Museumstraat 1
P. J. H. Cuypers
Cruz y Ortiz arquitectos, Van Hoogevest Architecten
Rijksmuseum, Rijksgebouwendienst
Tram 3, 5, 12, 24, stop Museumplein
1885 / 2013

Cuypers’ design restored to its original glory

In the nineteenth century, many people took the view that the Dutch neo-Renaissance style was the most suitable style for monumental, cultural buildings. Employing this historicizing style for new buildings would serve national self-consciousness by calling to mind the country’s Golden Age in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

The Rijksmuseum is the building par excellence in which this idea is expressed. Two competitions preceded the museum’s construction. In 1875, the Catholic architect P.J.H. Cuypers was chosen as winner. His neo-Renaissance design is based on neo-Gothic structures. The ground plan, which was originally symmetrical, shows the influence of Van Campen’s town hall on the Dam. Urbanistically, the building originally functioned as a gigantic gateway on the city’s periphery, a passageway to the envisaged urban expansion with ‘luxurious quarters’ on the south side of the city. Since its completion, the museum has been redeveloped and extended on many occasions. Additions include a director’s residence (1885), a library (1885), a drawing school (1892), the Night Watch Room (1906) and the Drucker Building (1915) for nineteenth-century art. At the end of 2003, work started on the large-scale renovation and restructuring of the museum, to a design by the Spanish architects Cruz & Ortiz. The rejuvenated building reopened in April 2013.

On the outside, the refurbished museum still looks familiar. The façade has been renovated, the garden renewed and an Asian pavilion and a modest-looking entrance building have been added. The interior, however, has undergone a huge transformation. The main objective was to reinstate the museum’s original spatial structure. The inner courtyards, for example, which over a period of some 100 years had been completely filled in, have been cleared. As a result, the museum’s atria now have the height and light penetration they originally had. The courtyards, where the museum’s main entrance is now located, are interconnected via an underground square. The famous Passage, which runs through the museum, is situated above this underground space. A spectacular feature is the glass that has replaced the brick in the side walls of the Passage. As a result, visitors have a view of the activity in this covered street and passers-by, most of whom are on bicycles, can glimpse inside the museum. In addition, Cuypers’ original design for the staircases and rooms has been reinstated, the drawing school has an educational function once again and there is a new underground auditorium. Following this extensive refurbishment, the museum is now geared to the twenty-first century and its streams of visitors. (ARCAM/JV/CL)


(NL) Tugelawegblokken

Aftermovie Architecture Ball

Enjoy the aftermovie of the Architecture Ball that took place on Friday the 13th of May at W Hotel Amsterdam.

(NL) NOORDERPARKBAD unanieme winnaar A.A.P. 2016

Sorry, this entry is only available in Dutch.


(NL) Publieksjury A’damse Architectuur Prijs 2015

(NL) Dit jaar heeft Gouden A.A.P. 2015 ook een publieksjury.

(NL) OPROEP: Amsterdamse projecten 2014

(NL) Mail aan Arcam info over Amsterdamse bouwprojecten uit 2014!

IKC Zeeburgereiland


Rijksmuseum wint A.A.P. 2014

(NL) Gouden medailles voor Cruz y Ortiz arquitectos, Rijksgebouwendienst en Rijksmuseum.

Villa K01


GAK De Studio

Ben Merkelbach (1963)

Kindercampus De Jordaan

Micha de Haas

Decoratelier Nationale Opera & Ballet

Brede School Het Meervoud

Marlies Rohmer

NIeuw Waterlandplein

Atelier PRO, Architecten.Cie, Hans van Heeswijk


Arjen Hoogeveen

Metro station Kraaiennest