November 26, 2013

Not Dutch enough

Photo by Koen de Wit

In my previous post "Let me tell you about the birds and the bees" I shared some photos I made during my visit to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Next to all the animals I spotted, I was really enjoying the restored architecture.
The monumental ornaments in the Gallery of Honour, the Front Hall, the Night Watch Gallery and the stairwells are returned to their original glory. Why they ever left beats me, but I'm happy they returned!

"The architect, Pierre Cuypers, had drawn up a historic design for the Rijksmuseum, which combined the Gothic and the Renaissance styles. The design was not generally well-received; people considered it too mediaeval and not Dutch enough. The official opening took place in 1885.
The current renovation reinstates the original Cuypers structure...Paintings, applied art and history are no longer displayed in separate parts of the building, but form a single chronological circuit that tells the story of Dutch art and history.
The building is thoroughly modernized, while at the same time restoring more of Cuypers original interior designs."
First thing that caught my eye in this text is that people considered it not Dutch enough. It is very Dutch to find something not Dutch enough or un-Dutch.
As you might imagine I was looking up a lot to admire the patterned filled ceilings. I even totally forgot to make pictures in the library. I remember imprinting the patterns in my mind, yet I didn't make one photo there, strange... Good thing you can see it on the Rijksmuseum site, "Cuypers Library".

What I also really liked about the new Rijksmuseum was the giftshop. Not just postcards and books with artworks, but magnets, buttons, umbrellas, dresses, jewelry, all sorts of stationary stuff, toys, you name it they had it. I treated myself to Pierre Cuypers wrapping paper. I don't know if I can put myself to actually wrapping something with it...I love that they used all his patterns to make this patterned filled paper. On the photo the wrapping paper is in the good company of fabric from the market full of Butterflies, a wooden batik stamp from Taman Indonesia and two roles of washi tape from De Vlieger. All holiday souvenirs. Can't wait till our next holiday!

On the NAI site I found this color scheme for the Rijksmuseum. Their website is really well to see more sketches and things like that go to and

* More information on the Rijksmuseum website,

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