Rijksmuseum Facts

Dive into a treasure trove of Rijksmuseum facts, shedding light on the history of this Dutch art institution. 

These Rijksmuseum facts take you on a captivating journey through Amsterdam’s cultural heritage, from iconic masterpieces to fascinating historical tales. 

Prepare to be inspired and amazed by the Rijksmuseum’s collection.

Here are some mind-blowing Rijksmuseum facts that will leave you in awe of Dutch art and history.

Vast Collection with Limited Display

Vast Collection with Limited Display
Image: Rijksmuseum.nl

The Rijksmuseum, inaugurated in 1885, began gathering its collection nearly a century before. 

While it can house about a million artifacts, only 8,000 are on display. 

If you want to see everything, it could take a week, as the total walking distance through the galleries is about 1.5 km.

Rijksmuseum Unique Road

Rijksmuseum Unique Road
ImageFrans Ruiter on Unsplash

The Rijksmuseum is notable for having its own road. 

Originally, this route was a historical entryway to Amsterdam, and cars were permitted until 1931. 

However, cars were banned due to potential damage to displays and the building, and now it’s exclusively open to cyclists. 

Visitors can still see famous gates and an early traffic sign with a golden finger pointing right and the inscription ‘INRIJDEN,’ indicating the use of the right side of the road.

A Decade-Long Closure

Floods were a big concern in the past, and the Rijksmuseum faced it during its renovation in 2003. 

Water flowed into the museum when workers constructed a tunnel, producing a total flood. 

This unexpected disaster delayed the restoration by nine years and cost more than the budget.

Armor with a Missing Leg

Admiral Jacob van Heemskerck, who tragically lost one of his legs and his life in the Battle of Gibraltar in 1607, wore this armor. 

He was the first Dutchman to be given an official state funeral. 

As a result, his armor became one of the Rijksmuseum’s unique exhibits.

The Netherlands’ Largest Art Library

The Netherlands' Largest Art Library
Image: redcharlie on Unsplash

One of the highlights of the museum is this amazing library, which is located on the second floor and is open to everyone. 

It’s a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the people represented in group photos and other fascinating areas of study.

The Rijksmuseum is supported by almost 8,000 wooden piles.

Because the majority of Amsterdam is below sea level, solid ground is around 15 meters below the surface. 

The Rijksmuseum was erected on 8,000 wooden piles to deal with the swampy soil, which still supports the structure today.

Whitewashed Wall Artwork

Whitewashed Wall Artwork
Image: Facebook.com(Rijksmuseum)

In a surprising turn of events during the 1960s, all the wall paintings at the Rijksmuseum were whitewashed. 

These impressive paintings depicted artists, monarchs, and important Dutch events, highlighting the museum’s architecture. 

The director at the time argued that these works of art distracted visitors and failed to capture Dutch modesty, leading to their whitewashing. 

Fortunately, the paintings were restored to their former glory during the museum’s restoration in 2013.

A 17th-Century Stroopwafel

The Feast of Saint Nicholas
Image: Rijksmuseum.nl

In a 17th-century painting titled “The Feast of Saint Nicholas” by Jan Steen, a basket features a stroopwafel, a well-known Dutch delicacy. 

This serves as evidence of the enduring traditions of the Netherlands, which have remained remarkably unchanged.

Landscape in Winter by Hendrick Avercamp

Landscape in Winter
Image: Rijksmuseum.nl

Some Rijksmuseum paintings are filled with activity and humorous details. 

An example is Hendrick Avercamp’s “Winter Landscape,” which shows daily life in the 17th century. 

It features images such as a person using a public lavatory with a visible hole and others laughing at a man who falls through the ice. 

On the other side, there’s a scene with a dog and crows feasting on an animal carcass.

The Altered “Night Watch” by Rembrandt

Night Watch
Image: Rijksmuseum.nl

“The Night Watch” by Rembrandt is a renowned masterpiece and a highlight of the Rijksmuseum. 

Interestingly, when it was shipped to Amsterdam’s City Hall, it had to be trimmed to fit the wall, leading to the loss of two men from the left side. 

This masterpiece also has an incorrect title and features Rembrandt and his wife.


Why is it called the Rijksmuseum?

The word “Rijks,” which means “national” in Dutch, gave the Rijksmuseum its name.  

The name “Rijksmuseum” refers to the museum’s status as the main place of storage for and display of Dutch art and history.

What is the most famous thing at the Rijksmuseum?

There are many famous Rijksmuseum paintings but the most famous and iconic work is Rembrandt’s masterpiece, “The Night Watch.”

How long does it take to visit Rijksmuseum?

You should allow 4 to 5 hours for your visit to the Rijksmuseum to tour all the galleries and the vast collection completely.

What paintings are in the Rijksmuseum?

The Rijksmuseum houses a broad collection of paintings that span various periods and genres. 

It includes paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals, and other well-known Dutch artists.

Which prominent artists at Rijksmuseum are featured?

The prominent artists whose works are on display at the Rijksmuseum are:

Rembrandt van Rijn Johannes 
-Vermeer Jan Steen 
– Jan Willem Pieneman
Some female artists at the Rijksmuseum include
– Judith Leyster
– Gesina ter Borch 
– Rachel Ruysch

What is special about the Rijksmuseum?

The Rijksmuseum is unique because it has a vast collection of art and historical artifacts, iconic Dutch artists, and impressive architecture.

It offers a unique exploration of the Rijksmuseum building history and the Netherlands’ history and art.

Has the Rijksmuseum always been a museum?

No, the Rijksmuseum has not always been a museum. 

The history of the Rijksmuseum dates back to the Victorian Era.

In 1800, it was founded as an art gallery, and in 1885, it changed its name to become a museum.

What is some notable artwork at Rijksmuseum?

Here are some notable artworks at the Rijksmuseum:
– The Night Watch by Rembrandt 
– The Milkmaid by Vermeer
– The Merry Family by Jan Steen 
– The Battle of Waterloo by Jan Willem Pieneman

How much are tickets to the Rijksmuseum?

The price for the Rijksmuseum entrance ticket is € 24 (US$ 25) for adults. 
Please remember that special exhibitions and guided tours may have different ticket pricing.

Do you need to buy tickets in advance Rijksmuseum?

It is strongly advised to purchase Rijksmuseum tickets in advance. 

This allows you to ensure access and avoid ticket booth queues. 

Furthermore, tickets may sell out during busy times, so purchasing beforehand ensures availability and a better experience.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!