Explore the Rijksmuseum from Home

Take a day trip to old Amsterdam, where a museum with van Dycks in is hardly surprisin'

By Google Arts & Culture

Welcome to the Rijksmuseum, the national museum of the Netherlands. It has changed homes a few times over its 220-year history, but it's found today in Amsterdam, near the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk. Click and drag to take a look around, then scroll down to enter...

The building dates to 1876, when a competition was held to design a purpose-build art gallery. The winning design, by Pierre Cuyper, combined Gothic and Renaissance elements, with murals and statues calling back to the long history of visual arts in the low countries.

The museum's collection comprises around one million objects representing various arts and crafts from the years 1200 to 2000. Only a small fraction of the collection, around 8,000 objects, are on display - but that's still more than enough for one day.

Some of the best-known pieces in the collection are the more than 2,000 paintings from the 17th century, the so-called Dutch Golden Age. Notable painters of this era include Jacob van Ruisdael, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, and Jan Steen.

The museum also holds a small number of works from Asia, many of which arrived in the Netherlands due to the extensive trading networks and numerous colonies of the Dutch Empire, which stretched from the east coast of the Americas to Malaysia.

Dutch history isn't all plain sailing. The nation only truly achieved its independence from Spain after a war lasting 80 years, between 1568–1648. Over the following centuries, the small, rich nation was challenged time and time again...

...so maybe it's no wonder then that the Dutch were responsible for many military developments and advances in arms and armour. The Rijksmuseum armoury collects some of the swords, guns, and suits of armour that helped the Dutch defend their small patch of land.

Of course, no trip here would be complete without viewing Rembrant's Night Watch. This monumental group portrait is perhaps the most famous painting in the whole of the Netherlands, and it hangs pride of the place in the Rijksmuseum.

We'll leave you here to admire the work yourself. Thanks for joining today's tour, and while you're here, why not take a look at Amsterdam's other cultural highlights, from the Royal Palace, the Dutch National Opera and Ballet, and the Anne Frank House.

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