Shedding light on Dutch history and art, the Rijks Museum is one of the most visited museums in the world. A large and significant part of the collection is devoted to Dutch art, especially painting.
Along with these works, works of European and Asian arts, sculptures, objects and sketches are also exhibited. In this museum, which you will add to your cultural visits program, you can see especially the paintings of Rembrandt and Jan Vermeer. We start our article with the history of the museum, if you wish, you can go directly to the Rijks Museum Ticket and Rijksmuseum Entrance Fees section below.
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History of the Rijks Museum
The dominance of the Dutch naval fleet in world trade brought about an increase in welfare. This environment of prosperity encouraged the arts. Opened in 1800 as the National Gallery of Art, the Rijksmuseum was later moved to the Royal Palace in Amsterdam by King Louis Bonaparte (Napoleon’s brother). In 1885, Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers designed a new building combining Gothic and Renaissance styles. It was reopened in 2013 as a result of restoration work. The name of the museum means Royal Museum / State Museum .
Rijks Museum Sections
Consisting of a large main building and small annexes, the Rijksmuseum has three floors . Artifacts considered important for the Netherlands are exhibited on the first floor. In the museum, there are more than one million works of art and artifacts of historical value covering the period between 1400 and 1900. However, only 8,000 of these 1 million works are on display; 2,000 of these 8,000 works are paintings made during the Dutch golden age. In other words, the focus of the museum is the works and collections of Dutch artists.
Works reflecting 18th and 19th century art are on display. In the Asian Arts Section, which you can enter from the Philips wing, the works of the Netherlands obtained through trade in the middle ages are exhibited. Among the works; There are Indian sculptures, Korean wooden crafts, Vietnamese plates, Chinese scrolls and bronze figures.
The Honor Gallery , where the density is highest, is located on the ground floor. Works by 17th century artists are on display. The corridor is divided into loggias with iron-worked beams. Works and portraits of famous painters are exhibited up to the ceilings.
Artifacts reflecting the history of the Netherlands are exhibited on this floor. You can also see various war paintings, 17th century ship models, objects salvaged from shipwrecks. The works of Rembrandt and Jan Vermeer stand out as works of the 17th century . As the works of the 18th century, paintings by artists such as Jan van Huysum, Adriaan van der Werff, Adriaan de Lelie and Cornelis Troost stand out.
On the first floor, there is also the “European Painting Department” where the works of European artists are exhibited . In the section that covers a small area, European painters, especially Piero di Cosimo, are featured.
All works are exhibited in galleries. While visiting the galleries on this floor, you can also see the section containing the drawings and sketches of artists such as Rembrandt, Hercules Seghers, Dürer, Tiepolo, Toulouse-Leutrec.
20th century artifacts are exhibited on this floor. You can see paintings, furniture, photographs, posters, films and historical objects that have left their mark on this century. Among the works are the famous designer Yves Saint Laurent’s “Mondrian Dress” inspired by De Stijl’s abstract paintings , Armchair for Til Brugman (Gerrit Thomas Rietveld-1919 ), Made in USA (Shinkichi Tajiri-1964 ), Man and Machine (Marinus) You can visit works such as Johannes Hack-1913 ).
You can find Dutch artifacts on each floor, including religiously themed medieval sculptures, Renaissance period objects, furniture, glasswork, ceramics, jewelery and porcelain.
The Dutch gave great value to their artists and opened private galleries within the Rijks Museum. Among them, you can visit works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Der Helst, Breitner and Verspronc. We have compiled 8 works and stories for you.
The Night Watch – “The Night Watch” by Rembrandt (1642)
Would you be surprised to know that the name of Rembrandt’s most famous painting is actually wrong ? The title of the work is known as The Night Watch, but Rembrandt gave it the title ” Captain Frans Bannng Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch’s Corps Prepare to March” . In fact, the work does not depict a night scene; it is actually depicted during the daytime. This name, which was not given by the artist, was first used at the end of the 18th century. By then, the painting had darkened considerably due to the accumulation of many layers of dirt and varnish, as well as improper restoration work, thus giving the impression that the event took place at night.
Rembrandt made this work of art on the order of Captain Banninck Cocq, the mayor of Amsterdam at the time, for a fee . In this work, Rembrandt portrayed the guards posing for him, not in an unusual portrait composition, but in a state of action.
With its dimensions of three and a half meters high and four and a half meters wide, and a weight of 330 kg, the work is very large. Its edges were cut off so that it could be taken out of the door during mobilization, so it is presumed that at least two figures were sacrificed. He was also attacked with a knife in 1975, and in 1990 he was sprayed with acid by a mentally unstable person.
The work underwent a comprehensive restoration in July 2019, and the restoration was completed as a result of 2 years of work.
The Milkmaid – The Milkmaid, by Johannes Vermeer (1660)
Vermeer’s famous work is a portrait of a maid pouring milk. It is one of the most popular paintings in the museum. The artist used saturated blue and yellow tones effectively in his work. In this work, you can question the photographic reality of the artist and watch the reflections of natural light.
Celebration of the Treaty of Münster
Van der Helst described the signing of the Münster agreement in this work. This painting is one of the important works of Rijks Museum. When you examine the painting carefully, you can see that a symbolic meal is depicted, emphasizing the reconciliation policy of Amsterdam.
The Singel Bridge by George Hendrik Breitner (1896)
In this work, the artist depicted the natural life of the people on the Singel Bridge on a winter day. In the first work of the work, she received negative comments because she depicted the woman in the picture as a maid. For this reason, she re- described the same woman as a modern and stylish woman in her work . It is known that Breitner often took photographs to prepare his paintings, and he made several such works for this work. The way the woman walks straight towards us and the image is cropped stands out clearly photographically. Many famous painters have taken this work as an example in order to make technological paintings.
The Cuypers Library
It is the largest and oldest art history library in the Netherlands. It is located on the second floor of the museum. Visitors, students and art historians can use the library to learn about the Rijks Museum collection. iPads are available in the library and free Wi-Fi is available throughout the museum.
The Threatened Swan, Jan Aselijn
The work depicts a swan defending its nest against a dog. After this work was made, it began to be interpreted politically. It is a painting considered a symbol of Dutch national resistance. It represents the Dutch Statesman Johan de Witt, who fought against the enemies of the state. It draws attention as the first work purchased by the National Art Gallery, which served before the Rijksmuseum opened.
Marten and Oopjen, Rembrandt
Considered the world’s most sought-after and least-exhibited Rembrandts, these two paintings depict an English nobleman and a woman. In 2016, the Netherlands and France jointly bought these paintings for 160 million Euros. Therefore, they are exhibited alternately in the Rijks Museum and the Louvre Museums. Restoration studies on these artifacts revealed an interesting fact. Namely; In both portraits, Rembrandt initially painted a round door or gate in the background. He then covered it with curtains, presumably to reinforce the coherence between the portraits. Research has revealed that both paintings were painted at the same time.
‘Winter Landscape’ by Hendrick Avercamp
Hendrick Avercamp was a born deaf and mute painter, which resulted in an increased ability for visual representation in his art. The work shows people having fun on an icy lake and many details. The ducks swimming in the broken pond, the details of the abandoned house, even someone making a small toilet, playing ice hockey. Hundreds of details. Examination of this work is the subject of a separate article in itself. On this subject, I leave with you the tweet series of the esteemed Umberto Eto.
Do not prefer your private car and public transportation vehicles as the building is in the Museum Square and due to heavy traffic. There are trams that depart every 15 minutes to the museum. You can take tram 2 or 5 from Amsterdam Central Station and get off at Hobbemastrat station. From here, you can take the tram number 6,7 or 10, get off at the Spiegelgracht station and go to the museum.
Rijks Museum Ticket & Entrance Fees
If you don’t buy a ticket & make a reservation in advance for the Rijks Museum, which is one of the most important museums in the world and the most visited museum in the Netherlands after the Van Gogh Museum, you can spend a significant part of your time waiting in the ticket queue. The most preferred ticket types are as follows, along with the entrance fees:
1-) Rijks Museum Skip-the-Line Ticket (Click): This type of online ticket is sold by the authorized dealer Rijksmuseum on Getyourguide. As of the date of our article, there are 7246 positive comments about the ticket. The Entry Ticket is valid for 1 day. Mobile tickets or printed tickets are accepted. After purchasing the ticket, you read and pass the barcode, which will be your barcode in the e-mail (also transmitted as SMS) to your phone. Therefore, when making a reservation, you need to enter your phone and e-mail information correctly.
If you cannot find a place on Getyourguide at the time and date you want, you can check the Tiqets-Rijksmuseum address as a second option. Since Rijks Museum tickets are physically shared between ticket / tour companies at the box office and on the internet, in some cases, the date not found in one can be found in the other ticket company. Both are the same in price.
Also, as we mentioned in Visit Tips, don’t forget to download the Rijksmuseum app before entering the museum.
2) Enter with the I Amsterdam City Card (Click): With this card, which is valid for 24 hours – 96 hours, you can enter 44 museums in Amsterdam free of charge. You also have rights such as free use of public transportation, free canal cruise, discounts at restaurants. This card is in the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. It is worth noting that this card is highly preferred among Turkish tourists. You can review it according to your situation. You can print the card, or you can use it as a mobile. As of the date of our article, there are more than 2,200 positive comments about it and the fee is 65 Euros per person .
Ideal Time to Visit & Tips
The museum is open all year round from 9 am to 5 pm ( including the first day of the year, holidays and even Christmas!) . It’s best to arrive early in the morning (for example, arrive 10 minutes before the Museum opens) or late in the afternoon (after 3:00 p.m.) in order to avoid heavy crowds and to explore the museum more comfortably . Considering the size of the museum, we recommend that you buy tickets online early in the morning and spend 1 full day here . The busiest days of the museum are Fridays , weekends and holidays.
- When you arrive early, go straight to the second floor and go directly to see the Night Watch / The Night Watch . Then check out other Golden Age paintings in the Eregalerij (Gallery of Honor). This is the most important and busiest part of the museum. After that, start your museum visit over, even if it requires a full turnaround.
- We recommend leaving your backpack at your hotel. Because it is forbidden to enter with a backpack, and there is a queue for at least 30 minutes at the cloakroom, except when the museum is less crowded.
- The Van Gogh Museum is a 2-minute walk from here, the bookshops located between the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijks Museum sell plenty of documents, guides and other materials about these museums. You can get it before your visit.
- The museum has its own application in the Play Store (I think it’s also available for iPhone), you can access it by clicking here . Simply type “Rijksmuseum” into the Store apps .
- The museum is really big, we recommend you to wear comfortable shoes. The total walking distance in the gallery is 1.5 km. There is a large cafeteria in the entrance hall of the museum. Here you can drink coffee and relax.
- Do not leave without taking a photo with the inscription “I Amsterdam” in front of the museum .
Thank you for reading our article. In this article, we share all the information about the Rijks Museum with you; We gave you information about Rijksmuseum entrance fees, Rijksmuseum ticket purchases. We look forward to your valuable comments and photos after your visit. With love.