For me, no trip to Amsterdam would be complete without a visit to the Rijksmuseum. The gigantic collection of art, artifacts and cultural items includes 8000 pieces, 2000 or so of which are paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. There is no way to see everything in one visit so check out the collections online in advance or buy the museum program and make a plan of attack. In my opinion, it makes way more sense to take the time to enjoy the art you're into and accept in advance that you will not see everything. It's not overwhelming this way. I really enjoy art so I could easily return a few times to take it all in, but my travel partners found seeing endless collections of Dutch masters a bit boring and an afternoon was more than enough for them.
Plan to see classics, most of which are in the Gallery of Honor on the top floor including Rembrandt's The Night Watch and The Jewish Bride; Vermeer's The Milk Maid; Hals' Portrait of a Young Couple; Reubens' The Carrying of the Cross and Asselijn's The Threatened Swan. The rest is up to your tastes and time. I really enjoyed the new Asia Pavilion designed by Spanish architects Cruz y Ortiz, the artifacts display with the ship hulls, armor and weaponry, and I always make time for contemporary art exhibits.
With over two million visitors per year it can feel like they're all visiting on the day you're there. Crushing crowds can interfere with enjoying the art, so plan your visit at a slower time like right when they open in the morning, or visit Amsterdam in low season where this is unlikely to be a problem. This is an expensive museum; 15 Euro per visit plus guides and lockers and stuff, but well worth it for a big shot of world-class art.
The last major attraction we saw while in Amsterdam was the famous Rijksmusem ("State Museum"), which is known as one of the great museums of the world. Unlike some of our other planned activities, I did not buy tickets online in advance but had no problem in obtaining our tickets right at the museum on the day we decided to visit it.
Now located in the City of Amsterdam, the museum had its true beginnings in The Hague where it was founded in 1800. It moved to its present site in 1885, and is located in a magnificent building designed by Petrus J.H. Cuypers where it is facing the Museumplein. I thought the Dutch neo-Renaissance building was very interesting on a visual level with its many towers, arched portico, clock tower, architectural detail, and multi-colored brick. The building underwent a major 10-year renovation and was re-opened in 2013. The museum also has its own gardens which you might consider including in your visit.
The Rijksmuseum's art holdings are enormous with approximately one million art objects in its collection and only a fraction of these on display. Probably its most well known works of art are the paintings by the Dutch Masters -- those artists painting during the Dutch Golden Age in the years of 1568–1648. Among the luminaries of the time were Rembrandt, Fran Hals, Vermeer, Steen, and others equally as talented but whose names may be less well known. Some of the more famous works of art we saw here were Rembrandt's "Night Watch," Van Gogh's self portrait, Avercamp's "Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters," and "A Windmill on the Polder Waterway" (known as "In the Month of July"), by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriel.
In addition to paintings, the museum displays furniture, delftware, ship models, doll houses, figurines, fashion, sculpture, a bit of WW II vintage items, porcelain, and more. To see it all or most of it, you'll need to begin on the ground level gallery for special collections, followed by works of art from 1700 - 1800 on the first level, those of 1600 - 1650 on the second level, and 1950 - 2000 on the third level --- and this is what can be found on the floors to the left of the entrance only! On the right in the same order beginning on the ground level is art from the years 1100 - 1600, first level 1800 - 1900, second level 1650 - 1700, and third level 1900 - 1950. Don't forget to get a map of the museum at the information desk on the ground level. The map is available in several languages, but to be honest it does only a basic job. If you want more information on the art you will see/have seen, you will have to buy a more detailed book.
We arrived at the Rijksmuseum fairly early on a Sunday when the crowds were light, but they became increasingly heavy as the day went on. We spent several hours in the museum punctuated by a half-hour break -- and it would have been so easy to spend several more hours here. One area (I believe the Great Hall (Voorhal) was lined with large stained glass windows of famous figures which were quite beautiful with the light streaming through them -- the same hall also had mosaic designs embedded in the floor.
The portrait accompanying this page was the work of art I liked the most. I don't remember the name of the artist or the of the person who's portrait it is; however, for me this painting was so life-like that it seemed the subject of the painting was also looking at me. There seems to be just a touch of sadness in his eyes.
From the Rijksmuseum's website, days, hours and prices are:
9:00am to 5:00pm daily, all days of the year: so the museum is also open on Christmas day, Boxing day and New Year's day.
A nice benefit is that the Gardens, Rijks Shop and Café are also open to visitors without a ticket from 9:00am to 6:00pm.
Tickets prices (June, 2016) are:
Adults: € 17.50
Youth aged 18 and under, Museumkaart holders, members of ICOM, ICOMOS, UNESCO, the Rembrandt Association (Vereniging Rembrandt), KOG, Vrienden van de Aziatische Kunst and Vrienden van het Rijksmuseum: free admission
Holders of CJP, Stadspas or EYCA: 50% reduction on regular ticket price
The Rijksmuseum’s ticket desk closes at 4:30pm; tickets are also available on line at: https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/tickets
As previously mentioned we took about a half-hour break at the Rijksmuseum Cafe; before we left the museum, we also visited the excellent shop beneath the cafe which had an extensive selection of out of the ordinary souvenirs of the museum.
THE RIJKSMUSEUM REOPENED IN FULL GLORY AT APRIL 13, 2013 (after e decade of renovation).
Opening hours & admission
The Rijksmuseum will be the first national museum in the world to be open to the public 365 days per year. The museum will be open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Admission will be €15, the museum remains free for children under 19.
In 1885 the Rijksmuseum designed by P.J.H. Cuypers was completed. It's one of the Dutch UNESCO heritage monuments.
The collection has a longer history. The former Dutch Stadtholders started collecting the paintings which got a first home at the Huis ten Bosch in The Hague, called the Nationale Kunst-Galerij in 1800. In 1806 Lodewijk Napoleon became King of Holland and the galery was renamed into Koninklijk Museum.
In 1808 the museum moved to Amsterdam where the collection joined the capital's art collection (with Rembrandt's Nightwatch), The new location was at the upper palace of the Royal Palace at the Dam square.
During WWII most of the collection was moved to caves of the Sint Pietersberg at Maastricht.
On the moment a 10 year renovation program is in progress.
Admission: € 15.00
Daily: 9AM - 5PM
Infocenter (Het Nieuwe Rijksmuseum)
Th-Su: 11AM - 4PM
Library, picture cabinet & study hall
Tu-Sa: 10AM - 5PM
Rijksmuseum branche at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (Transit Area); Free entrance
All week: 7AM - 8PM
I've been to the Rijksmuseum last year and although I don't like art, I was very very impressed by the Rijksmuseum.
Everybody has heard of the Nachtwacht (Nightwatch) and I have seen many many pictures in my history books and arts class and I wanted to see it for myself and I was very impressed. It's so big and you can see the structure of the paint very good.
There also is a part of the museum that covers the wars and the stuff that is found from the time of the wars, I spend a lot of time in this part because I was very astonished by these pieces.
There is no museum in the Netherlands without landscapes and quite logically the Rijksmuseum displays some of the best Dutch landscapes in the rooms of the Eregalerij - Gallery of Honor on floor 2.
Landscapes were one of the major themes of the Dutch 17th c. paintings. The Dutch Golden century produced hundred thousands of landscapes of all kinds: river views and seaside landscapes, "green" landscapes often with a cottage under some trees or a river landscape by moonlight (pic 5).
These landscapes were painted not on order but to be sold to anybody who wanted to decorate his interior. Many Dutch families owed such small sized paintings for decoration.
The landscapes are one the reasons why I prefer the Dutch paintings to the Flemish or Italian schools. With the years I got somewhat saturated with religious or mythological subjects. There are none of these subjects among the paintings of the Gouden Eeuw.
I was quite happy to meet again some of the best Dutch landscapes.
First of all the "Molen bij Wijk bij Duurstede" by Jacob van Ruisdael (pic 1). This is probably the world most famous wind mill painting. Here you have united all Dutch landscape elements: lowlands, a river (the Lek) and the grey sky.
I must say that living under that grey rainy sky I prefer the "Rivierlandschap met ruiters" by Aelbert Cuyp (pic 2) a sunlit river landscape. One might think this is an Italian landscape but it is the Rhine near Nijmegen.
Another speciality of Dutch painters was painting church interiors. This is strange and a paradox because many churches in the Northern Netherlands had been stripped of their decoration when the Calvinists took them over from the Catholics.
In the history of the Northern Netherlands this is referred to as "beeldstormers" or iconoclasts (pic 3). After taking away statues, paintings and other decoration elements the walls were just chalked white. Pieter Saenredam specialized in these very sober church interiors (pics 4).
The museum concentrated in the 8 lateral rooms of the "Eregalerij" Gallery of Honour on Floor 2 the highlights of the "Gouden Eeuw" the Dutch 17th "Golden Century" paintings.
What you see here is just "wonderbaar" superb. The best works of the Rijksmuseum in the various genres of paintings that made the success of the Dutch 17th c. school are on display on the walls of these 8 rooms. The disadvantage is that this part is the most crowded with guided tours blocking the access to the best known works!
Worst is the pushing in front of the four Vermeer's "Brieflezende Vrouw" (pic 1) "Het Melkmeisje", "Het Straatje" (pic 2) and "De Liefdesbrief".
In the same room are several works of Pieter de Hooch, also one of the best in the genre scenes of everyday life a particularly Dutch phenomenon. I much liked that "Moedertaak" (pic 3) a mother inspecting her child’s hair for lice!
The room next is that of Jan Steen, another marvelous genre scenes painter. Astonishing is the "Dansles" (pic 4) showing children who learn a cat to dance. The children are amused, not the cat.
I found back one of my favored works of Jan Steen "De burgemeester van Delft en zijn dochter" (pic 5). Mayor Croeser of Delft is shown giving alms to a poor woman. The odd thing with this painting is that two years later Croeser did stand guarantor for Jan Steen heavily in debt.
One of the “showpiece” sights to visit in the city, and perhaps most renowned for its Rembrandt - the Night Guard. I’m not much of a Rembrandt person - the Vermeers are more to my taste - but a masterpiece is a masterpiece.
The Night Guard is huge - many hours of labour.
We spent 2.5 hours in the museum. A wet Saturday on the weekend after New Year. It was busy.
I enjoyed it up to a point, but it is the kind of place where it’s better to see a bit and then come back another time to see some more. Well, I’m not in Amsterdam that often and it isn’t free!
Entry was €17.50 per adult. Not a cheap day out. Not a cheap couple of hours.
You can spend a lot of time queuing to get in, and for the cloakroom. As regards the former, I think buying a ticket online in advance means you avoid the queue. Worth checking out.
The profusion of arts in the 17 th. c. was not a sui generis phenomena but the result of an extraordinary commercial expansion sustained by maritime power. The Netherlands were one of the three most important sea powers of that time and dominated the world trade.
That was not without wars at sea against England, Spain, and Portugal in which the Dutch Republic won some spectacular victories.
This resulted in an important demand for marine paintings. Several of the best are on display on the museum. Significant for the maritime history is the large room 2.15 called William Rex room after the very large ship model exposed. It is a 72 guns typical Dutch warship of the late 17th c (pic 1).
In that room are on display a number of paintings illustrating Dutch victories against England and Spain. Very interesting for the marine historians are the "pen paintings" made with pen and ink on canvas by Willem van de Velde I because of all the details. My photo shows part of the Battle of Terheiden (pic 2) in which the Dutch Lieutenant-Admiral Maarten Tromp was killed. The painter was on board of one of the ships.
His son Willem van de Velde II the Younger became one of the best Dutch marine painters. My photos show the "The surrender of the Royal Prince" (pic 3) to Admiral Tromp and one of the most appreciated marine paintings by Willem van de Velde II "Dutch ships in a calm" (pic 4 )
When he went to England to work at the court of Charles II Ludolf Backhuyzen (photo of "Man-of-War Brielle on river Maas" pic 5 ) followed him up with many others.
Winter landscapes is a genre of paintings that has much success with the visitors of the Rijksmuseum. There are often funny details to be seen like persons falling on the ice and showing what should not be seen.
One of the specialists of winter landscapes is Hendrik Avercamp. Some of his works are on display in room 2.6 The one on my photo shows on the left a beggar and a man who made a hole in the ice to catch fish.Other who are better off amuse themselves on the ice riding sleigh or playing "kolf" the ancestor of hockey on ice. Rich ladies on the right wear velvet masks to protect their skin from the cold.
There have been special exhibitions on the Dutch winter landscapes in the Golden Age and the "Winter Painters". The reason for this is not only the attractiveness of these winter landscapes but because in the 17th. century there was a period of extremely cold winters and relatively cold summers in northwestern Europe. This period was called the Little Ice Age. In Holland the waterways so important for the economy were blocked by ice for several weeks. The years around 1600 were the worst in the Little Ice Age with bitterly cold winters and lots of snow.
This explains the large number of winter landscapes often with frozen rivers that reached us.
Next to Avercamp we have ", Essias van de Velde, Aert van der Neer and many others not to forget in the southern Netherlands Pieter Bruegel the Elder with "Hunters in the Snow" (KHM in Vienna).
Built in the 19th century as a museum, this gorgeous red brick building is home to an impressive collection of art, including a few masterpieces by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Vermeer. These works of art make the Rijksmuseum one of the top attractions in Amsterdam, and it should be one of your first stops in the city. The museum recently completed a several year renovation project. I first visited the museum in Jul 2005, during the renovations, and returned again on 31st Dec 2014 after the completion.
After many years the main block was under construction they have reopened the Rijksmuseum, we were right there when they reopened (early last year) - and we just came back from yet ANOTHER VISIT!! If you're a museum lover or art fan- this one is the mother of all art museums, it's a real cultural gem with such an exquisite collection of art you will stay in awe for hours, literally, you can spend a whole day there.
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Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum is the largest museum of art and history in the Netherlands. With nearly 1 million objects in its permanent collection, this immense museum attracts thousands upon thousands of visitors each year, making it one of the city's most popular cultural attractions.
Some of the objects stay on display regularly while many pieces of the museum's collection Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam travel to various parts of the planet, appearing as temporary exhibits in some of the world's finest museums.
While the Rijksmuseum features works of many genres and from many regions, the most well known part of its collection are the many 17th century art masterpieces painted by the school known as The Dutch Masters. The museum is home to 20 magnificent Rembrandt works in addition to pieces by Vermeer, Hals, and Steen. Visitors will also find works by other Dutch painters, ranging from the 15th through the 19th century, De Keukenmeid, Vermeer
as well as art by famous masters from around the world.
In addition to Dutch artistic masterpieces, visitors will also enjoy a look at Dutch history through the display of a variety of artifacts that represent the Dutch state and nation from the Middle Ages through the 20th century.
Guests are also treated to fine examples of sculpture and decorative arts in a number of different mediums. You'll see traditional statuary, porcelain pieces, furniture, glass, jewelry, costumes, textiles, bronze and copper, and much more.