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article imageAmsterdam's famous Rijksmuseum reopens after 10-year renovation

By R. C. Camphausen     Apr 11, 2013 in Entertainment
Amsterdam - The Rijksmuseum, among the world's top 10 museums, opens again to the public starting April 13. After a renovation that took 10 years and cost $500 million, art lovers will once again be able to see its famous collection in much improved surroundings.
First established in 1800, the Rijksmuseum has become famous for its many paintings by 17th-century Dutch masters, among which Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt van Rijn. Fact is that the museum had originally been designed around its most prestigious and valuable attraction: Rembrandt's 1642 masterpiece known as The Night Watch, a large painting that weighs 170 kg.
During the last weeks, a concerted media campaign in the Netherlands has allowed the Dutch TV audience several previews of what has been achieved with the renovation. Art critics and talk-show-hosts who have been allowed in with their camera's before Sunday's opening (14-04-2013) have all been enthused, as the museum is now a totally changed place, looking more than ever like a temple of the arts.
Gallery of Honor. Rijksmuseum  Amsterdam
Gallery of Honor. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Courtesy Rijksmuseum
One should remember that the term museum comes from Greek, where a mouseion was a 'temple to the muses', nine ancient Greek goddesses and divine patrons of the arts and sciences; ranging from dance to poetry and from history to astronomy. The foremost among all such temples was the one in Alexandria, Egypt, and the famous Library of Alexandria was an integral part of it until its final destruction, by Christian zealots, in the 4th century.
The new Rijksmuseum has turned out truly beautiful, as can be seen in the accompanying images from the museum's website. Gone are the days of sterile, whitewashed walls.; pillars and ceiling have once again been hand-painted and original mosaic floors have been uncovered. Using old sketches that showed how the museum originally looked, a team of craftsmen has now restored what previous 20th century designers had deemed old-fashioned and destroyed. Never before has a national museum undergone such a complete transformation, but not only of the building. The presentation of its collection has been completely overhauled as well.
The Great Hall. Rijksmuseum  Amsterdam
The Great Hall. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Courtesy Rijksmuseum
The museum will be open all through the 365 days of the year. In the years before its renovation, which started in 2003, the museum attracted between 1 and 1.3 million visitors annually; that's 3.500 people a day. About half of the visitors were usually foreigners, among them people who approached the information desk with a question like "Where is that night product of Rembro something?"
In an apparent effort to stimulate visits by young people, everyone below 18 years of age doesn't have to pay for a ticket, which for others is 15.00 Euro (USD 19.60) a day.
Follows a description of the new museum from the official press kit:
Spanish architecture firm Cruz y Ortiz Arquitectos has spectacularly transformed the 19th-century building into a museum for the 21st century, with a bright and spacious entrance, a new Asian Pavilion and beautifully restored galleries. Under the guidance of restoration architect Van Hoogevest, the lavish decoration scheme of Pierre Cuypers, the original architect of the museum, has been fully reconstructed in a number of the museum’s key spaces. Parisian architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte designed the new interior of the galleries, fusing 19th-century grandeur with modern design.
The presentation of the Rijksmuseum’s world-famous collection is also new. For the very first time, visitors can follow a chronological journey through the collection, and experience the sense of beauty and time this offers. In a sequence of 80 galleries, 8,000 objects tell the story of 800 years of Dutch art and history. Only Rembrandt’s masterpiece The Night Watch will be returning to its original position.
Here we see that painting in place:
The Night Watch in its original place. Rijksmuseum  Amsterdam
The Night Watch in its original place. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Courtesy Rijksmuseum
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