oldest art libraries in Dutch history. In this museum there is also the famous painting of Rembrandt “The Night Watch”. At this moment the painting is under reconstruction. It is the first reconstruction since the painting was made by Rembrandt. Instead of taking the painting to a lab, it is still in the big hall where it always was, still visible to the public.
Besides the beautiful Dutch and foreign artworks, the Rijksmuseum offers a lot of activities during the holidays and in the weekends. The admission and most of the activities are free of charge for children. On a regular base there are also possibilities for themed guided tours. If you are interested to visit the Rijksmuseum take a look at its website: www.rijksmuseum.nl