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Rijks museum logo.png
Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.jpg
Rijksmuseum at the Museumplein in 2016
Amsterdam centre map.png
Red pog.svg
Location within the city of Amsterdam
Established31 May 1800 [1]
LocationMuseumstraat 1 [2]
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Coordinates 52°21′36″N4°53′07″E / 52.36000°N 4.885278°E / 52.36000; 4.885278 Coordinates: 52°21′36″N4°53′07″E / 52.36000°N 4.885278°E / 52.36000; 4.885278
Type National museum
Art museum
History museum
Collection size1 million objects [3]
Director Taco Dibbits [9]
President Jaap de Hoop Scheffer [9]
Public transit access Tram: 2 Amsterdam tramlijn 2.svg , 5 Amsterdam tramlijn 5.svg , 7 Amsterdam tramlijn 7.svg , 10 Amsterdam tramlijn 10.svg , 12 Amsterdam tramlijn 12.svg Bus: 26, 65, 66, 170, 172, 197 [2]
Website www.rijksmuseum.nl

The Rijksmuseum (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈrɛiksmyˌzeːjʏm] ; English: National Museum) is a Dutch national museum [10] dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. The museum is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, close to the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw. [11]

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.

History past events and their record

History is the study of the past as it is described in written documents. Events occurring before written record are considered prehistory. It is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events. Scholars who write about history are called historians.

Amsterdam Capital city of the Netherlands and municipality

Amsterdam is the capital city and most populous municipality of the Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government, which is The Hague. Amsterdam has a population of 854,047 within the city proper, 1,357,675 in the urban area and 2,410,960 in the metropolitan area. The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country but is not its capital, which is Haarlem. The Amsterdam metropolitan area comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, which has a population of approximately 8.1 million.


The Rijksmuseum was founded in The Hague in 1800 and moved to Amsterdam in 1808, where it was first located in the Royal Palace and later in the Trippenhuis. [1] The current main building was designed by Pierre Cuypers and first opened in 1885. [3] On 13 April 2013, after a ten-year renovation which cost 375 million, the main building was reopened by Queen Beatrix. [12] [13] [14] In 2013 and 2014, it was the most visited museum in the Netherlands with record numbers of 2.2 million and 2.47 million visitors. [6] [15] It is also the largest art museum in the country.

The Hague City and municipality in South Holland, Netherlands

The Hague is a city on the western coast of the Netherlands and the capital of the province of South Holland. It is also the seat of government of the Netherlands.

Trippenhuis rijksmonument on Kloveniersburgwal 29, Amsterdam

The Trippenhuis is a neoclassical canal mansion in the centre of Amsterdam. It was built in 1660–1662 for the wealthy Amsterdam weapons traders Louis and Hendrick Trip. Many references to weaponry can be seen on its facade. Since 1887 it has been the seat of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Pierre Cuypers Dutch architect

Petrus Josephus Hubertus (Pierre) Cuypers was a Dutch architect. His name is most frequently associated with the Amsterdam Central Station (1881–1889) and the Rijksmuseum (1876–1885), both in Amsterdam. More representative for his oeuvre, however, are numerous churches, of which he designed more than 100. Moreover, he restored a large number of monuments.

The museum has on display 8,000 objects of art and history, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000, among which are some masterpieces by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer. The museum also has a small Asian collection, which is on display in the Asian pavilion. [3]

Art Creative work to evoke emotional response

Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author's imaginative, conceptual ideas, or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. In their most general form these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art.

Rembrandt 17th-century Dutch painter and printmaker

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch draughtsman, painter and printmaker. An innovative and prolific master in three media, he is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history. Unlike most Dutch masters of the 17th century, Rembrandt's works depict a wide range of style and subject matter, from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, biblical and mythological themes as well as animal studies. His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age, when Dutch art, although in many ways antithetical to the Baroque style that dominated Europe, was extremely prolific and innovative, and gave rise to important new genres. Like many artists of the Dutch Golden Age, such as Jan Vermeer of Delft, Rembrandt was also an avid art collector and dealer.

Frans Hals 17th-century painter from the Northern Netherlands

Frans Hals the Elder was a Dutch Golden Age painter, normally of portraits, who lived and worked in Haarlem. He is notable for his loose painterly brushwork, and he helped introduce this lively style of painting into Dutch art. Hals played an important role in the evolution of 17th-century group portraiture.


18th century

Isaac Gogel (1765-1821) Isaac Gogel.jpg
Isaac Gogel (1765–1821)

In 1795, the Batavian Republic was proclaimed. The Minister of Finance Isaac Gogel argued that a national museum, following the French example of The Louvre, would serve the national interest. On 19 November 1798, the government decided to found the museum. [1] [16]

Batavian Republic Former country (1795-1806)

The Batavian Republic was the successor of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. It was proclaimed on 19 January 1795 and ended on 5 June 1806, with the accession of Louis I to the throne of Holland. From October 1801 onward, it was known as the Batavian Commonwealth. Both names refer to the Germanic tribe of the Batavi, representing both the Dutch ancestry and their ancient quest for liberty in their nationalistic lore.

Alexander Gogel Dutch politician

Isaac Jan Alexander Gogel was the first minister of finance of the Batavian Republic and the Kingdom of Holland. He married Catharina van Hasselt in 1800, and had three children.

On 31 May 1800, the National Art Gallery (Dutch: Nationale Kunst-Galerij), precursor of the Rijksmuseum, opened in Huis ten Bosch in The Hague. The museum exhibited around 200 paintings and historic objects from the collections of the Dutch stadtholders. [1] [16]

Dutch language West Germanic language

Dutch(Nederlands ) is a West Germanic language spoken by around 23 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting the majority of people in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is the third most widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives English and German.

Stadtholder title used in parts of Europe

In the Low Countries, stadtholder was an office of steward, designated a medieval official and then a national leader. The stadtholder was the replacement of the duke or earl of a province during the Burgundian and Habsburg period (1384–1581/1795).

19th century

In 1805, the National Art Gallery moved within The Hague to the Prince William V Gallery, on the Buitenhof. [1]

Prince William V Gallery Art museum in The Hague

The Prince William V Gallery is an art gallery on the Buitenhof in The Hague that currently shares an entrance with the Gevangenpoort museum. It is a modern recreation of the gallery Galerij Prins Willem V once founded there by William V, Prince of Orange in 1774. The collection is part of the Mauritshuis.

Buitenhof (The Hague) square in The Hague

The Buitenhof is a square in The Hague, Netherlands, adjacent to the Binnenhof and the Hofvijver pond. It is listed in the Top 100 Dutch heritage sites.

In 1806, the Kingdom of Holland was established by Napoleon Bonaparte. On the orders of king Louis Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, the museum moved to Amsterdam in 1808. The paintings owned by that city, such as The Night Watch by Rembrandt, became part of the collection. In 1809, the museum opened in the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. [1]

In 1817, the museum moved to the Trippenhuis. The Trippenhuis turned out to be unsuitable as a museum. In 1820, the historical objects were moved to the Mauritshuis in The Hague and in 1838, the 19th-century paintings "of living masters" were moved to king Louis Bonaparte's former summer palace Paviljoen Welgelegen in Haarlem. [1]

"Did you know that a large, new building will take the place of the Trippenhuis in Amsterdam? That’s fine with me; the Trippenhuis is too small, and many paintings hang in such a way that one can’t see them properly."

 Vincent van Gogh in a letter to his brother Theo in 1873 [17] . Vincent himself would later become a painter and some of his works would be hanging on the museum.

In 1863, there was a design contest for a new building for the Rijksmuseum, but none of the submissions was considered to be of sufficient quality. Pierre Cuypers also participated in the contest and his submission reached the second place. [18]

In 1876, a new contest was held and this time Pierre Cuypers won. The design was a combination of gothic and renaissance elements. The construction began on 1 October 1876. On both the inside and the outside, the building was richly decorated with references to Dutch art history. Another contest was held for these decorations. The winners were B. van Hove and J.F. Vermeylen for the sculptures, G. Sturm for the tile tableaus and painting and W.F. Dixon for the stained glass. The museum was opened at its new location on 13 July 1885. [18] [ dead link ]

In 1890, a new building was added a short distance to the south-west of the Rijksmuseum. As the building was made out of fragments of demolished buildings, the building offers an overview of the history of Dutch architecture and has come to be known informally as the 'fragment building'. It is also known as the 'south wing' and is currently (in 2013) branded the Philips Wing.

20th century

Dutch newsreel from 1959

In 1906, the hall for the Night Watch was rebuilt. [18] In the interior more changes were made between the 1920s and 1950s - most multi-coloured wall decorations were painted over. In the 1960s exposition rooms and several floors were built into the two courtyards. The building had some minor renovations and restorations in 1984, 1995–1996 and 2000. [19]

A renovation of the south wing of the museum, also known as the 'fragment building' or 'Philips Wing', was completed in 1996, the same year that the museum held its first major photography exhibition featuring its extensive collection of 19th-century photos. [20]

21st century

The atrium after the renovation in 2013 Atrium Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 02.jpg
The atrium after the renovation in 2013

In December 2003, the main building of the museum closed for a major renovation. During this renovation, about 400 objects from the collection were on display in the 'fragment building', including Rembrandt's The Night Watch and other 17th-century masterpieces. [21]

The restoration and renovation of the Rijksmuseum are based on a design by Spanish architects Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz. Many of the old interior decorations were restored and the floors in the courtyards were removed. The renovation would have initially taken five years, but was delayed and eventually took almost ten years to complete. The renovation cost 375 million. [13]

The reconstruction of the building was completed on 16 July 2012. In March 2013, the museum's main pieces of art were moved back from the 'fragment building' (Philips Wing) to the main building. The Night Watch returned to the Night Watch Room, at the end of the Hall of Fame. On 13 April 2013, the main building was reopened by Queen Beatrix. [12] On 1 November 2014, the Philips Wing reopened with the exhibition Modern Times: Photography in the 20th Century.

List of directors

Queen Beatrix and museum director Wim Pijbes in 2013 Queen Beatrix and Wim Pijbes.jpg
Queen Beatrix and museum director Wim Pijbes in 2013


The building of the Rijksmuseum was designed by Pierre Cuypers and opened in 1885. It consists of two squares with an atrium in each centre. In the central axis is a tunnel with the entrances at ground level and the Gallery of Honour at the first floor. The building also contains a library. The fragment building, branded Philips wing, contains building fragments that show the history of architecture in the Netherlands. The Rijksmuseum is a rijksmonument (national heritage site) since 1970 [31] and was listed in the Top 100 Dutch heritage sites in 1990. The Asian pavilion was designed by Cruz y Ortiz and opened in 2013.

According to Muriel Huisman, Project Architect for the Rijksmuseum's renovation, "Cruz y Ortiz always like to look for a synergy between old and new, and we try not to explain things with our architecture.” With the Rijks, “there’s no cut between old and new; we’ve tried to merge it. We did this by looking for materials that were true to the original building, resulting in a kind of silent architecture." [32]


The collection of the Rijksmuseum consists of 1 million objects and is dedicated to arts, crafts, and history from the years 1200 to 2000. Around 8000 objects are currently on display in the museum. [3]

The collection contains more than 2,000 paintings from the Dutch Golden Age by notable painters such as Jacob van Ruisdael, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Rembrandt, and Rembrandt's pupils. [3]

The museum also has a small Asian collection which is on display in the Asian pavilion. [3]

It also displays the stern of HMS Royal Charles which was captured in the Raid on the Medway, and the Hartog plate.

In 2012, [33] the museum took the unusual step of making some 125,000 high-resolution images available for download via its Rijksstudio webplatform, [34] with plans to add another 40,000 images per year until the entire collection of one million works is available, according to Taco Dibbits, director of collections. [35] [36]


yearvisitors yearvisitors yearvisitors
19751,412,000 [37] 20001,146,438 [38] 2010896,393 [39]
20011,015,561 [38] 20111,010,402 [39] [lower-alpha 1]
19921,216,103 [40] [lower-alpha 2] 20021,100,488 [41] 2012894,058 [42]
1993936,400 [40] 2003833,450 [41] [lower-alpha 3] 20132,246,122 [15]
19941,002,000 [43] [44] [lower-alpha 4] 2004812,102 [45] 20142,474,352 [6]
1995942,000 [44] 2005842,586 [45] 20152,345,666 [5]
19961,275,000 [46] 20061,142,182 [39] 20162,200,000 (est.) [4]
19971,084,652 [47] 2007969,561 [39]
19981,229,445 [48] 2008975,977 [39]
19991,310,497 [48] 2009876,453 [39]

The 20th-century visitor record of 1,412,000 was reached in the year 1975. [37]

In the 1990s and early 2000s, the Rijksmuseum was annually visited by 0.9 to 1.3 million people. On 7 December 2003, the main building of the museum was closed for a renovation until 13 April 2013. In the preceding decade, the number of visitors had slightly decreased to 0.8 to 1.1 million people. The museum says after the renovation, the museum's capacity is 1.5 to 2.0 million visitors annually. [3] Within eight months since the reopening in 2013, the museum was visited by 2 million people. [49]

The museum had 2.2 million visitors in 2013 and reached an all-time record of 2.47 million visitors in 2014. [6] [15] [45] [39] [38] [41] [42] The museum was the most visited museum in the Netherlands and the 19th most visited art museum in the world in 2013 and 2014. [7] [8] [15] [50]


The library in the Rijksmuseum Rijks Museum Library.jpg
The library in the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum Research Library is part of the Rijksmuseum, and is the best and the largest public art history research library in The Netherlands.


Rijks, stylized as RIJKS®, is a restaurant with 140 seats in the Philips Wing. [51] Joris Bijdendijk has been the chef de cuisine since the opening in 2014. [52] The restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 2017. [53]


  1. This includes the 16,777 visitors to the main building.
  2. In 1993, the visitors number had decreased with 23% to 936,400, i.e. there were approximately 1,216,103 visitors in 1992.
  3. The main building was closed from 7 December 2003.
  4. In 1995, the visitor number had decreased with 60,000 to 942,000, i.e. there were approximately 1,002,000 visitors in 1994.

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