Netherlands' Rijksmuseum opens to the public
Fireworks are seen during the official opening of the renovated Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Saturday April 13, 2013. The Rijksmuseum, home of Rembrandt's "The Night Watch" and other national treasures reopens its doors to the public after a decade-long renovation. The first day, Saturday April 13, admissions are free and the museum stays open until midnight. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
AMSTERDAM (AP) — Amid brass bands and a daytime fireworks display, the Netherlands' Queen Beatrix on Saturday officially reopened the Rijksmuseum, the country's national museum, after a 10-year, 375 million euro ($480 million) renovation.
The museum houses the largest collection of treasures from the Netherlands' cultural history, including works painted by Dutch masters Jan Steen, Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt van Rijn in the country's 17th-century Golden Age. Then the Netherlands was a major naval power and Amsterdam was one of the world's most influential and wealthy cities.
Netherlands' Queen Beatrix admires the renovated Rijksmuseum as she arrives for the official opening in Amsterdam, Saturday April 13, 2013. The Rijksmuseum, home to Rembrandt's Night Watch and other national treasures reopens its doors to the public after a decade-long renovation. On the first day, Saturday April 13, admissions are free and the museum stays open till midnight. Queen Beatrix has announced she will relinquish the crown on April 30, 2013, after 33 years of reign, leaving the monarchy to her son Crown Prince Willem Alexander. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
The renovation by Spanish architectural firm Cruz y Ortiz sought to bring light into the courtyards at the center of the 1885 brick structure, which resembles a fairytale castle. Meanwhile the museum's displays were completely redone to modern standards, with cultural items displayed alongside artwork from the same period — and sometimes even directly related to the art or artist.
For instance, one room houses paintings portraying the June 1667 Raid on the Medway, a naval battle in which the Dutch defeated the English. The room centers on an intricate model of a ship from the period more than two meters (yards) long. It displays an actual sword and goblet once owned by the victorious Dutch Adm. Michiel de Ruyter.