The Rijksmuseum, one of the finest museums in Europe

With over a million works of art in 200 exhibition rooms and more than two and a half million visitors a year, the Rijksmuseum is the most important museum in the Netherlands. Built in 1885, it is home to the leading paintings of the Dutch Golden Age, as well as jewellery, sculptures, furniture, porcelain and much more.

Le Rijksmuseum à Amsterdam.

- © NAN728 / Shutterstock
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The history of the Rijksmuseum

The history of the Rijksmuseum begins in a national gallery in The Hague. In 1800, Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland, decided to move the works of art to the Royal Palace in Amsterdam. Later, King William I of Orange-Nassau moved them to the Trippenhuis, where the museum took on the name it still bears today: the Rijksmuseum. In 1876 a competition was held for a new building to house the collections, and the architect Pierre Cuypers won. Nine years later, the Rijksmuseum we know today opened its doors.

Des œuvres de Johannes Vermeer au Rijksmuseum.

- © Salvador Maniquiz / Shutterstock

What to see at the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is considered to be one of the most beautiful museums in Europe, and for good reason: its collection is impressive, and it's one of our favourite museums in Amsterdam! It contains works of art that trace the history of the Netherlands from the 12th century to the present day. The most impressive are the 17th-century paintings from the Dutch Golden Age.

La Ronde de nuit, le célèbre tableau de Rembrandt.

- © Alexander Tolstykh / Shutterstock

The centrepiece is displayed in the centre of the museum, in the Gallery of Honour. It is The Night Watch, a huge canvas by Rembrandt (1606-1669) which symbolises the power of the Netherlands at the time. The Milkmaid by Vermeer (1632-1675) is also one of the museum's most emblematic works. Other great masters, such as Frans Hals, Jan Steen and Gabriel Metsu, are also on display to the delight of art lovers.

Les jardins du Rijksmuseum.

- © Avillfoto / Shutterstock

In addition to paintings by the great names of the Dutch Golden Age, the Rijksmuseum also has dolls' houses, the oldest of which date back to 1676. You can also stroll through the Cuypers Library, the largest and oldest in the Netherlands. For book lovers, it's a childhood dream come true!

The Asian Pavilion boasts a large collection of Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Thai artefacts. Finally, the architecture, the atmosphere and the beautiful gardens, which are often the subject of a stroll after the crowds in the museum's galleries, are well worth a short visit.

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Practical information for the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum was completely renovated over a period of 10 years, from 2003 to 2013... and today it is magnificent, a must see during a trip to Amsterdam. You should spend at least half a day there to trace the history of Dutch art and take your time to admire the masterpieces of Rembrandt or Vermeer.

How do I get to the Rijksmuseum?

Located in Museumstraat, the Rijksmuseum is easily accessible by bike and public transport:

  • Van Baerlestraat stop: tram 2, 5 or 12
  • Museumplein stop: tram 3, 5 or 12 and bus 347 or 357

Hop-on hop-off buses and boats also stop nearby.

P.S.: Take advantage of your visit to discover the other museums on Museumplein, including the Van Gogh Museum, right next door!

La Museumplein à Amsterdam.

- © Kalin Eftimov / Shutterstock

Opening hours

The Rijksmuseum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. The museum gardens, Riks shop and café are open from 9am to 6pm.

Prices

  • Full price: £18
  • Under 18s: free
  • European Youth Card: £9
  • I amsterdam City Card: free

To find out all the prices and book your ticket online, visit the official Rijksmuseum website. Online booking is compulsory.

A few tips for your visit

  • To avoid the crowds, it is best to visit the museum at off-peak times, i.e. when it is open or at the end of the day.
  • You can download the free Rijksmuseum app on iOS or Android to enjoy a multimedia tour.

Free WiFi is available throughout the building.
- Changing rooms are free and pushchairs are allowed.
- The Rijksmuseum is accessible to PRMs.

by Faustine PEREZ
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