It is the year 1642. The Amsterdam Militia ordered a series of seven paintings for the banquet hall in the Kloveniersdoelen, which was a place of exercise of several compagnies. One of the paintings shows The company of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburgh getting ready to march out. Nowadays widely known as The Night Watch (De Nachtwacht). The painter? Rembrandt van Rhijn.
At the time the painting already was considered brilliant due the innovative technique and bold composition. Rembrandt didn’t use the normal setup where people pose serious and straight, but instead it’s a scene where there is action.
The Night’s Watch is the most famous painting of Rembrandt van Rhijn. Since 1808 it is part of the collection of The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam where it is shown at the heart of the main exposition as The Masterpiece of The Rijksmuseum. And therefore as masterpiece of The Netherlands.
The Rijksmuseum houses a fine art collection with many works of Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, Van Gogh, Jan Steen, Frans Hals, Ferdinand Bol, Gerard Dou, Van Ruysdael and many others. The collection exist of more than 8000 works on display.
Apart from classical paintings The Rijksmuseum houses enormous beautiful collections of Delftware (the blue-and-white pottery), cupboards with paintings of Biblical scenes, detailed dollhouses, Asian art and modern day art.
The surrounding gardens are free to visit and there’s a nice restaurant and café at the museum.
When to go:
It can be quite busy in the museum. If you want to see everything you might need a day, but if you just want to visit the highlights and come back later shorter time will do. Come before 10.30 am or after 2.30pm. Start at the Gallery of Hounour with the most famous paintings from the Golden Age (17th century).
Prebooking tickets online provides fast-track entry. I Amsterdam and Museumkaart cardholders get in free with no need to queue at the ticket office
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