We visited the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam two months ago. The museum had reopened to much fanfare in April following a decade-long restoration.

I don’t usually go to museums and have limited patience for browsing art exhibitions (photography exhibitions are in a different realm in which I could dwell for hours). This is not because I dislike museums or art but rather because I’ve always felt overwhelmed by the information and don’t know where to start or what to look out for.

However, earlier this year, I was introduced to some 17th century works by Dutch painters such as Pieter de Hooch, Johannes Vermeer and Hendrick Avercamp. I liked what I saw and suggested to AB that we visit the Rijksmusem to see some of these pieces and more. And so we did!

We spent about three hours in the 17th century section located on the second floor of the museum.Floor-plan---17th-centuryThe collection was impressive and massive. I really liked how the information about each work is described and presented, which made art quite accessible to someone like myself who doesn’t know much about it. Some of the highlighted or more famous paintings had a little stand next to them with printed descriptions (in English and Dutch), guiding visitors further in discovering the details or nuances of each work.Rijksmuseum05 - Winter landscape with skaters by Hendrick Avercampk64 Rijksmuseum06 - Fishing for Souls by Adriaen Pietersz van de Vennek64

Something that I thought was quite unusual in this collection: A giant dollhouse that once belonged to Petronella Oortman. In 17th century Europe, such reproductions of a real home with miniature furniture and art pieces were regarded as objets d’art and were made for wealthy women (not little girls).Rijksmuseum10 - dolls' house of Petronella Oortmank64Rijksmuseum09 - dolls' house of Petronella Oortmank64Oortman even commissioned artists in China to create the distinctive blue-white porcelain – which Delft artisans learned from the craftsmen in Jingdezhen – for the dollhouse! It’s incredible to see just how many details are captured within this piece of home decor. You can read more about the dollhouse here.

To end off this post: ING Bank, one of the sponsors of the museum’s reopening, commissioned JWT to create a flash mob that appeared in a shopping centre in Brabant. The advertising agency brought to life Rembrandt’s Night Watch – regarded to be the most renowned work in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, complete with livestock on the loose and militia guards on horses! Absolutely brilliant!

2 replies on “Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Rijksmuseum

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