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Museums in Amsterdam

The most important museums of Amsterdam are located on het Museumplein (Museum Square), located at the southern side of the Rijksmuseum. It was created in the last quarter of the 19th century on the grounds of the former World Exposition. The northern part of the square is bordered by the very large Rijksmuseum. In front of the Rijksmuseum on the square itself is a long, rectangular, pond. This is transformed into an ice rink in winter. The western part of the square is bordered by the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, House of Bols Cocktail & Genever Experience and Coster Diamonds. The southern border of the Museum Square is the Van Baerlestraat, which is a major thoroughfare in this part of Amsterdam. The Concertgebouw is situated across this street from the square. To the east of the square are situated a number of large houses, one of which contains the American consulate. A parking garage can be found underneath the square, as well as a supermarket. Het Museumplein is covered almost entirely with a lawn, except for the northern part of the square which is covered with gravel. The current appearance of the square was realized in 1999, when the square was remodeled. The square itself is the most prominent site in Amsterdam for festivals and outdoor concerts, especially in the summer. Plans were made in 2008 to remodel the square again, because many inhabitants of Amsterdam are not happy with its current appearance

Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam or simply Rijksmuseum (Dutch pronunciation: [r?i?ks my?ze?m]) (English: State Museum) is a Dutch national museum in Amsterdam, located on the Museumplein. The museum is dedicated to arts, crafts, andhistory. It has a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age and a substantial collection of Asian art. It also displays the stern of the HMS Royal Charles which was captured in the Raid on the Medway, and the Hartog plate.

The museum was founded in 1800 in The Hague to exhibit the collections of the Dutch stadtholders. It was inspired by French example. By then it was known as the National Art Gallery (Dutch: Nationale Kunst-Gallerij). In 1808 the museum moved to Amsterdam on the orders of king Louis Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. The paintings owned by that city, such as The Night Watch by Rembrandt, became part of the collection. The Rijksmuseum Research Library is part of the Rijksmuseum, and is the largest public art history research library in The Netherlands. The paintings collection includes works by artists Jacob van Ruysdael, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen and Rembrandt and Rembrandt’s pupils.

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Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh ( Vincent Willem van Gogh, March 30, 1853 – July 29, 1890 was a Dutch post-Impressionist painter whose work had a far-reaching influence on 20th century art as a result of its vivid colors and emotional impact. Suffering from anxiety and increasingly frequent bouts of mental illness throughout his life, he died largely unknown at the age of 37 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He did not begin painting until his late twenties, most of his best-known works dating from his last two years. In less than a decade, he produced more than 2,000 artworks, consisting of around 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches. His work included self portraits, landscapes, portraits and paintings of cypresses, wheat fields and sunflowers.) lived in Amsterdam for a short while and there is a museum dedicated to his work. The museum is housed in one of the few modern buildings in this area of Amsterdam. The building was designed by Gerrit Rietveld. This building is where the permanent collection is displayed. A new building was added to the museum in 1999. This building, known as the performance wing, was designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. Its purpose is to house temporary exhibitions of the museum. Some of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings, like the Aardappeleters (The Potato Eaters) and Zonnenbloemen, are present in the collection. The Van Gogh museum is the most visited museum in Amsterdam.

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Stedelijk Museum

Founded in 1874, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (lit. Municipal Museum Amsterdam) is a museum for classic modern and contemporary art in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It has been housed on the Paulus Potterstraat, next to Museum Square Museumplein and to the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Concertgebouw, in Amsterdam Zuid since 1895. The original red brick, Neo-Renaissance style building was designed by architect Adriaan Willem Weissman.

The collection contains some 90,000 objects from a variety of disciplines. Highlights of the collection include The Beanery by Edward Kienholz and works by Kazimir Malevich, Bauhaus and De Stijl. Since 1909, the Stedelijk has been devoted to collecting thought-provoking contemporary art, later augmenting its collection with photography and design objects. In the course of the last century, the Stedelijk Museum became renowned as one of the world’s most influential museums for twentieth-century art. The collection rivals that of the Centre Pompidou and MoMA. Since its inception, the Stedelijk Museum has consistently reflected new currents and developments in art and design in both its exhibition and acquisitions policy. Today, education is a prominent aspect of museum policy, which is evident from the Stedelijk’s emphasis on innovative and classic modern presentations. The Bertolt Brecht quotation “It is democratic to turn ‘the small circle of connoisseurs’ into a large circle of connoisseurs” embodies the Stedelijk’s vision.

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Joods Historisch Museum

The Joods Historisch Museum (Jewish Historical Museum) is a museum in Amsterdam dedicated to Jewish history, culture and religion, in the Netherlands and worldwide. It is the only museum in the Netherlands dedicated to Jewish history. A seven-year renovation of the museum was recently completed (2007).

The museum was recognized in 1989 when it received the Council of Europe Museum Prize, awarded for a combination of the presentation of the collection and the outward appearance of the buildings. The Joods Historisch Museum opened its doors on February 24, 1932 and was inititally housed at the Waag (Weighing House) on Nieuwmarkt square. Following the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in World War II, the museum was forced to close and much of the collection was lost. The museum reopened its doors in 1955. In 1987, it moved to a new location, occupying four former synagogues on Jonas Daniël Meijerplein square, adjacent to the Snoge (Portuguese Synagogue). The museum’s collection includes some 11,000 art objects, ceremonial objects and historical objects, only some five percent of which is on display at any one time. It has two permanent exhibitions as well as regularly changing temporary exhibitions. The exhibition on the ground floor focuses on Jewish traditions and customs. The presentation is inspired by the former interior of the synagogue. Ceremonial objects from the museum collection are shown in locations where they used to be placed in the synagogue. This gives visitors a sense of the surroundings in which they find themselves and enables them to taste the original synagogue atmosphere. The galleries of the Great Synagogue feature a new presentation on the history of the Jews of the Netherlands from 1600 to 1890. The central theme is what it meant to be a Jew in the Netherlands in this period. Stories about how Jews arrived in the Netherlands, the extent to which they managed to integrate, the cultural interchange with non-Jewish countrymen and the preservation of their identity resonate today in contemporary situations and debates.

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Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House on Prinsengracht canal in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is a museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank, who hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the building. As well as the preservation of the hiding place — known in Dutch as the Achterhuis — and an exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, the museum acts as an exhibition space to highlight all forms of persecution anddiscrimination.

It opened on 3 May 1960 with the aid of public subscription, three years after a foundation was established to protect the property from developers who wanted to demolish the block. Visitors who wanted to see the secret rooms started coming to the house shortly after the book was published and many were informally shown around by the employees who had hidden the families. But by 1955 the company had moved to new premises and the entire block to which the building belonged was sold to a single estate agent who served a demolition order with the intention of building a factory on the space. A campaign to save the building and have it listed as a protected property was started by the Dutch paper Het Vrije Volk on 23 November 1955. Campaigners staged a protest outside the building on the day of demolition and the property received a stay of execution. The Anne Frank Foundation was set up by Otto Frank and Johannes Kleiman on 3 May 1957 with the primary aim of collecting enough funds to purchase and restore the building. In October of that year the company who owned it donated the building to the Foundation as a goodwill gesture. The collected funds were then used to purchase the house next door, Number 265, shortly before the remaining buildings on the block were pulled down as planned and the building was opened to the public in 1960. From the outset the former hiding place of Anne Frank attracted a huge amount of interest, especially as translations and dramatisations of the Diary had made her a figure known throughout the world. Over 9,000 visitors came in its first year. In a decade there were twice as many. Over the years the building has had to be renovated to protect it from such large visitor numbers, and as a result it closed temporarily in 1970 and in 1999. On 28 September 1999 Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands reopened the museum, which now incorporated the entire building between exhibition spaces, a bookshop, and a cafe, and featured the offices in the front house reconstructed to their state in the 1940s. In 2007, over one million people visited the museum. On display at the museum is the Academy Award that Shelley Winters won, and later donated to the museum, for her performance as Petronella van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank.

In 1998 the Anne Frank Zentrum in Berlin was opened, after a completion of a cooperation agreement with the Anne Frank House.

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