On the second floor, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam features a Hall of Honours. This most magnificent floor – where of course the biggest treasures of all are prominently exposed, like the Rembrandts – is a long hall adorned with frescoes, that depict the individual arts and crafts.
I could not believe, those frescoes have been overpainted white for a long time and have only been restored, when the museum was last renovated from 2003 to 2013.
At the end of this gallery, another foyer covered with frescoes simply serves to impress and underline the appreciation for the arts, this house was made for.
I just love the central fresco, saying: “Live is short but art lasts forever” This is certainly true, if art is preserved and presented as is shown in this museum.
The side facing the outer wall has colourfull stained glass windows spanning maybe three or four storeys, such is the height of this room.
Again, the windows are all designed in praise of painters, architects and builders, but also farmers, fishermen, weavers, potters, kings and soldiers as well as merchants, scientists, geographers and astronomers. Pretty much all of what weaves up a society is depicted. Apart from women, I have to add. They only show up as muses or godesses, if at all. Luckily, within all the other rooms of this great house, so many paintings depict the life of women over the course of the centuries much better.
Oh, lest I forget – when we visited, there were other special guests present at the museum. I forgot, which place they came from, exactly – I guess it would be the Museum of Natural History. Stuffed animals adorning the main foyer. The main entrance has been lowered below ground level in the course of the last renovation, to allow one connected entrance hall joining both wings of the house below street level. Amsterdamers were strongly protesting to lose the shortcut, the road for pedestrians and cyclists cutting through the building provides them with, just for the comfort of visitors to the museum.
So the architect just lowered the ground floor. It is said, that so many stones were taken out of the building by doing this, that the entire building was floating upward a few centimeters from the swamp it rests upon.
During our visit, the new entrance hall was protected by stuffed cats and other animals. Much to the enjoyment of pedestrians outside, especially kids, who had their noses glued to the windows, to inspect the big predators on the window sills. But also inside, the animals were a great and unexpected sight.