Amsterdam museum reopening delayed

If a visit to Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum was on your list of spots to visit, move it down a few notches.

The reopening of the Netherlands' most famous museum has been postponed by a year for revisions to its renovation plans. For example, Dutch Culture Minister Reny van der Laan told parliament, security measures were being reviewed because of recent art thefts at several other European museums.

The museum was closed indefinitely in 2003 after an asbestos scare. Renovations estimated at $190 million are to begin early next year and include a cycling route under the building. The museum's collection has been on limited display since 2003 in the building's Philips Wing. Van der Laan said the main museum is tenatively to re-open by the end of 2009.

A collection of more than 400 works from the 17th century will continue to be on view under the title "The Masterpieces." The famous collection of dolls' houses, Delftware, as well as paintings by such masters as Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Vermeer and Rembrandt have been moved for the first time since being acquired by the Rijksmuseum. Rembrandt's "Night Watch," for example, has rarely left the main building designed by Pierre Cuypers since it opened in 1885.

The museum is taking the opportunity to show another side, literally, of the art world to visitors with its "Really Rembrandt?" program. As explained by the governors, "For the first time, the Rijksmuseum will be presenting paintings that were originally attributed to Rembrandt and were bought as such by the Rijksmuseum, but about which doubts have arisen over the years. In the Philips Wing of the Rijksmuseum.

"During the presentation, visitors will be shown what elements of a painting lead us to believe that it is, or is not a Rembrandt, using methods such as infrared- and X-ray images. The presentation will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the Rijksmuseum Rembrandt study, whereby new insights will also be revealed. In all, 13 works will be displayed at the presentation. "Really Rembrandt?" will give visitors the opportunity to learn about of the opinions of various experts, but most of all to have a look for themselves and to form their own opinions."


Amsterdam Museums & Galleries
Lonely Planet Guide to the Netherlands
Europe for Visitors: Netherlands
Netherlands Board of Tourism

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