More than ever, the popularity of the Rijksmuseum has increased exponentially reaching 10 million visitors and hosting 1.1 million objects and with a website seen annually by 1.5 million people. But what’s behind the scene of Holland’s most cherished national treasure and this international success worldwide? Take my hand, let me take you through a time machine to discover things you would not suspect about our national holy grail.
  1. ‘It’s not about the Destination, it’s about the journey’ would say Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Rijksmuseum got that right. The Rijks is constructed on a road as a sign a building a bridge between the old historical centre of Amsterdam and the new trendy areas. Up to 1931, vehicles could even drive on it. Beep beep! Not to worry, it’s only bicycles now but feel free to spot the gold finger carved into a stone to point traffic.
  1. It is sitting on 8000 wooden piles as its foundations are below the ground level, so basically under water.
  1. Was ranked leading representative of style for Dutch architecture in the XIXth century thanks to Pierre Cuypers’s work, who also made Amsterdam Centraal train station.
  1. The heaviest artwork, Frenzy by Artus Quellinus, weights almost 2000kg!


Artus Quellinus. Frenzy. 1660. Sandstone. 295cm (h) × 75cm (w) × 75cm (d) x 1887kg.
  1. The Night Watch got a liposuction! It is missing two men on the left side as the painting as the wall was too small for the painting when it got transferred Amsterdam’s City Hall. And let’s cut!
  1. In 1960s, the artworks that were part of the building were painted in white as they were considered not so humble and sending the wrong message, distracting visitors. Not to worry, the layer of paint was later removed in 2013 to show how badass we are again!
  1. Can’t afford a romantic weekend get-away in Paris? Come and see the marvelous interior design created by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, designer for the Louvre.
  1. Can’t be bothered to show up at the gym after work? The walking space of the Rijksmuseum is 1.5km in total. Put on your shoes and do some race walking!
  1. It has the largest library in the Netherlands, open to all and it’s freaking gorgeous.
  1. Ever dreamed of spending the night in a museum? Stefan Kasper could tell you all about it. To celebrate their 10 millionth visitor (in 2013), the Rijksmuseum let that lucky fella sleep in the famous Night Watch gallery with room service.


Did you check with your friends who knew the most facts? Come on, don’t be shy.
So who’s paying the beer tonight?
Yours always,
Written by Mathilde Marlaud from The Public House of Art.