Only a few days are left before until the long expected moment the Dutch will have access again to the Rijksmuseum. The prestigious Rijksmuseum will reopen its doors to the extensively renovated building after years of being (for a part) closed down. The refurbishment of the majestic Rijksmuseum took ten years and costed 400 million Euros. Now, after waiting such a long time, it’ll finally be able to show all its treasures in all their glory again.
A visit to the Rijksmuseum is an experience that all Dutch citizens share. If you are in need of a pickup line in the pub, you can ask every Dutch person about his or her first memory of a visit to the Rijksmuseum. A dive into memory lane or at least a nice sales pitch will follow.
So the reopening of the Rijksmuseum really is a ‘thing’ for the Dutchies. The new Rijksmuseum is the talk of the town and will be the collective memory of the future. Two of the most popular tv-shows already broadcasted a special episode, discussing the new interior and the changes the building went through. The new design of Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortis, bringing back the classical element of the original Pierre Cuypers design of 1885, is critically acclaimed as the Louvre of the North. The international press is also interested in the Rijksmuseum, even if it’s for the peculiar feature of a bicycle path that runs straight through the building.
Of course, a blog about the Rijksmuseum cannot exist mentioning Rembrandt’s Night Watch (“De Nachtwacht”). This famous 1642 painting by Rembrandt (for those few people who have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about and are to lazy to look it up on Wikipedia themselves) is the absolute masterpiece of the Rijksmuseum. It’s considered an essential feature of Dutch cultural heritage and is known by even the most severe Dutch philistines. Through the building renovation, the whole collection and thus also the Night Watch has been brought to life again as if the last brushstrokes of Rembrandt were put to canvas yesterday.
However important and interesting the Night Watch may be, I really want you to broaden your horizon and take a closer look at all the beautiful treasures (more than 284.000 pieces!) the Rijksmuseum has to offer. In the build-up towards the reopening, The Rijksmuseum offers its visitors a beautiful online concept, in which they can ‘play’ with the collection and create their own collections. I obviously immediately started to create a ‘Dutchness’-collection to highlight typical Dutch elements as seen through the eyes of the Dutch masters:
In viewing the Dutchness collection, it becomes evident that even as a Dutchie, and even taken into account my “not so evident” choices in the collection, my view on Dutchness still seems quite stereotypical: it contains images of windmills, endless flat fields, cows and empty church interiors. Go on, take some time to explore the Dutchness-collection!
While feeling and flowing through Dutchness in the collection please take a short stop at the 1969 picture of Vincent Samuel Mantzel. It shows one of the greatest Dutch contemporary writers Gerard Reve, while holding a glass of wine, standing in an obviously windy field, a cow standing in the background. Even though a total contrast with the reflections on Dutchness of great Dutch master like Van Gogh, Vermeer and Rembrandt, and maybe a not so evident choice from the elaborate collection of the Rijksmuseum, I think it brings together many Dutch elements in a rather peculiar, interesting and funny way.
Or I might decide to elaborate a bit more on the matter of the lacking image of the Night Watch in my Dutchness-collection, depending on that same mood 🙂