Home to such iconic works as Rembrandt's The Night Watch and Vermeer's The Milkmaid and treasured masterpieces by the likes of Steen, Brouwers and Hals, the newly reopened Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum houses an exhaustive collection of Dutch art including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, paper works as well as historical furniture and interiors, fashion, weapons and ship models.
After 10 years of building work, renovations and restoration, the revamped Rijksmusem is set to reopen in April 2013. The Netherland's most important art museum, the Rijksmuseum was designed in a Neo-Gothic and Neo-Renaissance style by architect Pierre Cuypers and opened in 1885. Within its ornate castle-like, sculpture-laden exterior, the exquisite gold leaf ceilings and polished terrazzo stone floors of the renovated Rijksmuseum will provide the backdrop to an overview of Dutch art and history spanning from the Middle Ages to now with the motto 'a feel for beauty, a sense of time'.
The entire Rijkmuseum collection consists of around one million historical items and objets d'art displayed in 80 galleries. This thoroughly modern incarnation means the paintings, images, historical items and examples of applied arts will be displayed together in context, rather than separated into different mediums, to provide an comprehensive showcase of Dutch art and culture. Located on the Museumplein in Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum is easily accessible by public transport, car and bicycle. From Central Station, it's a 19-minute trip on foot and via trams 2 or 5 to Hobbemastraat tram stop, then a short stroll to the Rijksmusuem.
While there is much to explore within the 80 rooms, which include a library and the Teekenschool (Drawing School), popular drawcards include the aforementioned The Night Watch by Rembrandt and Vermeer's The Milkmaid. Both examples of the Golden Age, Rembrandt's largest and most famous painting features a military group getting into formation and uses light to focus on certain aspects, whereas The Milkmaid is a study of a simple setting rendered full of light and beauty under Johannes Vermeer's hand. Entrance is €10 for adults and free for under-18s. Due to the influx of visitors from April to June, it's suggested to visit the Rijksmueseum after 4pm to avoid the crowds.