Refreshed Rijksmuseum

The trouble- plagued renovations to Amsterdam’s historic Rijksmuseum (1 Jan Luijken- straa; 31-20/674-7000; may have taken a decade to complete, but by all accounts, the results—opened on April 13—are stunning. By the time it closed in 2003, the massive red-bricked museum, built in 1876 by the Dutch architect P. J. H. Cuypers, was in sore need of a makeover and a reorganization of its somewhat haphazard displays. Seville-based architects Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz have stripped away a century’s worth of awkward structural additions to restore the purity of Cuypers’ original layout while creating a stone-and-glass-clad Asian Pavilion to house the Rijksmuseum’s beautiful collection of objects from China, Japan, and Southeast Asia. Given the extent of the changes, the US$488 million project is being billed less as a renovation than as a complete rebuilding of a national landmark and a new home for the museum’s 8,000 works spanning 800 years of Dutch culture. These include Rembrandt’s Night
Watch, now showcased in a gallery designed by Jean-Michel Wilmotte, the museum specialist responsible for the interiors of the Louvre in Paris. –Daven Wu

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