“The Cuypers concept continues”

Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum reopens

MúzeumCafé 35.

After being closed for a decade the Rijksmuseum reopened in April. Now visitors enter not only a renovated building but also a completely new museum meeting 21st-century requirements in all respects. Reconstruction was not without its problems. Some minor scandals along with technical and financial issues affected deadlines and the date for reopening was delayed several times. The Rijksmuseum is the second of the three internationally renowned museums in Amsterdam’s Museumplein to reopen within a year (for the Stedelijk see MúzeumCafé No. 31). Reopening of the third, the Van Gogh Museum, is expected in the not-too-distant future. The decision to establish a national museum in Holland on the French pattern was taken in 1798 and the Rijksmuseum opened under the name Nationale Kunstgalerij in The Hague in May 1800. On the orders of Holland’s King Louis, Napoleon’s younger brother, the collection was moved to Amsterdam in 1808 and established in the Royal Palace and the former Town Hall in Dam Square. Designed by Pierre Cuypers, the Rijksmuseum opened in 1885. The most spectacular result of the recent renovation is the Rijksmuseum’s new entrance hall, which opens from the street passing through the building. Renovation of the main building was completed last summer and was followed by the installation of works of art in the 12,000 sq. metre exhibition space. The new museum involves a new concept of presentation – for the first time the permanent display includes paintings, works of graphic art, drawings, goldsmith’s works, porcelain, furniture, jewellery, clothing, photographs and important items relating to Dutch history, all presented chronologically. The 375 million euro renovation project has put the Rijksmuseum back among the world’s leading museums.