The Rijksmuseum is a symbol of Amsterdam, but we know that maybe you don’t have enough time to visit it all or maybe you’re with a friend who, when he hears the word art, immediately makes a yawning sound.
We were enchanted by the Rijksmuseum, but we also thought of you and many other travelers visiting Amsterdam; that’s why we decided to write this post in which we present you with a quick “itinerary”, listing which are the main points of interest of the museum to focus on.
But first, let’s give you some practical info:
- The cost of a ticket to the Rijksmuseum is €20 for adults, free for children under 18.
- If you have a city card instead the entrance is free.
- Always book the day and time of your visit on theofficial website;
- The museum is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
- Remember to download the Rijksmuseum app, you’ll have a handy audio guide .
- Inside the museum you will be invited to put down in the checkroom, coats, backpacks and bags
- In the museum You cannot pay by cash.
Now we can begin our quick tour!
Entrance Pierre Cuypers
This is where your visit begins, before entering the Gallery of Honor. Pierre Cuypers designed the entire building but this entrance is his masterpiece. All elements are connected and tell the story of the art and history of the Netherlands.
Stop and look at the huge windows that represent some of Holland’s greatest artists, ideals and history.
See also the sought-after mosaic floor: here the 4 elements and the seasons are depicted.
The feast of St. Nicholas by Jan Steen
St. Nicholas Day is one of the oldest and most beloved Dutch holidays and takes place on December 5.
Tradition has it that on that evening, the children gathered by the fireplace to sing the song of St. Nicholas who would bring candy and sweets to the good children, the whip to the bad ones.
Jan Steen reproduces a scene from that festive day, narrating it with expressive characters and details.
The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer
The protagonist is very focused on what she is doing, she seems to ignore the presence of someone who is watching her. Natural light gently illuminates the room and a meticulous still life is depicted on the table. Take a good look at the flowing milk: look at the precision, it looks real.
Veermer, to achieve this very realistic effect painted colored dots at the points where the light reflects.
But that’s not the only detail: if you look closely you’ll see nails hanging from the walls and dirt on the floor, a broken window pane.
The Swan, Jan Asselijn
This swan depicted is life-size and we see it from below. In this case the swan is angry and you really notice it a lot.
Light is key here: it comes from behind the clouds of an oncoming storm and reflects off the swan’s wings, making them seem almost transparent in places.
Portrait of a Girl in Blue, Johannes Cornelisz Verspronck
Another well-known work at the Rijksmuseum is this girl portrayed by Johannes Cornelisz Verspronck. His age is as indefinable as his gaze, a little mocking and a little intimidated. Certainly coming from a rich family, to tell about this girl are her beautiful clothes painted with skill, grace and meticulousness such that we recognize the various fabrics and lace.
The Night Watch, Rembrandt van Rijn
This world-famous painting, a symbol of the Rijksmuseum, shows a group of 17th-century Amsterdam marksmen and a company of arquebusiers.
They march during the day but being a very dark painting, it was named “Night Watch” in the nineteenth century.
The dark background and dark setting, however, served Rembrandt to give greater prominence to the characters, give a theatrical look to the scene, and highlight the characters’ gestures.
The arrangement of the characters is not random, in fact it is very messy to give the idea of imminent movement.
The Rijksmuseum Library
A wonderful photographic spot, the bookstore is a silent place and it is no coincidence that Cuypers has posted a reminder at the entrance: “you have 2 eyes and only one mouth” meaning you read a lot and speak little.
If you look closely at the columns, there are plaques with the names of very important publishers and printers.
The light coming in through the large windows was specially designed to allow reading in the room.
Beautiful spiral staircase ending with mosaic flower on the floor.
Unfortunately you’ll only be able to see it from the balcony but sharpen your eyesight!
This is not a toy, but a symbol of wealth for a family of well-known Dutch traders.
The exterior is made of tortoise shell. Inside, the floor is made of real marble, oak and walnut panels, precious fabrics, ceramics and furniture made on purpose and with great precision. The Chinese porcelain in the kitchen cabinet was also ordered from China through the East India Company. If you look closely at the linens, the hostess’s initials were also embroidered.
Pyramids of Flowers
In this room dedicated to ceramics you will find beautiful works. Think that Mary Stuart was very fond of flower pyramids, these stacked vases that were really fashionable among the Dutch nobility.
Actually, this is not real Chinese porcelain; these vases are actually ceramic and made in Holland.
The blue-on-white decoration is completely Chinese-inspired, but if you look at the details like the women’s busts and lions on the base, you’ll recognize Dutch production from De Metaale Pot, a pottery factory in the Netherlands.
Shiva is a famous Hindu deity. Here she is depicted dancing while balancing on a ring of fire. The tambourine in the right hand, beats the rhythm of creation but the flame in the left hand, can destroy everything. With his third hand, he points to his foot, as a reminder to honor, and with his fourth hand, he makes a gesture to reassure those observing the composition. If you look closely you will notice numerous details while, with an overall look, it will seem almost in motion.