Netherlands, Travel
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Rijksmuseum

As I mentioned in my other Amsterdam post, we didn’t have a big plan set out for our time in this amazing city. We wanted to be pretty free to wander and explore, and not feel like we had to squeeze in visits to certain museums or landmarks.

we LOVED amsterdam!

we LOVED amsterdam! You can see our kiddos climbing the a.

Danica in the d, just as we had a picture of Oli in the o in Brussels!

Danica in the d, just as we had a picture of Oli in the o in Brussels!

However, once we found out that there was a special Dick Bruna exhibit at the Rijksmuseum, we knew we had to go. Miffy was one of my absolute childhood favourites. I adore that little bunny! Danica loves her too, and so we planned a quick tour of the Rijksmuseum around our family love of Miffy, or Nijntje in Dutch. This year marks 60 years of Miffy!

Nijntje, the first incarnation of Miffy in 1955. This year marks 60 years of Miffy!

Nijntje (Miffy in Dutch), the first incarnation in 1955.

Danica is a big fan of Miffy, and she was totally fascinated by the large scale pieces, as well as Bruna's process.

Danica was totally fascinated by the large scale pieces, as well as Bruna’s process.

These pieces are from the book

These pieces are from the book “Miffy the artist”, one of Danica’s faves.

Learning about Dick Bruna’s process for his Miffy artwork was really interesting. Once he settled on a final sketch, he would trace over it onto thick paper, leaving a groove in the paper which he would then trace over with a uniform line of black paint. He would then transfer this onto a transparency. From there he would place the colour layer, made from cut paper, and the transparency would be laid on top to be photographed for the final piece. You can see the basic process in this display below.

Closeup of the Miffy panels, clearly showing Bruna's process from sketch to transparency to addition of colour panels.

Closeup of the Miffy panels, showing Bruna’s process from sketch to transparency to addition of colour panels.

We did a rather cursory tour of the rest of the museum, taking in the awesome De Stijl section upstairs, with pieces by Mondrian and Rietveld, among others. This was totally up my alley, and being surrounded by these iconic chairs (chairs are my design obsession), was kind of exciting. This white version of Rietveld’s well-known “red and blue chair”, acquired by the museum a few years ago, was a special commission by author Til Brugman, and was actually made by Rietveld in his own furniture shop years before the chair was being produced in it’s iconic primary colours.

Gerrit Rietveld's iconic

Gerrit Rietveld’s iconic “red and blue chair”, but in white, a rare commissioned piece.

I loved these modernist art deco travel posters by Cassandre. Perfectly displayed with more Rietveld chairs.

I loved these modernist art deco travel posters by Cassandre. Perfectly displayed with more Rietveld chairs.

We happened upon an incredible lighting installation, Shylight, and we had to sit down and watch it for some time. It has a truly calming effect, totally mesmerizing. I highly recommend heading to the website to watch the video of the lights in action. Loved it so much.

lighting installation

We also had a look at the massive imposing Rembrandt, the Night Watch. I still can’t quite get over it’s size. Seeing artists like these in person is kind of a surreal experience. I had the same feeling at the d’Orsay and the Louvre. Even when the pieces aren’t exactly to my taste, seeing these paintings and sculptures that have been around for so many years, that are so often talked about as icons in the world of art history, it sort of blows your mind!

In keeping with our love of street musicians in Europe, we happened upon this trio playing the most hauntingly beautiful classical music in the bike tunnel leading through the Rijksmuseum. The acoustics were perfect, and the lilting tones filled our ears. An interesting grouping of tuba, accordion, and violin – we had a great time stopping to listen for a while.

The arched tunnel through the Rijksmuseum, perfect acoustics for this band to play their beautifully moving music.

The vaulted tunnel through the Rijksmuseum, perfect spot to listen to this trio’s beautifully moving music.

The makings of good acoustics! Arched tunnel, and windows looking into the entry of the Rijksmuseum.

The makings of good acoustics! Vaulted stone bike tunnel, windows looking into the Rijksmuseum entry.

Our next stop from our Toussaint adventure was Bruges. What an incredible place! I will be back to share our visit very soon.

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