The Rijksmuseum features an outstanding collection of Dutch Golden Age paintings. Enrich your visit to Amsterdam’s finest museum with a private art historian guide.
Look beyond the frame as you admire masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, and other Dutch masters. We will explore their work in the historical context of their time.
Your guide will help you avoid the crowds and experience the Rijksmuseum in a meaningful and intimate way.
* tour price based on 2 hours including VAT, excluding entrance fees. For more hours the price will be adjusted accordingly.
- Major masterpieces of the Dutch Golden Age at the Rijksmuseum: Night Watch, Isaac and Rebecca (Jewish Bride) and Self-portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn, Milkmaid and Woman Reading a Letter by Johannes Vermeer.
- Paintings by Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Jacob van Ruisdael and other Dutch and Flemish masters.
- Historical artefacts of the Dutch Golden Age: ship models, Delft Blue pottery, dolls’ houses.
What our guests say about this tour
"Fun and educational"
The Rijksmuseum is much larger, you could probably spend days there. Hanneke did a nice job moving us through focusing on a number of paintings by different artists and different time periods so we got a nice overview of the more prominent works.
Hanneke provided an in depth knowledge to get everyone engaged and learning more about the selected pieces. Hanneke could connect with both my 6 and 16 year old. I cannot recommend her enough!
About the tour
Amsterdam’s iconic Rijksmuseum is a treasure trove of the Dutch Golden Age art.
On this two-hours tour, we explore of its major and lesser-known masterpieces. The highlight of the collection are paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals, Jan Steen, and other iconic Dutch masters of the 17th century.
We discuss their artistic challenges and innovations as we look at a great variety of portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and genre paintings. You will learn all about techniques, colours, and the way the painters worked.
The Rijksmuseum’s collection also offers a captivating insight into the history of the Dutch Golden Age. Through the lens of art, we look at the major events and at the everyday life. People’s hopes, habits and passions come to life when you unlock the hidden messages of paintings.
To complete the picture, we examine several of the Rijksmuseum’s amazing historical artefacts. It includes extremely detailed models of warships, exquisite dolls’ houses, or refined Delft Blue earthenware.
The Rijksmuseum is one of the most visited places in Amsterdam. This private experience allows you to discover it at your own pace. You have your guide’s full attention. Take your time. Ask any questions. Enjoy art in an engaging and intimate way.
Start with Flemish art
First we’ll pay a short visit to the 16th-c. Flemish masters who paved the way to the Dutch Golden Age.
Then we’ll head to the Gallery of Honour, which features major works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Frans Hals, among others.
Continue with Rembrandt—the gem the of Rijksmuseum’s collection
The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn is the crown jewel of the Rijksmuseum’s collection. The entire museum was designed around this symbolic painting. As it is extremely popular, we recommend to take the tour in the morning, before the ‘rush hour’.
As many masterpieces, the Night Watch bears its share of secrets. We will disentangle truth from myths and replace this famous work into its historical context.
Then we survey other famous Rembrandt’s paintings. The Gallery of Honour also showcases his Self-Portrait as Apostle Paul, the Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild and Isaac and Rebecca (Jewish Bride). These works from late Rembrandt’s last years raise timeless human questions: love, power, faith, age. His vigorous manner makes them even more compelling. We will examine Rembrandt’s palette and techniques that reveal his astonishing modernity.
The art of the everyday in the Dutch Golden Age
The Rijksmuseum’s Gallery of Honour brings together many iconic Dutch paintings. After Rembrandt, we move on to other masters.
The painters of the Dutch Golden Age worked in many different genres. Art market in the Netherlands was exceptionally large and thriving, compared to the rest of Europe. Artists’ new clients belonged to a wealthy middle class. They valued art they could relate to.
So, Dutch Golden Age painters invented the art of the everyday. They specialized in still lifes, landscapes, scenes of ordinary life. We zoom in on these inventions with artists like Jan de Heem, Jacob van Ruysdael, or Pieter de Hooch.
This beautiful art can reveal fascinating details about the 17th-c. people’s ideas, values and everyday life. But its naturalism can be deceiving. These paintings only appear to be straightforward. We will learn to read their hidden meaning.
Johannes Vermeer and Jan Steen at the Rijksmuseum
Another gem of the Rijksmuseum collection are several works by Johannes Vermeer, including The Milkmaid. They leave the viewer with many unanswered questions. We will attempt to find the answers together, as we examine Vermeer’s symbolic details.
We move from Vermeer’s mysteries to the comic moralism of Jan Steen. He was a true storyteller. His paintings are accessible and entertaining. Yet his subjects weren’t always original. Artists’ rivalries and mutual inspiration fuelled the art of the Dutch Golden Age.
Big and small history of the Dutch Golden Age
The Rijksmuseum’s collection is about much more than paintings.
On this tour, we also explore the famous Delft Blue pottery. Intricate vases remind of the tulip mania that gripped the Netherlands in the Golden Age.
Among the stunning dolls’ houses the best known is that of Petronella Oortman. Such miniature Amsterdam canal houses are, of course, every little girl’s dream. But they actually tell more about grown-ups.
Fabulous maritime artefacts revive the Dutch glory of the Golden Age. This was a unique time of prosperity and political greatness. The Dutch East India Company dominated international trade. The Netherlands became an empire. Amsterdam ruled the waves and thrived like never before.
This tour brings memories back to life. Through art and historical items, it offers you a meaningful introduction into the Dutch Golden Age.
Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum Combined Tour
Short on time? Consider taking a combo tour of the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. The two museums are located on Amsterdam’s Museum Square, within a short walk from each other. In 3 hours, you can see the best of both.
Where is the meeting point?
We will email you the meeting point and other details of the tour upon booking.
I have particular interests at the Rijksmuseum. Can this tour be customized?
A lot is possible. We always adapt every tour to your wishes and interests. Please contact us, and we will be happy to come up with a customized solution for you.
Is this tour suitable for young children?
This tour is suitable from the age of 12. In case you are interested in a Rijksmuseum tour with children under 12, please book through our family tours page.
Is this tour suitable for people with reduced mobility?
The Rijksmuseum is well accessible for people with reduced mobility.