The last time it was worked on, Rembrandt's Night Watch lost a couple of centimeters on all four sides – just to fit a frame. This time, you can keep a close eye on it during its public restoration at the Rijksmuseum. Years of gathered dirt (which gave the painting its nocturnal appearance, rather than the intended daytime setting), being slashed in 1911, and an acid attack in 1990 have left the Night Watch with some scarring.
This massive public restoration sees a glass enclosure built around the enormous painting, as experts work on uncovering hidden truths beneath the layers of dirt and patchwork paint jobs. Be a witness to the most ambitious year-long restoration project of the 21st century during your Rijksmuseum visit.
The Renaissance: Is the pinnacle of European artistic expression.
Caravaggio: "Hold my drink!"
The Baroque movement spearheaded by master painter Caravaggio and sculptor Bernini tore up the Renaissance rulebook, swapping elegance for atmosphere, stillness for drama, and divine grace for visceral emotion. This revolution in painting, sculpture, and architecture reverberated throughout Europe, influencing artists across the continent, including the Rijksmuseum's very own golden boy, Rembrandt van Rijn.
Caravaggio-Bernini: Baroque in Rome celebrates the transformative artistic language the Baroque period gave rise to, with an extraordinary exhibition that brings together a collection of stunning Caravaggio paintings and Bernini sculptures from around the world, alongside masterpieces from some the movement's other notable figures. Other paintings in the exhibition include works by the doyenne of Baroque painting, Artemisia Gentileschi, as well as pieces by Ludovico and Annibale Carracci, and many more.
The Rijksmuseum has some of the world's most famous paintings (including Rembrandt's Night Watch), with an emphasis on the Dutch Golden Age. Its collection spans over 800 years of art history in a beautifully restored building. Located smack-dab in the heart of Amsterdam's Museumplein, the Rijks is an Amsterdam must-see.
The national museum of the Netherlands underwent a ten-year renovation between 2003 and 2013. It's come out looking great – airy, bright and inviting. Plus, it's filled with more paintings and objets d'art than you can possibly absorb in an afternoon's ramble. Still, it's fun to give it a try.
The highlight is Rembrandt's Night Watch, one of the museum's most famous (and largest!) paintings. Vermeer's The Milkmaid is another classic to be viewed here, and there are many other lesser-known, but equally intriguing works of art that provide a window into life in another time.
Another spectacular – though underrated – section of the museum is the collection of weapons and ship models, with its exotic, ornate and even combat-used weapons.
The Rijksmuseum also offers an excellent multimedia tour app that can be downloaded straight to your smartphone. Check it out on the App Store or Google Play!
RIJKS®, this busy museum's Michelin-starred restaurant, is one of the best in the city. It's open for lunch and dinner and, if the weather cooperates, the terrace is a lovely place to eat and relax.