A decade undergoing renovations is no light affair, which is why the Netherland’s Queen Beatrix was among thousands of onlookers who attended the official re-opening on April 13 of Rijksmuseum, the national museum of the Netherlands.
The radical $500 million makeover, headed by Spanish design firm Cruz y Cruz, succeeded in restoring the 19th-century building’s red-brick exterior, which still resembles a fairy-tale castle. In addition, all four floors of the 128-year-old building now sport the latest and most modern technologies and displays. “It’s totally changed, renewed, improved, radiant—everything is new,” said director Wim Pijbes.
Along with a brand new appearance, visitors can expect a brand new concept for the museum’s collection, which is chronologically organized to tell the history of the Netherlands. From the Middle Ages to the 21st century, 8,000 paintings, tapestries, prints, jewelry, silver pieces, and fashion objects spread throughout 80 galleries. An outdoor museum was added based upon a 1901 design by Pierre Cuypers, the museum’s original architect, as a further nod to their rich Dutch history.
While you’re there, don’t Miss Rembrandt’s masterpiece The Night Watch (1642), the only piece that was returned following the reservations to its dedicated space at the end of the Gallery of Honor. If visiting for a few days, Amsterdam offers several other opportunities to honor the arts and culture that surrounds including the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, and historic canals dotted with eclectic coffeeshops.
The Rijksmuseum is situated on the Museumplein in Amsterdam, and is easily accessible by public transport, car, and bicycle. To plan your visit, go to www.rijksmuseum.nl.