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Update: The Rijksmuseum at Amsterdam's airport is closed until 2018 when it will re-open in the new active zone on Holland Boulevard. A new Rijksmuseum shop will also open. Both will be located near the KLM Transfer Center 6 (T6). Bookmark this page for opening dates.

What do you do during long waits for international flights? Snooze? Snack? Shop for duty-free items? Passengers in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport have a more stimulating alternative. Best of all, it's free.

Rembrandt display sign beside free Rijksmuseum in departure lounge
Rembrandt display sign beside free Rijksmuseum in departure lounge
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

His Royal Highness, Prince Willem-Alexander, officially opened the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol, a branch of the largest museum in the Netherlands, in December 2002. Its location, in the departure lounge beyond passport control (on Holland Boulevard, the corridor connecting piers E and F) allows departing, arriving and in-transit passengers to view original paintings by Dutch masters.

Although international airports in San Francisco and Mexico City also feature art museums, and several airports host rotating art exhibitions, the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol is the first in the world to focus on 17th-century masters of the Dutch Golden Age. Jan Steen. Pieter de Hooch. Jacob van Ruisdael. And Rembrandt.

Dutch masters art

The portraits, landscapes, still lifes and paintings of life in 17th-century Netherlands are selected from the Rijksmuseum collections. Descriptive signs are in English and Dutch.

The museum also showcases temporary displays of applied arts, such as ceramics and silverwork, from other museums and heritage institutes in the Netherlands.

The 160 square metre-gallery floats like a golden box from the ceiling. Bentham Crouwel Naco, a Dutch architecture firm, designed the museum after a review of vibrations, climate conditions and security requirements. The Rijksmuseum shared its 2.5 million-euro cost with Schiphol Airport, which incorporates the museum into its AirportCity model, a dynamic hub where people from around the world can meet.

Rijksmuseum shop sells reproductions of 17th-century art.
Rijksmuseum shop sells reproductions of 17th-century art.
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Because the art museum holds 100 people at a time, queues at the entrance are unlikely. (The average visit lasts 15 to 20 minutes.)

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol is open daily. Passengers are allowed to carry their hand baggage into the museum.

Below the museum, the Rijksmuseum Shop sells replicas of 17th-century glassware and silver, reproductions of paintings, silk shawls and jewellery inspired by 17th-century adornments in paintings by Vermeer and Rembrandt, and books on the Rijksmuseum's art collections. Proceeds from the shop help finance the museum's operation.

Internet terminals, near the shop, provide information on the Rijksmuseum's collections and a calendar of exhibitions.


Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol: www.rijksmuseum.nl

More things to see and do in Holland:

Dutch Foods, Drinks and Cuisine

Keukenhof Flower Gardens

North Holland Tour

South Holland Trip

Utrecht Holland Vacation