This time no exotic destination but a visit to one of the most interesting museums if you are into art. The best place to visit a huge collection of paintings from Dutch masters without doubt is the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Even if you are not up for art this museum is a must visit. The beautiful building is designed by the famous Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers, who also designed the central station of Amsterdam. Of the latter one you can also find a copy as the Tokyo central station in Tokyo Japan. When paying attention to the station and the Rijksmuseum you will find the same style of architecture. A combination style of Gothic with Renaissance.
Although the Rijksmuseum opened doors in 1885 in Amsterdam the museum itself dates back to the first year of the 19th century. Which makes this one of the oldest museums of the Netherlands. The oldest one actually is the Teylers Museum in Haarlem that opened its doors in 1778. In the Year 1798 the Dutch government decided to open up a National Museum to put all the heritages of the Dutch painters. The French museum the Louvre in Paris acted as example. This museum opened on the 31st of May in 1800.
A couple of years later Napoleon Bonaparte established the Kingdom of Holland and his brother decided to move the museum to Amsterdam. Combining the art of the National Art Museum with the art owned by the city of Amsterdam, of which one was the famous Night Watch. The museum was situated in the Royal Palace at the Dam. But also soon this one was to small. Once again the museum was moved, this time in 1817. It was moved to the Trippenhuis what was a bad move because it wasn't really suitable for housing a museum and they moved out all the historical artifacts three years later to the Mauritshuis. Then most of the art moved out of Amsterdam to the nearby city of Haarlem in 1838.
Tired of moving and not being able to show a good exhibition of their collections the city of Amsterdam decided that there should be a permanent solution. So there was a design contest for a new National Museum in Amsterdam 1863. But none of the designs were sufficient and satisfying. In 1876 a new contest was held and this time the design of Pierre Cuypers won. In 1885 the museum opened his doors at the same place as where the museum until this day still is situated.
5 years later a additional building was build which now has the name the Philips Wing. Then many small and medium additions were done during the years. Until 2003 when the main building closed its door for 10 years to reopen not earlier than 2013. The building was totally renovated and redesigned. Hopefully ready for the next 100 years.
The collection of 200 pieces of art and historical objects grow rapidly over the years. Now-a-days the Rijksmuseum has a collection of more than 1.000.000 pieces. Many were bought during the years, others on loan or donated by art collectors. The most important artifacts are on permanent display. Others are only visible during temporary exhibitions or on loan to other museums. Also a small part of the collection can be seen at Schiphol, giving people passing through this airport to spend some hours enjoying the Dutch masters.
Though the museum has many historical objects. The main reason to visit this museum are the Dutch masters. Specially the Dutch Masters of the Dutch Golden Age are well displayed here. Most famous one for sure the Night Watch (Nachtwacht) of Rembrandt. Besides this masterpiece other parts of Rembrandt are on display. Another world famous piece of paintings can be seen here. The milkmaid (Het Melkmeisje) of Johannes Vermeer shows his masterly perfection of controlling light and extreme details in his paintings.
Some of the other masters on display and which you should not miss are Frans Hals, Bartholomeus van der Helst, Aelbert Cuyp, Paulus Potter, Verspronck, Pieter de Hooch, Jacob van Ruisdael, Jan Asselijn, Jan Steen and Dirck van Baburen. There are just too much. Surely too much to describe here.
For sure the one masterpiece where you will be visiting the Rijksmuseum for is the Night Watch from Rembrandt. One of the biggest paintings, though not the biggest, of the museum. On permanent display and always guarded by two persons. Years ago a mad man scratched the painting, that is one of the most valuable masterpieces in the world, with a sharp knife leaving a severe damage to it. Also you might need some time to visit this painting. A big part of the tourists and locals visiting Amsterdam want to see this painting so it can be very crowded. In most parts of the museum it won't be too crowded. But be prepared that you don't have this one just for yourself. Also accounting for many of the other paintings in the Hall of Famous where you can find the best masterpieces.
Besides all the old masters there are also more modern pieces on display. One of the most famous one of the later artists for sure is Karel Appel. This artist was also part of the Avant-garde movement who called themselves CoBrA. They mostly worked on experimental modern art. This movement were internationally renowned artists. Co stood for Copenhagen, Br for Brussels and the A for Amsterdam. One of the most famous pieces of Karel Appel is the Square Man, displayed here below.
Everything on display has short information in Dutch as well as in English, so when you don't speak Dutch you won't miss out on anything. Then for the big masterpieces you can find additional information enlightening more interesting information and details about the paintings and historical objects. Even better. At the entrance you can rent a audio multimedia guide.
Entering the museum will cost you €17,50 (2016). It is one of the more expensive museum you will find but it truly is worth every penny. If you are under 19 years of age the entrance is totally free. If you are planning to visit many museums in the Netherlands while there the best thing to do might be buying a Museum pass. This will give you an interesting discount on many museums or even grant you free entrance. In case of the Rijksmuseum you just pay €8,75. The multimedia tour will cost you an additional €5,00 extra. You can enter the museum every day starting from 09:00 in the morning. The museum closes at 17:00. Don't enter too late because you will need 3 to 4 hours to do a good visit to this museum. True museum enthusiasts may even need whole day. There is a a restaurant available at the square so no worries about that. Bags are not allowed to take inside but it is free to leave them at the desk. Underneath the restaurant a big museum shop can be found.
Best preparation for visiting this museum is to visit their website first. It is a good website, as well in Dutch as English with many of the paintings on display on the site as well. The paintings can be seen in high quality and with interesting additional information. Surely worth your visit. Click here to visit the website: www.rijksmuseum.nl
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