Amsterdam: The Rijksmuseum
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 two 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.
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© 2013 Karen Hellier