The Rijksmuseum

Michel Didier, art historian and private guide

The Rijksmuseum, or national museum, is one of the big museums of Europe, with 1,000,000 objects, and holds the largest collection of Golden Age paintings in the world.
Since the original opening in 1885, both courtyards had been built over, most original wall decorations were whitewashed, and the museum was turned into a veritable labyrinth, from the inner recesses of which no serious art lover returned sane. The museum was re-opened in April 2013 by Her Majesty the Queen after an ample ten years of renovation and a cost of € 60 million.

- like the Louvre, the Rijksmuseum now has an underground entrance and quick access to the exhibition rooms
- of the 1,000,000 objects in the collection, 8,000 are on show permanently
- all painted decorations in the forehall and Gallery of Honour have been restored, and are visible now for the first time in 70 years
- the Nightwatch Room, created in 1885 especially for arguably the most famous Dutch painting, considered the epitome of the Golden Age, is restored to its former glory
- the museum building originally held two museums: one for Dutch art and one for Dutch history. Now the two are merged and each room shows the art of a certain period and/or theme in its historical context
- all of the second floor is dedicated to the Golden Age, 1600-1700
- In the nineteenth century section, you can find three paintings by Vincent van Gogh and three by his contemporary Lawrence Alma-Tadema, of Dutch birth and the best selling artist in Victorian England
- The extensive gardens around the museum have also been restored, into the largest 'Green museum room' in the country. Apart from an Italian, a French, and a Dutch historical garden, many fragments of demolished old buildings are to be found, such as seven city gates from all over the country, pillars from medieval churches, etc. And a fun fountain!

Rijksmuseum Nachtwachtzaal Night Watch

Now all this in one tour? Not necessarily. Some suggestions:
1. Condensed two-hour tour of the paintings collection, emphasis on the Golden Age: Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals
2. Extended three-hour tour of the museum, with short break, including the gardens
3. Extensive four-hour tour of all departments, including gardens and exterior iconography.
4. One-hour lecture and PowerPoint Presentation on Golden Age prior to visit, and condensed Golden Age tour of the Rijksmuseum.

For more information and/or more suggestions or package deals, contact Michel Didier

Vermeer, Milkmaid

 

Vermeer, Little street, Rijksmuseum

 

 

 

Vermeer, Woman reading a letter, Rijksmuseum