Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

The collections and exhibitions of the Rijksmuseum are characterized by great names from art history, such as Frans Hals, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen and Johannes Vermeer. You can visit the Rijksmuseum between 09:00 in the morning and 18:00 in the afternoon.

The history

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam opened its doors to the public in the year 1800. At that time the museum was not yet located in Amsterdam, but in Huis ten Bosch in The Hague. The collection consisted of historical objects and paintings more than two centuries ago. During the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Rijksmuseum moved to Amsterdam in 1808, when the Royal Palace was considered the most suitable location.

The museum was a proposal from Isaac Gogel who wanted to follow the example of Frnase by establishing a national museum. However, the arrival of King William I prompted a new move, the print collection and paintings were housed in the Trippenhuis, which was located on the Klveniersburgwal. The current location was only taken into use in the year 1885, the building designed by Pierre Cuypers has been under construction since 1876.

Pierre Cuypers has made a design for the Rijksmuseum in a historical style, or a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance. After the construction of the museum was completed, various collections were added such as the print collection and the paintings from the Trippenhuis, older paintings from Amsterdam and a collection of art from the nineteenth century that came from Haarlem.

The growth of the museum has provided the necessary key work. Between 1904 and 1916, rooms were built on the south side of the building, which are now referred to as the Philips Wing. In 1950 and 1960, the original two courtyards were built up, and the museum also wanted to create more space for rooms with this. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam broke records in the seventies in terms of visitor numbers. The one and a half million visitors per year resulted in several renovations and modernization of the building.

Collections and exhibition

The Rijksmuseum has one well-known collection that forms the core of the museum. This collection is referred to as 'the Masterpieces', which includes paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer. Some of the collections are exhibited worldwide for a short period of time, but there is also regular exhibition at Schiphol Airport.

Highlights from 'the Masterpieces'

The Masterpieces play an essential role within the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which is why below you will find four descriptions of paintings from the 'The Masterpieces' collection, as described by the museum.

Frans Hals, Portrait of Isaac Massa and Beatrix van der Laen
She is the daughter of a Haarlem mayor and he is a merchant. His family was - it should be so - depicted darker than that of his wife. She leans on her husband with a small hand; with his hand on his hard he is loyal to her. The vine signifies mutual affection entwined around the tree; ivy and thistle are also amorous and erotic allusions. The fantasized love garden behind those two speaks to peacocks, couples and fountain of marital happiness and fertility; the earthen pots signify fragile transience. For the client, painter and their contemporaries, all this constituted an unmistakable symbolism.

Rembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of Titus

This only surviving son of Rembrandt and Saskia was not a clergyman. He only poses in a monk's habit. The painter Rembrandt perceives his son as a model, sharp, uninhibited: he makes the pallor of the face stand out even more strongly through the frame with the rough, brown fabric of the monk's hood. But Rembrandt's father must have approached his son with respect, sensitive. He shows us his son as a melancholy, introverted boy. The warm brown color, mixed with some red and gray-yellow, makes this portrait mild and peaceful.

Jan Steen, The Quack

A quack carved a farmer from the boulder; he shows the cause of much pain to other, not too bright-looking country people. A boulder is a growth that the doctor cut out in the seventeenth century. But "being tormented by the boulder" also means committing all sorts of follies. Drinking too much, for example: the drunkard in the wheelbarrow is therefore not in good shape. In his own friendly way, Jan Staan points out that people who indulge in alcohol are very stupid. Is that why there is also a donkey among the farmers?

Johannes Vermeer, The kitchen maid

Large light areas delimit a room. A silver light enters through a window, which is Vermeer's honor than the faithfully depicted sunlight. Tingling, that light hits the still life

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