Rijksmuseum reopens

The remodernised Rijksmuseum will reopen to the public on 13 April after its official inauguration by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, one of her last public appointments before she retires at the end of April.

The museum, which houses the national art treasures of the Dutch Golden Age, with its many Rembrandt and Vermeer masterpieces, has been partially closed for the best part of a decade.

The building has now been remodernised and the collections completely reorganised. The only piece to remain in the same place is Rembrandt’s Night Watch.

The whole project, which has cost €375 million and should have been completed in 2006, has been delayed for years, partly because of difficulties with the late 19th-century building and partly because of protests about the popular and much-used cycle path between the east and west wings of the building. Originally it was planned that this route should be closed to make room for the new entrance to the museum but the project had to be changed because of protests from Amsterdam cyclists.

The two wings of the museum are now connected by a new below-sea-level gallery where there is also a café, shop and auditorium.

The stately and ornate Rijksmuseum faces Amsterdam’s Museumplein, which is also the site of the Stedelijk and the Van Gogh museums. The new Stedelijk, with its collection of contemporary art, reopened in September 2012 just as the Van Gogh Museum closed for remodernisation.