A Short Note on the History of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Tours
Tourist Attractions In Amsterdam

On one of your Amsterdam tours, you may have visited one of the popular tourist spots, the Rijksmuseum. This Dutch National Museum dates back to the early nineteenth century. It was opened in 1800, and known by the name ‘Nationale Kunstgalerij’. During this time, it was located at Hague inside the Huis ten Bosch, and housed many historical objects as well as around 200 paintings.

In 1808, this museum moved to Amsterdam and was based in Dam Square Royal Palace. This is when King Napoleon ordered that the collections be shifted to Amsterdam. On his commands, the artworks and objects including famous artworks like Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch’, were shifted to the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. In 1809, on the palace’s top floor, the Koninklijk Museum was opened.

Later, this museum was relocated to the Trippenhuis when Willem I came back to the Netherlands. However, the Trippenhuis was found inapt as a museum, and in addition to that, the people thought there needed to be a dedicated museum in the country. This is when architect Pierre Cuypers came up with the design of the Rijksmuseum, and the museum was eventually constructed and opened in 1885.

All these years, this museum has undergone many renovations and continued to expand. Within 1904 to 1916, some rooms were added in the palace’s southwest side for housing the 19th-century painting collections donated by Mr. and Mrs. Drucker-Fraser. During 1950’s and 1960’s, for the purpose of creating more rooms, two courtyards were covered up.

In 1927, the Museum was split into two departments: Sculpture & Applied Arts department, and Dutch History department. However, after 1945, these sections were shifted to separate regions of the building. In the 1950’s, the Asian Art department was added when the museum received a collection of artwork from the Association of Friends of Asian Art.

The newest renovation in the Rijksmuseum is the Verder met Cuypers, which reinstated the Cuypers structure. The building works were removed from the courtyard. Furthermore, the paintings and the applied history and arts, instead of being displayed at various parts of the museum, are now put up in a single chronological series that tells us the story of Dutch art and history.

Now the building is modernized, without affecting Cuypers’ actual interior designs because the Rijksmuseum dubbed the undertaking, ‘Verder met Cuypers’. Obviously, this museum is now an outstanding institution that never fails to impress its multitudes of 21st-century visitors.