€375 Million Overhaul Pays Off as Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum Crowned Best European Museum of 2015

The Rijksmuseum in AmsterdamPhoto via: Youtube
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
Photo via: Youtube

The ambitious overhaul of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum spanned a decade, during which it was closed to the public. But it seems that all the delays were worth the wait: two years after its much awaited reopening, the museum has been proclaimed the 2015 European Museum of the Year.

The award, given by the European Museum Forum, was announced in Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday.

“The stunning restoration of original wall-collections, a new Asian Art pavilion, and a new medieval gallery: all celebrate the range and depth of the Museum’s collections vividly,” the European Museum Forums said of the Rijksmuseum in a statement on its website. “This is a great museum, at the height of its powers, providing a rich experience to the public, and a socially aware outreach program for visitors of all ages.”

The Rijksmuseum opened in April 2013, after a huge refurbishment designed by the Spanish architectural practice Cruz y Ortiz that cost €375 million and was plagued by delays, including a fraught tendering process, problems with asbestos, and protests by cycling campaigners.

Since then, the museum has received a huge number of visitors—the “Late Rembrandt” exhibition, which closed on Sunday, was attended by over half a million museum-goers—including some very high-profile guests (see Obama Visit Closes Amsterdam’s Museums).

Its permanent collections have also been bolstered with a few peculiar acquisitions, including a death mask of a master forger and 15 pieces of Nazi-looted porcelain (see Forger’s Death Mask Bought by Rijksmuseum and Rijksmuseum’s Collection Includes Nazi-Looted Porcelain).


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