Rijksmuseum Amsterdam: The Ultimate Must-See

Rijksmuseum: the nr 1 museum of the Netherlands

The ultimate must-see of museum & tips on things to do in and around the Rijksmuseum.

When thinking of museums in Amsterdam, the first which often comes to mind is the Rijksmuseum, the largest and undeniably one of the most beautiful of Amsterdam’s treasures.

 

History

The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam first opened its doors to the public in 1800, showcasing its collection as the Nationale Kunstgallerij (National Art Gallery). The collection moved several times before finally settling in the iconic 19th century neo-Renaissance building, that which we know as the Rijksmuseum today. The museum was named by King Willem the first in 1815. Following ten years of intensive renovation, in which only one small section was open to the public, the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam reopened in a spectacular explosion of orange confetti and celebration. With the turn of a giant golden key, the former queen of the Netherlands, Queen Beatrix, officially reopened the museum with approximately twenty thousand people present to witness the event. A complete renovation has recently been finished (2014) making the rijksmuseum trully one of the most stunning and beautifull museums of the country.

Collection

The collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam is both impressive and extensive. Art from all corners of the world, such as Asian silks and pottery, are showcased alongside the Dutch greats. Vincent van Gogh, Frans Hals and Rembrandt are some of the more recognized names that appear on the placards. Indeed, many art enthusiasts visit the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam simply to admire Rembrandt’s De Nachtwacht (Night Watch) in the same way that they would flock to the Louvre in Paris to admire the Mona Lisa. The museum is home to both the classical Dutch art, as well as the works of contemporary artists, such as Piet Mondriaan.

Museumplein

The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam also has a cafe, complete with , smiling staff members. If you prefer a more laidback atmosphere, there are plenty of other cafes and restaurants nearby the museum. In fact, Museumplein, where the Rijksmuseum is situated, is one of the hotspots of Amsterdam. Within a five minute walk, you will find yourself in one of the most upscale shopping districts in the city. Museumplein is a great place to kick back and simply enjoy being there. There are several other museums in the same area, such as the Stedelijk museum, as well as a skate park and a kids’ play area.

Architecture

The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, though obviously venerated for the works it houses, is in itself quite a spectacle. Designed by the Dutch architect Petrus J.H. Cuypers, the museum has become a defining characteristic of Amsterdam’s skyline. Stone faces of saints, as well as other historical figures, watch over pedestrians and cyclists who make their way through the graceful arches which lead to the entrances, and through to Museumplein. The rose brickwork glows in the sun beneath the various towers that rise up from the building’s main body. Surrounding the museum is a meticulously manicured garden, boasting beautiful stone statues. The Rijksmuseum is one of Amsterdam’s most exceptional gems, loved by locals and tourists alike.

How to get there

Outside the Rijksmuseum is a tram stop, which trams 2, 5, 7, 10 and 12 go to. You can also reach the museum by buses 145, 170, 172, 174 and 197. For those who want to come by car, a car park is available, the entrance of which is in front of the Concertgebouw (Concert building). If you want to do it the local way, rent yourself a bicycle! The cycle to the Rijksmuseum from any direction is a fantastic way to see the everyday sights of Amsterdam.

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