Episode 10: Renovating the crown jewel of Dutch museums

Better Cities By Design

Nov 25 2023 • 21 mins

We close out 2023 with a special episode of Better Cities by Design. We are in Amsterdam to hear the story of the decade-long renovation of the National Museum of the Netherlands, the Rijksmuseum. Our special correspondent Richard Walker heads over to the museum to speak with Igor Santhagens, the Rijksmuseum’s Renovation Project Leader, as well as Arcadians Dieneke Grimmeluis, and Gerard van Engelen, to uncover the secrets hidden within the museum.

The building that is now the Rijksmuseum was opened back in 1885. It houses a collection of more than 1 million objects of art and history, with 8000 of objects on display in 12,000 square meters of exhibition space. But after more than a century of welcoming visitors from all over the world, the decision was made to renovate the building to enhance the visitor experience and to accommodate many more people each year. This massive project presented many technical challenges. For instance, the building rested on around 13,000 wooden poles lodged into Amsterdam’s muddy soil and this project needed to be carried out without damaging the ancient structure.

Join Richard, Igor, Dieneke, and Gerard as they explore the Rijksmuseum and discuss how they brought this project to fruition, in the heart of the bustling Dutch capital. We also hear from museum visitors as they experience the grandeur of one of the most important cultural sites in the Netherlands.

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