Anniversaries Abound in Amsterdam

Anniversaries Abound in Amsterdam

Amsterdam celebrates a passel of special dates at historic venues and top attractions By: Mark Rogers
Many of Amsterdam’s attractions, including the Artis Royal Zoo, are celebrating milestones this year. // © Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board
Many of Amsterdam’s attractions, including the Artis Royal Zoo, are celebrating milestones this year. // © Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board

The Details

Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board

In Amsterdam this year, the buzz is all about venues, as one major cultural institution after another either reopens or celebrates a significant anniversary. While the recent reopening of the Van Gogh Museum made headlines, there are other important venues in Amsterdam that are also returning — refreshed and refurbished.

Following nine years of extensive renovations, the Rijksmuseum — Holland’s biggest museum — reopened its doors in April. It took nine years to complete the renovation work in which all 80 rooms have been restored. At the same time, advanced technologies and applications have been introduced to improve the visitor experience. The rooms house some 8,000 to 10,000 pieces of artwork from the permanent collection, including the museum’s most famous work, Rembrandt’s “Night Watch.” With the restoration in effect, attendance at the Rijksmuseum is expected to grow from one million to two million visitors per year. The characteristic bicycle tunnel that runs through the Rijksmuseum will also be reopened.

To mark its centenary, the Frans Hals Museum will present a jubilee exhibition showcasing 50 masterpieces by the Dutch painter Frans Hals. The exhibition will also feature paintings by Frans Hal’s illustrious peers, including works by Rembrandt, Rubens and Titian. During the centenary year, the museum will also present a new permanent multimedia exhibition.

This year, Felix Meritis — the European Centre for Arts and Science — celebrates its 225th anniversary with special events to mark the venue’s milestone. Established with the aim of promoting the arts and sciences, Felix Meritis has hosted such musical icons as Robert and Clara Schumann, Camille Saint-Saens and Johannes Brahms. Today, it is again a meeting place connecting the national and international worlds of creativity, intellectual debate, politics and business. There is a great deal of excitement around the fact that the Observatory of Felix Meritis — providing one of the most dramatic views of Amsterdam — will be open to the public for the first time in more than 200 years.

The renowned Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra will celebrate its 125th anniversary with a world tour that takes in six continents. Besides visiting 65 cities around the world during 2013, the orchestra is scheduled to perform at 71 home concerts at the Concertgebouw, the concert hall on the Museumplein, which is visited by more than 700,000 music lovers each year. 

Amsterdam’s Artis Royal Zoo is celebrating 175 years as one of the city’s prime spots for leisure. The zoo doubles as a playground, a garden and a park for Amsterdam residents and visitors. During its anniversary year, the zoo will be abloom with thousands of flowers throughout the entire park — with some 17,500 flower bulbs being planted. 

This year marks the 400th anniversary since construction began on Amsterdam’s world-renowned Canal Ring, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. Various activities will take place on and around the canals throughout 2013.

Built during the Golden Age of the 17th century, Amsterdam’s Canal Ring, known locally as the Grachtengordel, is comprised of a network of intersecting waterways. These were developed through the drainage and reclamation of land for new development. The canals were initially a practical feature, allowing the city to grow beyond its fortified boundaries. The canals subsequently evolved into showcasing Amsterdam’s signature canal-side estates. Grachtenhuis (Museum of the Canals) is located inside an actual canal house. A visit is a great way to learn more about the Canal Ring and its development over the centuries, with multimedia exhibits bringing Amsterdam history to life. 

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