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8 Interesting Facts About the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

The largest art museum and art library in the Netherlands, the Rijksmuseum is one of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam with over 2.7 million visitors per year. The museum houses over 1 million artworks that span over 800 years of Dutch art and history, including prominent works by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Vermeer.

Interesting Facts About the Rijksmuseum

1. A public road passes through it

The Rijksmuseum is the only museum in the world with a road through it. While the road was open to motorized vehicles until 1931, cars were later banned, and the road is now open to only cyclists and pedestrians.

2. It is built on wooden platforms

Since Amsterdam is below sea level and the soil is swampy, most of the major buildings are built on wooden platforms. The Rijksmuseum is supported by over 8000 wooden piles underneath the building even today.

3. One million artworks on display

The Rijksmuseum is home to over 1,000,000 artworks and historical artifacts. However, only 8000 of these are on display, spread over 80 galleries.

4. The largest in the Netherlands

The Rijksmuseum is the largest museum in the Netherlands. The Cuypers Library is also the largest and most extensive art library in the country.

5. All the wall-paintings were white-washed

The museum director of the Rijksmuseum in the 1960s found the wall paintings too distracting and had them white-washed. Luckily, they were preserved underneath and the paintings were restored in 2013.

6. 'The Night Watch' was trimmed to fit

The original Night Watch painting by Rembrandt was much larger than what is on display today. Before the Rijksmuseum, the Night Watch was on display at the Royal Palace on Dam Square. However, it was too big to fit the wall, and the sides were significantly cut to fit.

7. Armor with a missing leg

The armor with the missing leg in the Rijksmuseum is not a damaged artifact. The armor represents Admiral Jacob van Heemskerk who lost his leg in Gibraltar in 1607, and ultimately, his life.

8. The original museum was in The Hague

The National Art Gallery was originally built in The Hague in 1800. It was later relocated under Emperor Napoleon and King Willem I and christened the 'Rijks Museum' before being constructed in its current location.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Rijksmuseum

What is the Rijksmuseum known for?

The Rijksmuseum is the largest museum in the Netherlands and contains over 800 years of Dutch art and history.

When was the Rijksmusuem built?

The National Art Gallery was built in 1800, but the current Rijksmuseum building was only built in 1885 by Pierre Cuypers.

What is the architectural style of the Rijksmuseum?

The Rijksmuseum is a neogothic marvel that infuses both Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles and elements.

What are the main highlights to see in the Rijksmuseum?

Some of the most famous artworks in the Rijksmuseum include Rembrandt's The Night Watch, Van Gogh's Self Portrait, Vermeer's The Milkmaid and The Girl with the Pearl Earring, among others.

Does the Rijksmuseum have guided tours?

Yes, the Rijksmuseum has guided tours in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German.

What attractions are near the Rijksmuseum?

The Anne Frank House, the Stedelijk Museum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the MOCO Museum are all nearby attractions.

How long does it take to visit the Rijksmuseum?

A guided tour of the Rijksmuseum only lasts 2 hours where you visit the most important artworks in the museum. However, it takes about 4-5 hours to visit the Rijksmuseum.