I’m sitting in the newly remodeled Rijksmuseum lobby for the third time this year. The museum, reopened this spring after a massive multiyear remodel, is wonderful. The collection is beautifully displayed with paintings on the walls and other objects and artifacts in perfectly illuminated glass cases. However, what I’m most impressed by are the changes to the building itself.
They have enclosed the sizable inner courtyards with glass ceilings, giving them an atrium feel. It puts me in mind of the interior courtyards of Paris’s Louvre (ala I.M. Pei). The new Rijks gives one the same feeling - tons of natural light, big open functional spaces for the entrance of the museum (important as crowds have been tremendous this year) and a lovely modern café complete with free wifi. I’m here in the café now enjoying the always good Dutch coffee while admiring a Henri Moore statue. It reminds me of a section of his “Vertabre” in downtown Seattle, only this one is bright white - quite striking.
Outside in the gardens there are more Moores (no pun) this time classic bronze. The gardens also sport fancy new fountains, into which tourists can place themselves if their timing it right. Its been quite warm here this summer, so I guess no one minds if they mistime their jump and get sprayed. All in all I’d say the makeover is a big success. Functional, attractive, and efficient - a reflection of the Dutch character and a fitting venue for the art of the Dutch Golden Age.