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The Rijksmuseum – State Museum – is probably the most famous tourist destination in Amsterdam. It is very impressive! It’s large, with exhibits spread over four floors of a building designed by Pierre Cuypers, completed in 1885, and extended and modernised since. Most impressive is the Great Hall on the second floor, with Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” as one end. The entire second floor is devoted to the 17th Century – the Dutch Golden Age. Exhibitions on the other floors cover the 11th to 20th Centuries, together with a number of Special Collections, an Asian Gallery, and a Library.

We spent six hours here – and it could have been more. We’d been here before, way back in 1978, and we’ll certainly be back if we visit Amsterdam again.

Here’s a tiny sample from the day …


Museumplein, with Rijksmuseum and the “i amsterdam” sign in the distance.

Rijksmuseum atrium

A forest artwork in the atrium of the Rijksmuseum.

"The Night Watch"

“The Night Watch”, by Rembrandt, is the most famous painting in the Rijksmuseum, and hangs at the end of the Eregalerij, the impressive hall in the centre of the building. You have to get here early to get an un-interrupted view of it!

Vincent Van Gogh, self-portrait

Guess who?

"Made In USA"

“Made in USA”, a 1964 brass sculpture by US artist Shinkichi Tajiri; the work is described as “aggressive but also humorous”. Personally, I think it’s rather frightening.

Dolls house

During the late 17th and early 18th centuries, spectacular dolls houses were created in the Netherlands, especially in Amsterdam. They were not children’s toys, but display pieces, furnished for and by wealthy ladies who lavished enormous amounts of time, money and attention on them. This picture shows several rooms of one of them.

Rijksmuseum Library

The four-storey Rijksmuseum’s art-historical library contains one kilometre of books; an underground storage area has five more kilometres of material.

Ship model

The Netherlands has a long nautical history, and in addition to many paintings of ships, there are several models. There’s also a whole section of the Special Collections area devoted to them.

Penone tree scuplture

The gardens outside the Rijksmuseum contained an exhibition of works by Guiseppe Penone, featuring trees and rocks. This one is titled “The Leaves of Roots”.

Rijksmuseum fountain

Even some adults were venturing into the fountain “cage” – an area usually the reserve of the kids. Another of Penone’s bronze sculptures, “Thunderstruck Tree”, can be seen here.

Street performers in Museumplein

Street performers in Museumplein. this was their warm-up; they then collected money from the crowd – with great chat lines – before a terrific performance.