A personal guided tour to the Rijksmuseum
We were invited recently to a special “art treat” — a personal guided tour of the Rijksmuseum! This sounded so appealing that we went there on a Sunday afternoon, even though the summer-like weather that day was very inviting for outdoor activities (those living in the Netherlands should understand how difficult it was to make such a decision!).
As you may know, the freshly renovated Rijksmuseum (meaning State Museum) is one of Amsterdam’s largest and home to the nation’s most famous masterpieces, featuring the paintings of Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Dijk but also many other pieces of art and culturally significant heritage of the Dutch nation. It is a museum that shouldn’t be missed when visiting Amsterdam, one that the Dutch visit when they want to reconnect with the country’s history through the art that was created by their predecessors.
One could easily spend a day or more checking out every nook and cranny of the Rijksmuseum, but our host, Caspar — from Amsterdam Museum Guide — took us on a special tour that not only showed us the masterpieces, but also told a story. The tour takes a special route through the museum, lasting a bit over two hours. It all starts in the main hallway — the one that looks like a church, with all the beautiful stained glass windows — with the founding of the Rijksmuseum. You will learn to appreciate the finer details of paintings you most likely would have missed before, find little hidden gems in old, majestic pieces of furniture and get up-close and personal with Rembrandt’s work and life while discussing the secrets of The Night Watch. By the end, you will have gone through the main events of the Dutch Golden Age and found out a lot not only about Dutch history, but about Dutch culture, day-to-day life, famous painters’ lives and a few lesser known facts. Can you guess why the British queen might have been sightly embarrassed in one particular room of the museum? And will you be able to finish the final quiz (yes, there is a quiz, but it’s quite fun) in record time? Well, you’ll have to take the tour to find out!
If you are interested, here are the practical details: the tours can be given in English, Dutch or French and last around two hours (after which you can continue to visit the rest of the museum on your own). The groups can be up to 10 people large and the cost is €15 per person; a private tour is €20 — all plus the entrance ticket price (those owning a Museumkaart only pay for the tour, of course). The best part is that these events are offered not just for the Rijksmuseum, but also for the Van Gogh and Stedelijk as well (the last one already on our wish list for the next months). Some opinions about the tours can be found on TripAdvisor and more detailed information on their website.
A quick snapshot of our visit, to give you an idea about how it went: