Member Rating 5 out of 5 by MagdaDH_AlexH on December 5, 2010

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is the best known and the largest of the Dutch Rijksmuseums (this name actually just means National Museum). It has a vast collection of art, particularly from the Golden Age of the Dutch painting as well as numerous craft objects and historical artefacts. It also has a large collection of Asian art.

The Rijksmuseum is, in fact, Holland's equivalent of the Louvre, and is as much a national gallery of paintings as a depository of historical finds. What the Rijksmuseum is best known for, is, however, it's outstanding collection of the paintings from the Netherlands' Golden Age, and particularly masterpieces by Jacob van Ruysdael, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen and Rembrandt – including his iconic Night Watch.

At the time of writing, as it was at the time of our visit (2010), the Rijksmuseum is undergoing an extensive refurbishment which is expected to take until at least 2013 (this was extended from the initial estimate of 2012), and possibly longer and thus majority of its collection is not available to view. However, it still displays a very good selection of the most known, loved and interesting works in an exhibition called "The Masterpieces". This exhibition alone makes the Rijksmuseum worth visiting by anybody with even the least interest in art. In fact, the choice character of the displays means that the condensation of genius and a number of truly remarkable paintings displayed is staggering: almost every single work is of interest and beauty here.

The highlights of The Masterpieces exhibition include some truly remarkable work. The eponymous and iconic Night Watch is of course included, in a special room of its own, and always draws large number of viewers. It is an impressive painting indeed, and important for understanding Rembrandt's body of work, but the Rijksmuseum's exhibition has also several other, and, arguably, better Rembrandts, particularly the most wonderful Isaac and Rebecca (known as The Jewish Bride) and Rembrandt's self-portraits.
There are also a few wonderfully luminous Vermeers, intimate scenes of Gerard ter Broch, many landscapes representative of the Dutch school and one of the most fascinating still lives ever painted, Still Life with a Bridle by Johannes Torrentius.

The whole exhibition really gives an excellent insight into this amazing development that took place in the Netherlands in the 17th century, where the small merchant republic became a world economic and financial powerhouse as well as stimulated amazing explosion of flourishing art that still delights and fascinates the viewers.
In addition to the paintings there are also displays of the famous Dutch
pottery as well as fascinating Dolls' Houses (not toys, by any means).

Rijksmuseum, The Masterpieces exhibition is open every day from 9:00 to 18:00 (last tickets sold at 17.30). Tickets cost 12,50 Euro for adults, but children and teenagers under eighteen are free. There are queues, so it might be a good idea to pre-book your ticket online through the Museum's website.
Stadhouderskade 42
Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1071 ZD
+31 20 674 70 00

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