Datos principales

Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Países Bajos
+31 20 674 7000


The Rijksmuseum - the State Museum - of Amsterdam was founded in 1808 by Louis Bonaparte, in accordance with the cultural policy designed by Napoleon for the nations under his control such as Holland. His aim was to bring together the art collections of royalty and the nobility so that they could be used in art education. In 1813 Napoleon fell from power and Wilhelm I became the governor of the Low Countries. He took up Napoleon's initiative of setting up museums. Art collecting by the bourgeoisie, the nobility and royalty had been fashionable since the Baroque due to the commercial nature of Dutch society. In the rooms of the early Rijksmuseum in Holland the best selection of Dutch painting could be admired, as well as extremely beautiful and priceless sculptures and decorative arts. Back 1800 the businessman Alexander Gogel had already come up with the idea of a National Museum in The Hague which was to display part of the art collection of the Stadholder - the reigning prince. The collection was overseen by the government and opening hours and entry prices were established - 30 centimes for visitors and 60 centimes for copyists. The service of a guide was also offered. Louis Bonaparte made the museum free and designed the administrative structure of the institution, dividing the management into two areas, one exclusively administrative and the other artistic. The acquisitions policy was productive and a new building was needed to house the enormous quantity of works the museum owned. Initially the works were housed in various rooms in the Royal Palace. A patrician mansion of the Kloveniersburgwal known as the Trippenhuis was then chosen and it was renovated to fulfil its function as a museum. An exhaustive study of the collection was carried out and the lesser quality objects and paintings were sent to other buildings. Despite this measure, space was still limited and it was decided that a competition would be held for the construction of a building to house the important institution. The competition took place in 1862 and 21 projects were presented with P. J. H. Cuypers' being the chosen one. However, work did not start on the building until 1875 with a supplementary budget of 100,000 florins and three hectares of land donated by the Town Hall. On July 13th 1885 the building that still houses the Rijksmuseum today was officially opened. It has a rectangular ground plan which is 135 metres long on its longest side. The structure is built around two symmetrical patios and the centre is taken up by the entrances. The museum owns such important works as Rembrandt's Night Watch, which was damaged by a unbalanced individual in 1975 causing serious cuts to the pictorial surface. There are numerous other works by Dutch artists such as Vermeer, Hals and Ruysdael, along with an excellent collection of Italian Quattrocento, Renaissance and Baroque painting.

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