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Everything You Need to Know About the Rijksmuseum, A Must-Visit Destination for Art Lovers

Situated in Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum serves as the Netherlands' premier national museum, showcasing an extensive array of Dutch historical artifacts and celebrated masterpieces by Vermeer, Rembrandt, and other Golden Age luminaries. Go on a guid...

Also Known As

State Museum

Founded On


Founded By

Pierre Cuypers

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4 hours








1-2 hours (Peak), 30-60 mins (Off Peak)

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Did you know?

The museum's most famous painting is Rembrandt's "Night Watch," which is not actually a night scene as the name suggests. It was covered in a dark varnish for years, leading to the misconception.

The Rijksmuseum is the only museum in the world with a road running through it. Initially car-accessible until 1931, it now exclusively welcomes cyclists and pedestrians, preserving the museum's integrity and exhibits.

The Rijksmuseum's gardens feature special beehives as part of an initiative to promote biodiversity and sustainability, reflecting the museum's commitment to environmental stewardship.

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What is the Rijksmuseum?

The Rijksmuseum is the largest art museum in the Netherlands. It showcases objects spanning over 800 years of Dutch art and history. The museum is over 200 years old and currently displays over 8000 objects, with some of them dating back to the early 13th century. The museum also displays masterpieces by renowned artists such as Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Van Gogh, and Rembrandt. There is also an Asian pavilion at the museum, which features art from Indonesia, India, Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand, dating back to 2000 BC.

Why Should You Visit the Rijksmuseum?

  • Vast collection of Dutch art: The Rijksmuseum has several galleries dedicated to some of the most eminent artists in history, including Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Jan Steen, Johannes Vermeer, and De Hooch spread across 4 floors. 
  • Interesting artifacts: The Asian Pavilion is a must-see at the Rijksmuseum, featuring some incredible artworks such as the Two Temple Gardens statues, the bronze statue of Shiva Nataraja, the statue of Guanyin, and many more.
  • Historical significance: The museum features the Cuypers Library, the largest and oldest library in the Netherlands. Its artworks are an important representation of Dutch art and culture. 
  • Beautiful gardens: The Rijksmuseum gardens are studded with numerous sculptures and host annual sculpture exhibitions. You can walk in the gardens for free and enjoy the well-maintained hedges, rose gardens, and fountains.  
  • Educational opportunities: Rijksmuseum also hosts several workshops, programs, guided tours, and lectures to acquaint visitors with the glorious history of Dutch art including interactive exhibits, where children can engage with history. 

Rijksmuseum Paintings Collection

The Rijksmuseum houses an extensive collection of Dutch art from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Visitors can see works by famous Dutch masters such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh. The artworks are spread across multiple galleries at the Rijksmuseum.

The Milkmaid by Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum

The Milkmaid

Renowned throughout history, this oil-on-canvas by Johannes Vermeer features a domestic kitchen maid who is making dairy products. Featuring intensely saturated blue and yellow tones, the painting shows the artist’s beautiful handling of natural light.

The Night Watch by Rembrandt at the Rijksmuseum

The Night Watch

One of the most famous paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, The Night Watch by Rembrandt is highly regarded due to its massive size, the depiction of the perception of motion, and the dramatic use of shadows and light.

The Jewish Bride by Rembrandt at the Rijksmuseum

The Jewish Bride

In this painting, Rembrandt depicts a man bestowing a necklace upon a woman. The painting was named in the 19th century, when an art collector identified the subject as a father bestowing a necklace upon his daughter at her wedding.

Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild by Rembrandt at the Rijksmuseum

Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild

The last great collective portrait by Rembrandt features six men elected to assess the quality of cloth sold by weavers to the drapers’ guild. The men are seen appraising a Persian-style cloth while referring to a swatch book.

Shop Window by Issac Israels at the Rijksmuseum

Shop Window

This 1894 Impressionistic painting by Issac Israels reveals the fascination for modern life, captured by the couple looking into the brightly lit shop.

Isabella by Simon Maris at the Rijksmuseum

Young Woman with a Fan

Isabella, or Young Woman with a Fan, was painted using photographs as reference material. Simon Maris made several portraits of young Isabella, evident from pictures and documents in her archive.

The Water Drinkers by Piet Meiners at the Rijksmuseum

The Water Drinkers

This still life painting with bread, a water caraf, a pipe and a mirror was painted by Piet Meiners, a well-known Dutch watercolourist, etcher, painter and draftsman.

Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem by Rembrandt at the Rijksmuseum

Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem

One of Rembrandt's early masterpieces and most renowned works of his Leiden period, this painting depicts Prophet Jeremiah lamenting the ruin of Jerusalem whose destruction he had prophesied.

The Crucifixion by Oostsanen at the Rijksmuseum

The Crucifixion

Choosing to depict the mountain on which Christ was crucified from a high viewpoint, Oostsanen represents successive episodes of the Passion of Christ simultaneously in the painting, a convention often used in medieval painting.

Interior with Woman Sewing by Hendriks at the Rijksmuseum

Interior with Woman Sewing

True to the saying ‘The devil finds work for idle hands’, an important value in the Dutch ethic of piety and hard work, Hendriks portrays a woman sewing while reading a book.

Landscape with Cattle Driver and Shepherd by Strij at the Rijksmuseum

Landscape with Cattle Driver and Shepherd

Unlike his famous predecessor Cuyp, Jacob van Strij used more colourful accents and infused the sky with a lovely golden glow.

Brief History of the Rijksmuseum

1798: The government decided to establish a national museum as a ‘prestige project’ to inspire patriotic feeling and to store important objects.

1800: The National Art Gallery is inaugurated in The Hague with more than 200 paintings and historical objects from both the Stadtholders’ collections and national institutions.

1808: Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte moves the national collections to the Royal Palace on Dam Square in the new capital, along with other important paintings, including Rembrandt’s 'The Night Watch'.

1809: The Royal Museum officially opens on the palace’s top floor.

1813: King Willem I relocates the museum and the national print collection from The Hague to Trippenhuis, a 17th-century city palace, and christened it the ‘Rijks Museum’, or ‘national museum’.

1876: The construction of Netherlands' own national museum building. Pierre Cuypers is commissioned to be the architect.

1885: The Rijksmuseum is opened to the public housing almost all of Amsterdam’s collection of older paintings, in addition to the existing collections.

1904-1950s: A series of renovations, including the construction of the Philips Wing and the new Asian Art department.

2003-2013: The museum was restored to Cuypers’ original architectural plan where paintings, applied arts, and history are no longer displayed in separate parts of the building but rather tell a chronological story.

Who Built the Rijksmuseum?

The Rijksmuseum was designed by Pierre Cuypers, combining the Gothic and the Renaissance styles. Although the Rijksmuseum underwent several rounds of renovation between the 1900s to the 1950s, the museum was restored to Cuypers’ original architectural plan in the 2003-2013 renovation.

Architecture of the Rijksmuseum

Designed by Pierre Cuypers the Rijksmuseum is built in true Gothic and Renaissance style. The building consists of two squares with an atrium in the center of each. The central axis has a tunnel with entrances at the ground level and the Gallery of Honour on the first floor. The Philips Wing, a wing that was added in the 1904-1916 renovations, contains building fragments that show the history of architecture in the Netherlands.

The latter years saw several rounds of renovation, but the original architectural design of Cuypers was adopted in the 2003-2013 renovation.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

What is the Rijksmuseum?

The Rijksmuseum is one of the most popular art museums in the Netherlands, showcasing over 8000 objects dating from the Dutch Golden Era to the 20th century. 

Do I need tickets to enter the Rijksmuseum?

Yes, you need to purchase tickets to enter the Rijksmuseum. You can purchase Rijksmuseum tickets online to ensure a hassle-free experience. 

Can I buy Rijksmuseum tickets online?

Yes, you can purchase Rijksmuseum tickets online to enjoy skip-the-line access, the best discounts, and combo offers.

What are the opening hours of the Rijksmuseum?

The Rijksmuseum is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. The shop and gardens are open until 6 PM. It is open throughout the year. 

What is the best time to visit the Rijksmuseum?

The best time to visit the Rijksmuseum is early in the morning on a weekday. The temperatures are pleasant and there are comparatively lesser crowds. 

Where is the Rijksmuseum located?

The Rijksmuseum is located in the southern borough of Amsterdam. It is situated on Museumstraat 1 1071 XX Amsterdam.

Why is the Rijksmuseum famous?

The Rijksmuseum is famous for housing paintings by some of the most famous artists in history, such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Vermeer, De Hooch, and more.

How old is the Rijksmuseum?

The Rijksmuseum is nearly 225 years old, having been established in 1798 in The Hague. It was then moved to Amsterdam in 1808.

What can you see inside the Rijksmuseum?

You can find paintings and works of art from numerous eras inside the Rijksmuseum, including famous ones like the Night Watch, Woman Reading a Letter, and the Merry Family. They also organize guided tours, workshops, and lectures to educate the public about the Dutch Golden Era. They also have sections featuring artworks from different regions across the world. 

How many artworks are on display at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam?

There are over 8000 artworks on display at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. This includes sculptures, paintings, furniture, applied arts, and ship models and weapons. 

Are guided tours available at the Rijksmuseum?

Yes, you can book your guided tours of the Rijksmuseum online. These skip-the-line tickets come with expert guides in English, Spanish, German, Italian, and French.

Are there any amenities or facilites available at the Rijksmuseum?

The Rijksmuseum is wheelchair accessible and provides sign language and tactile guided tours. Service dogs are also allowed. The Rijksmuseum also has accessible restrooms, Wi-Fi access, and cloakroom facilities available. Inside, you can also dine at the cafe or restaurant, or shop at the gift shop.

Are there dining options within the Rijksmuseum?

Yes, the Rijksmuseum has a cafe and a restaurant. The cafe is open on all days from 9 AM to 6 PM. However, the Rijks restaurant is only open from Wednesday to Sunday during lunch hours and from Tuesday to Sunday during dinner hours.

Is photography allowed at the Rijksmuseum?

You can take photos at the Rijksmuseum only using hand-held equipment. Tripods, props, and additional lighting is strictly prohibited. However, photography professionals are free to take photos or videos for domestic or international audiences provided their applications have been approved by the museum.

What other attractions are near the Rijksmuseum?

You can also plan your visit to the Anne Frank House, the Stedelijk Museum, the Van Gogh Museum, or the MOCO Museum.