Amsterdam is the city of canals. The Golden Age canals lined by gabled buildings are a beautiful sight and are the backdrop for many of the shops, museums, and restaurants in the city. Beautiful canals weave the core of the city. There are many historic buildings, museums, and pleasant spaces in the city attracting millions of tourists every year. You can go for a boat tour on the canals, go shopping in the inner parts of the city, and stroll through the Vondelpark. The seventeenth century capital of the Netherlands is a unique city that you won’t be able to resist.
With quirky festivals, live music, theatre, world-class museums, delightful bars, and restaurants, you will never feel bored in the city. When you are on Amsterdam tours, never forget to explore the museums in the city that can offer you a load of details on the rich history and culture of the place. Rijksmuseum is one of the oldest museums in Amsterdam that you should never skip on your trip.
The Rijksmuseum translates to the State Museum in English. The museum is one of the most breathtaking museums in the city and exists for more than 200 years. It went through many transformations during this period. After its renovation, the museum became an attraction that no tourist to the city should miss.
History of Rijksmuseum
The Amsterdam Rijksmuseum opened its collection to the public in 1800. At that time, the museum was called the Nationale Kunstgallerij (National Art Gallery). The museum changed its location before it was permanently established in Amsterdam in 1808, by the order of Louis Bonaparte, who was the King of Netherlands at that time. It was then named the Royal Museum and the King Willem I named the museum as Rijksmuseum.
In the year 1885, the museum moved to the building that was designed by the architect Petrus J.H. Cuypers. The building was designed in the Dutch neo-Renaissance style, making use of neo-Gothic elements in its decoration and forms.
The position that Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam gained through the centuries is not just a result of the masterpiece paintings of world and Dutch art in the museum. You can find Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch’ and many paintings by van Dyck, Vermeer, and Jan Steen in the museum.
The internationally adorned collection of artworks in the Rijksmuseum features some national treasures in Amsterdam. However, tourists to the Rijksmuseum can expect much more than paintings by the Golden Age masters. The collection in the museum includes sculptures, prints, clothing, Delftware, Asian art, and numerous items from Dutch history.
The museum collection is not frozen in time and more items arrive that represent the modern times and art. For instance, you can see a Mondrian-inspired dress by Yves Saint Laurent, which dates back to 1965.
Paintings in the Rijksmuseum
The painting Jeremia Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem by Rembrandt is based on the Biblical story of Jeremia in which he warned the king about the dangers waiting Jerusalem if he didn’t accept the demands of his opponents. His prophecy was ignored. The result was that the king was blinded and the Jerusalem was set on fire. Rembrandt painted Jeremia in great detail and hairs of his beard are visible in the painting. The background of the painting shows Jerusalem on fire and the king struggling with his blinded eyes.
Another famous artwork in Rijksmuseum is the Portrait of Lizzie Ansingh by Therese Schwartze, who was a much celebrated Dutch artist. Schwartze was a distinguished member of a group of female painters, who were much active around the 1900. History says that she became a millionaire just from the society portraits that she made. Lizzie Ansingh was the niece of Schwartze, and the artist made the portrait with confident and vigorous brush strokes. Schwartze was one of the most sought after portrait painters of the twentieth century.
The Threatened Swan is another painting in Rijksmuseum, which is worth the time spent. It is the first acquisition of the Nationale Kunstgalerlj, which was the forerunner of the Rijksmuseum. The painting became a symbol of Dutch National Renaissance. The painting shows a swan attacking a dog that is only barely visible on the lower left side of the painting. The threatened swan was made in 1650 and additional details were added later. Many people interpreted the swan as Johan de Witt, a Dutch politician who was assassinated in 1672, while protecting the nation.
These three paintings represent the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous paintings in the museum, which can attract the artist in you. Never forget to check out the paintings and art works in Rijksmuseum while you are on Amsterdam tours.