Explore The Netherlands’ largest publicly-funded museum, full of world-famous masterpieces.
The Rijksmuseum is a fascinating place where visitors can see familiar famous masterpieces among the extensive collection of art and historical objects that chart the development of The Netherlands through the past 900 years. With over one million pieces in the collection, filling and incredible 200 rooms, art enthusiasts will be in their element.
The Rijksmuseum was originally founded in 1800 as the National Art Gallery in The Hague. In 1885, the museum was moved to its current location, as more room was needed for the continuously expanding collection. The building that houses the collection is a masterpiece in its own right. It was designed by the celebrated Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers, who drew inspiration from Gothic and Renaissance styles. Following a recent decade-long renovation project, the Main Hall has been restored to its full glory. As you step into this palatial space, the first things you’ll notice are the colourful stained-glass windows, the ornately-decorated vaulted ceiling and the intricate design of the mosaic-tiled floor.
The collections are grouped according to period and artistic movement, from the medieval and Renaissance era characterised by religious iconography, through to the 20th century, showcasing the best in modern art and design. The museum’s extensive collection of Dutch Golden Age art is staggering. You’ll need around half a day just to explore this collection alone. The undoubted highlight has to be Rembrandt’s celebrated masterpiece “The Night Watch” that hangs alone in its own specially-designed gallery room.
The museum also boasts a fascinating art collection from the Far East. Based in the newly-constructed Asian Pavilion, this collection spans around 4,000 years of history. Explore the paintings, prints and sculptures that are displayed alongside delicate lacquer boxes, jewellery and porcelain.
The Rijksmuseum is open every day, apart from New Year’s Day. You can purchase tickets from the official website to avoid the queues. Situated between Stadhouderskade and Museumplein, it is easy to reach the museum by public transport, and the hop-on, hop-off canal tours stop directly in front. If you are driving, it is recommended to use the park-and-ride facilities at the edge of the city, as parking spaces are limited in the centre.