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Amsterdam: The Rijksmuseum

Updated on May 15, 2017
Beautiful courtyard painting by Dutch artist Pieter de Hooch
Beautiful courtyard painting by Dutch artist Pieter de Hooch | Source


The Rijksmuseum (pronounced "Rikes") is the National Museum of Holland and is located in the middle of the capital city of Amsterdam. It is located in the heart of the city of Amsterdam in Museum Square. Museum Square is also called "Museumplein" in Dutch, so if you take a trip to Amsterdam, that is what all the guidebooks call this area of the city. In Museum Square you will also find the Stedelijk Museum, a beautiful Art Museum, as well as the Van Gogh Museum, featuring the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh of course. All of these museums are within walking distance of each other.

The Rijksmuseum is open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Currently, in January of 2013, it is nearing the end of a ten-year renovation. There are 14 rooms filled with displays now, in the Phillip's Wing. The whole museum will reopen to the public in April 2013. Once completed, there will be 80 rooms for visitors to view. To walk through the current 14 display rooms takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours so when the museum reopens in April, one can imagine how overwhelmingly large the exhibits will be. It is advised to plan at least 2 days to visit and see all this museum has to offer. The Rijksmuseum also has a small exhibit at the Schipol airport, making it the only museum in the world to have an airport presence.

This amazing museum was first opened in 1800, but moved to its current location in the middle of Amsterdam in 1885. Many people think that the Rijksmuseum only offers views of the original paintings of some of the 17th century's Dutch Masters such as Rembrandt, Hall, Vermeer, van Dyck and Jan Steen. But it offers so much more than that. The Rijksmuseum has a large collection of not only paintings, but of jewelry, clothing, sculpture, Delftware, Asian art, prints, photographs, drawings, etchings, furniture, weapons, model ships, glass and more. The displays tell the history of Amsterdam, going back approximately 800 years.

Having recently visited the Rijksmuseum, I was amazed at the exhibits, specifically the actual original artwork of the Dutch Masters. The most famous painting on display is called, 'The Night Watch" by Rembrandt. This is a huge painting that measures 13 by 16 feet and actually hangs on a wall. Many of the paintings at the Rijksmuseum are this large and are truly magnificent in their size alone. And the fact that these paintings by the Masters were there in front of me was quite awe inspiring. Paintings of artists I had heard of, but never expected to be able to see the actual works of were in front of me, some even making my chin drop in awe of their beauty.

Visitors who are interested in other forms of art other than paintings won't be disappointed as there are plenty of other exhibits.But the exhibits of these paintings of the Dutch Masters are the biggest draw to the Rijksmuseum. If you are planning a trip to Amsterdam, you won't want to miss this amazing collection of Dutch history through its art.

If you plan on going, here's a wonderful guidebook to help you plan your visit...

Rembrandt's famous painting of, "The Night Watch." I included people in the picture so you can see how large the painting is.
Rembrandt's famous painting of, "The Night Watch." I included people in the picture so you can see how large the painting is. | Source
My favorite painting at the Rijk's Museum. The painter was Bartholomeus van der Helst. The figures looked as though they would come alive and begin speaking to you. They were quite realistic.
My favorite painting at the Rijk's Museum. The painter was Bartholomeus van der Helst. The figures looked as though they would come alive and begin speaking to you. They were quite realistic. | Source
A close up shot of the above picture. The man with the beard looks like my grandfather!
A close up shot of the above picture. The man with the beard looks like my grandfather! | Source
Etching of Christ's death by Rembrandt
Etching of Christ's death by Rembrandt | Source
Model of a ship at the Rijk's museum. The model is approximately 12 feet tall and 16 feet long.
Model of a ship at the Rijk's museum. The model is approximately 12 feet tall and 16 feet long. | Source
Painting of inside of a church, a favorite subject of Pieter Janse Saenredam.
Painting of inside of a church, a favorite subject of Pieter Janse Saenredam. | Source
Painting of Old Amsterdam that is so clear in person it almost looks like a photograph.
Painting of Old Amsterdam that is so clear in person it almost looks like a photograph. | Source

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    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      What a wonderful hub. I was at this museum about 21 years ago and it was just incredible. Filled with such beautiful paintings. I came away with an all time new favorite...Franz Hals' "The Wedding Portrait". A glorious work that I had not thought of in a while. I hope it still hangs there. Shared, up and awesome. Thanks for a trip down memory lane.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      What magnificent photos! Museums offer us so much as you so aptly pointed out. However,no matter what else they offer, the paintings are things you don't get to see other places. This was just beautiful!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
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      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      tillsontitan,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, the paintings are amazing and were my favorite things on display at this museum. I was so enthralled to be standing in front of paintings by Rembrandt. But it turns out that I actually don't like his work as much as I thought I would. There are other Dutch painters who painted items in still life paintings that look so realistic that it looked like a photograph. Those were my favorites. But to each their own because my husband loved the Rembrandts.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      Glimmer Twin Fan,

      There was a painting of Franz Hals that featured a newly married couple in a garden, but it was called, "Couple in a Garden." It was one I do remember because they both looked so happy. I am glad I was able to take you down memory lane. I loved Amsterdam and hope to return one day.

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