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Profile - The Rijksmuseum

Foundation

The museum was founded in 1800 in The Hague to exhibit the collections of the Dutch stadtholders. It was inspired by French example. By then it was known as the National Art Gallery (Dutch: Nationale Kunst-Gallerij). In 1808 the museum moved to Amsterdam on the orders of king Louis Napoleon, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. The paintings owned by that city, such as The Night Watch by Rembrandt, became part of the collection.

Cuypers' building

In 1863 there was a design contest for a new building for the Rijksmuseum, but none of the submissions was considered to be of sufficient quality. Pierre Cuypers also participated in the contest and his submission reached the second place. In 1876 a new contest was held and this time Pierre Cuypers won. The design was a combination of gothic and renaissance elements. The construction began on October 1, 1876. On both the inside and the outside, the building was richly decorated with references to Dutch art history. Another contest was held for these decorations. The winners were B. van Hove and J.F. Vermeylen for the sculptures, G. Sturm for the tile tableaus and painting and W.F. Dixon for the stained glass. The museum was opened at its new location on July 13, 1885.[2]

The front of the museum is located at the Stadhouderskade, but on the other side it has a prominent position on the Museumplein, nowadays among the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw.

In 1890 a fragment building was added to the Rijksmuseum. This building was made out of fragments of demolished buildings that together give an overview of the Dutch history of architecture. In 1906 the hall for the The Night Watch was rebuild.[2] In the interior more changes were made, between the 1920s and 1950s most multi-coloured wall decorations were painted over. In the 1960s exposition rooms and several floors were built into the two courtyards. The building had some minor renovations and restorations in 1984, 1995–1996 and 2000.[3] From 2003 until 2010[4] the Rijksmuseum will be restored and renovated based on a design by Spanish architects Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz. Many of the old interior decorations will be restored and the floors in the courtyards will be removed. During the restoration and renovation process only a few paintings from the permanent collection are on display in an exhibition called The Masterpieces in the already renovated fragment building, nowadays called the Philips wing.



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