The Rijksmuseum has a rich history as a working museum that spans more than 125 years. The current building housing the museum was opened in 1885. When approached from old town, the large building offers and impressive presence resembling a fairytale castle.
After more than a century of wear and tear, the huge building has undergone a radical makeover, and now is fully compliant with all the modern day requirements to accommodate their collections. In the process, they restored the building to its original design but removing later additions and installed climate control and security features to preserve the artwork.
The newly renovated Rijksmuseum re-opened their doors to the public in April of 2013.
The Rijksmuseum Experience
Visitors to the newly renovated Rijksmuseum have the opportunity to view masterpieces including van Gough’s Self Portrait (1887), Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriel’s A Windmill on a Polder Waterway (1889), Children of the Sea by Joszef Israels (1872) and Rembrandt’s largest, most famous canvas “Night Watch” to name a few of the exquisite masterpieces on display.
A full list of art on display is available on their website.
Visitors also have the opportunity to experience a timeline of Dutch history starting with 1506-1555 when the Netherlands was under Charles V when he stepped in to succeed his father, Philip the Handsome. Learn how he united the territories and laid the foundation for a prosperous, central government.
Other exhibits include 1566 Miracle Year, 1572-1574 War in the Netherlands where guests learn about the Dutch Revolt (80 Years War) and the armed struggle of the Northern Netherlands to break free of Spanish rule. Exhibits in this area cover a little more than 100 years.
A third exhibit looks at the 1595-1640 Dutch presence overseas. It highlights the 1595-16616 route to the Indies, the 1602 trade with the East and 1623 trade with the West. It showcases the Dutch as Europe’s premier cargo shippers and follows their travels to the Far East and the West where Spain and Portugal had previously held a monopoly on trade.
In all, the renovated Rijksmuseum displays more than 8,000 artistic and historical objects and tells the story of 800 years of Dutch history. The museum also features a restaurant, two cafes and an atrium perfect for taking a break and getting off your feet.