The Rijksmuseum is the most important art museum in the Netherlands with thousands of old paintings in its collection including those of renowned Dutch masters Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Vermeer. Book Rijksmuseum tickets here
The stunning neo-Gothic building located on Museumplein was built in 1885 by Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers, who also designed Amsterdam’s Central Station.
Following a decade-long renovation, the Rijksmuseum in its current form was re-opened in 2013. This not only restored the building’s exterior but also brought the interior much closer to the original design – with large galleries giving a cathedral-like venue to showcase the very best Dutch art history.
In pure numbers, the Rijksmuseum has 80 rooms displaying no less than 8,000 works of art and historical objects. The museum is split over 4 levels – level 0 (ground floor) houses special collections and period 1100-1600; level 1 features the 18th and 19th century; on level 2 you will find the important 17th century works; level 3 has objects from the 20th century.
The highlight of the museum is undoubtedly Rembrandt’s The Night Watch (Nachtwacht), the iconic large portrait of the civic guard. This is under public renovation in a project called Operation Night Watch.
It is located on level 2 at the end of the Gallery of Honour (Eregalerij) – a long gallery with side alcoves filled with paintings of Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals and Jan Steen.
The Gallery of Honour can be entered from the imposing Great Hall (Voorhal) which has large stained glass windows and intricate vaulted ceilings.
Of Amsterdam interest is the Golden Bend of the Herengracht (De Gouden Bocht in de Herengracht) painted in 1671-72 by Gerrit Berckheyde which shows the merchant houses on the Herengracht canal.
Apart from the Dutch masters, the museum also includes Italian renaissance paintings, Dutch Delftware china, ship models, weapons, furniture, silverware and a van Gogh self-portrait.
The Rijksmuseum pieces are superbly presented in minimalist style with blue-grey walls and special chandelier lighting from above. Explanations are presented in Dutch and English.
Rijksmuseum: Vermeer Exhibition (10 Feb – 4 Jun 2023)
In 2023 the Rijksmuseum presents a major exhibition of Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) bringing together most of his paintings from around the world. The Delft artist is renowned for his tranquil indoor scenes and his use of bright colour and light. Unlike more prolific artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer only created some 35 paintings in his career.
The exhibition includes masterpieces The Milkmaid (Rijksmuseum collection), The Girl with a Pearl Earring (Mauritshuis, The Hague only until 30 Mar 2023), Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid (The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin), The Geographer (Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main) plus the newly restored Girl Reading a Letter at the Open Window (Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden).
The Vermeer exhibition is open daily between 10 Feb and 4 Jun 2023, 0900-1800 (Sun-Wed) and 0900-2200 (Thu-Sat). You must book a starting timeslot for the exhibition. Note, the main Rijksmuseum collection is open daily 0900-1700 – so if you wish to combine both you should book a start time before 1500.
It is essential to book in advance to ensure you get an available timeslot. Update: Tickets have sold out by 12 Feb 2023!
A variety of private guided tours are available – for example, the ‘Best of the Rijksmuseum’ tour which lasts 1 hour costs €90 per group plus admission up to a maximum of 15 people. This should be booked at least 14 days in advance.
Visitors can also download the Rijksmuseum app which can guide you through the museum and has some multimedia themed tours available in Dutch, Dutch Sign Language, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Mandarin Chinese.
Alternatively pick up the ‘floor plan & highlights’ leaflet at the reception desk.
The museum has a large glass-roofed atrium created from former internal courtyards which houses the foyer area, museum café and shop. Free WiFi is available throughout. There is a passage way running under the museum for pedestrians and cyclists.
The Cuypers Library is the largest historical library in the Netherlands and visitors can see the 19th century reading room on level 1.
The Asian Pavilion is a glass building in the grounds surrounded by water and houses a collection of Asian art. The Philips Wing section of the museum has more gallery space and includes the RIJKS restaurant with a focus on slow food and where possible, locally sourced organic ingredients.
The Rijksmuseum gardens contains sculpture exhibitions, fountains and seating – it is open during the summer months and entry is free for the public.
The Rijksmuseum is a must-see in Amsterdam and one of the great museums of Europe.
Museumplein also hosts the Van Gogh Museum, MOCO Museum and Stedelijk.
How To Book Rijksmuseum Tickets
To visit the Rijksmuseum you must book a ticket and an entry timeslot online in advance. It is not possible to turn up and buy a ticket over-the-counter at the museum. Note, even those with either an Iamsterdam City Card, Go City card or a Museumkaart must pre-book their timeslot!
There are normally no issues with timeslot availability – you should have no problems even if booking on-the-day. However, special exhibitions (such as Vermeer in 2023) will require booking in advance.
Rijksmuseum Essential Info
|Opening Times||Daily 0900-1700, open all 365 days per year.|
|Admission Prices (2023)||Standard Rijksmuseum admission costs from €22.50 for adults, FREE entry to children 0-18, Iamsterdam City Card, Go City Card and Museumkaart holders. Book Rijksmuseum tickets here|
Special Vermeer exhibition runs 10 Feb to 4 Jun 2023. Prices for Vermeer + Rijksmuseum collection are from €30 for adults, €10 for Iamsterdam City Card, Go City Card and Museumkaart. FREE entry to children 0-18. Vermeer tickets sold out!
|Getting There||Rijksmuseum is a 10 minute walk from Leidseplein. From Amsterdam Central, trams 2 and 12 stop at the Rijksmuseum; or take metro line 52 to Vijzelgracht station which is about 5-7 mins walk away; from Amsterdam Zuid, take tram 5; from Amsterdam Sloterdijk take tram 19 to Spiegelgracht stop; from Schiphol airport, bus 397 also stops at the Rijksmuseum.|
Rijksmuseum, Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam
T: +31(0)20 662 1440, rijksmuseum.nl
Last updated 25 January 2023. This article was first published in 2010 and has been regularly updated.