Expatica news

Rijksmuseum to relocate Nachtwacht

4 December 2003

AMSTERDAM — A sizeable and delicate operation looms for the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, where renovation works are forcing the temporary relocation of Rembrandt’s gigantic masterpiece, the Nachtwacht.

The 1642 painting by the master artist will be moved from the historic museum’s main building to the Philips wing, several hundred metres away, newspaper De Volkskrant reported on Thursday.

The painting — one of the world’s most famous artworks — is 4.54m by 3.79m and must be moved with the utmost of care. It must first be placed in a chest and enveloped in a box before being completely covered in a sheet.

Special equipment will be built into the chest to measure the humidity and the temperature. Under the watchful eye of police, a practice relocation operation has already been carried out.

The Nachtwacht, or Night Watch, will be moved to the Philips wing of the museum with other top exhibits from the 17th century. It will need to be transported outside and around the building, representing the first time it has ventured outside the walls of the museum since World War II.

Due to the fact the weather cannot be relied upon, the relocation team will only be able to decide a day and half beforehand when the operation will proceed. But in any case, the painting must be relocated within the next two weeks.

Renovation work to the Rijksmuseum will start early 2004 and is expected to cost EUR 272 million. The main part of the museum will be closed while work continues until mid-2008. Many museum exhibits will be temporarily relocated to the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam and various other locations.

The museum is the largest in the Netherlands and attracts between 2,000 and 3,000 visitors every day.

[© Novum Nieuws 2003]

Subject: Dutch news