The Rijksmuseum is among Amsterdam‘s largest and most well-known museums. Its extensive collection features iconic art and a vast array of artefacts that span over 800 years of Dutch and world history, including stunning paintings from the likes of Rembrandt and Van Gogh and a myriad of other Dutch masters.
A few times per year, exhibits are held temporarily. An additional (free) beginning date is needed for some exhibitions. Explore the current temporary exhibits at the Rijksmuseum website.
The museum spans four levels, ranging from floor O (the central atrium) to floor three, and you can pick up an information desk. It is possible to see the highlights within a few hours, but you’ll prefer to spend more time soaking it all in. There’s a Michelin-starred eatery on the premises, shops, a cafe library, and a garden for a break during the trip.
It’s recommended to begin your tour on floor 2, which houses the essential pieces of the collection, including Golden Age masterpieces in the Gallery of Honour. Paintings by Vermeer that are intimate and De Hooch allow insight into daily life during the 17th century. Rembrandt’s The Night Watch(1642) is the most famous piece in the museum, which is a constant draw for crowds lining the walls. The museum was initially named Archers, under the command of Captain Frans Banning Cocq (the commander of the militia). The Night Watch title was given years later after an accumulation of grime created the impression that it was a scene from the evening. The building was later brought back to its former hue.
Be sure to check out Vermeer’s dreamy Milkmaid (1660), also known as the Kitchen Maid), The Little Street (1658), depicting the houses of Delft, and the Woman Reading A Letter (1663) or.
There are several Rembrandts on the floor, such as his self-portrait that he painted as the Apostle Paul as well as his painting The Jewish Bride (1665), which impressed Van Gogh so that he said that he would sacrifice the next ten years of his life to stand in front of the painting for a week with just a slice of bread for a meal.
Other highlights of the Rijksmuseum include The Merry Family (1668) by Jan Steen, who became famous for painting chaotic families to impart moral lessons, as well as the cult Portrait of the Girl in the Blue (1641) composed by Johannes Cornelisz Verspronck, the painting depicts the child at her Sunday finest.
Do not miss Van Gogh’s Self-portrait (1887), located on the first floor, along with the Battle of Waterloo (1824) by Jan Willem Peieneman, the largest painting in the museum, taking up nearly an entire wall.
The collection of the Rijksmuseum goes much further than Dutch masters. The rich culture of the Netherlands is brought to life by objects like ship models, models, artefacts, archaeological discoveries, clothes, weapons, photographs, prints, and much more. Additionally, many historical items depict the history of the Netherlands within a global context and provide a narrative of the eight hundred years in Amsterdam, starting from the beginning in the Middle Ages to the present today.
Alongside the works as old as the Golden Age, there are such things as Delft blue dishes sculptures, Delft blue dishes Asian arts, prints, and objects that relate to Dutch maritime historical events. There are also modern pieces like an original Mondrian-inspired dress in 1965 created by Yves Saint Laurent.
Alongside the paintings as well as the art collection and its building itself, it features a new garden since 2013, which is the perfect spot to unwind in the stunning surroundings. The museum regularly hosts guided tours, talks, and other events. More information can be found on the Rijksmuseum official website.