A Brief History of the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum from Museumplein
The Rijksmuseum from Museumplein | © marco.almbauergmail.com / WikiCommons
Tom Coggins

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is the most visited museum in the Netherlands. It houses over 1,000,000 pieces of artwork, documents and other important items associated with Dutch history. Although the museum as an institute has existed since 1800, it was originally founded in the Hague and relocated to the Dutch capital a few years after its inauguration.
In order preserve their national heritage, The Dutch government formed another, older museum in 1795 that was modelled around the Louvre. Whilst based in the Hague, this institute was known as the Nationale-Kunst Gallerij and exhibited approximately 200 pieces of artwork that were mainly owned by wealthy, influential Dutch citizens. Over the next 60 years, the museum’s collection moved between locations in the Hague and Amsterdam due to political developments and other curatorial issues.

Eventually, the Dutch government decided to construct a purpose built museum in Amsterdam to permanently house the collection and held two design competitions. Although the first event was a failure, famed Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers won the second round and was commissioned to design the building. His Gothic, classically inspired design was completed in 1885, after around a decade of construction work.

The Rijksmuseum’s central atrium

By this time, Rembrandt’s masterpiece, The Night Watch had been added to the collection, creating additional difficulties due to its immense size. In 1906, a special hall was built to accommodate The Night Watch, which allowed patrons to experience the painting in all its glory. Since then, many other wings and rooms have been added to the Rijksmuseum, including its Asian Pavilion which was unveiled in 2013.

The Rijksmuseum is currently able to present and display around 8000 objects at a given time and regularly changes its exhibitions throughout the year. However, many world-renowned artworks are permanently on display inside the museum including The Night Watch, Johannes Vermeer’s The Milkmaid and several important paintings by Vincent van Gogh.

📅 Monday to Sunday | 09.00 – 17.00

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article