Rijksmuseum cycle path to reopen

The cycle path under Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum will open again, once the renovations to the museum are concluded in 2013.

The museum administration wanted to stop the path being used in order to make easier access for the public when restoration is completed. But after years of indecision Amsterdam’s city council has finally rejected the idea.

The Rijksmuseum, which has been partially closed for renovations for almost a decade, was designed by Pierre Cuypers and built at the end of the 19th century. It houses the national collection of arts and crafts, masterpieces from the Dutch Golden Age, and a substantial holding of Asian art.

It was closed for renovation in 2003 but building works did not begin until 2007 because of problems with the removal of asbestos and planning difficulties.

The total cost of renovations, designed by Spanish architects Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz, is now estimated to be around €375 million, most of it coming from the state.

It is hoped that after the reopening the museum will attract up to 2 million visitors a year, compared with the 1.1 million before its closure.

The Philips Wing, with some of the masterpieces of the Dutch Golden Age, is the only part of the Rijksmuseum that has been open throughout.