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During the last few years, museum going tourists in Amsterdam have faced a disappointingly high number of closed doors. First the impressive Stedelijk Museum went out of action, quickly followed by the ever popular Rijksmuseum. And whilst the Stedelijk Museum has at last re-opened after nine long years, art lovers will be disappointed to learn that the celebrated Van Gogh museum has now shut in its place. It feels almost as though, when one museum door opens, another one closes in Amsterdam!
The much anticipated opening of the refurbished Stedelijk Museum finally took place just two weeks ago, meaning that those who appreciate contemporary art will no longer have to make do with the small displays and travelling art exhibitions that were organised by the Stedelijk in an effort to prevent it from being entirely forgotten. And it would appear to have been well worth the wait, for the Stedelijk now boasts a breathtaking new white wing, dubbed the “bathtub” by Amsterdam locals, with which it hopes to attract in excess of 500,000 visitors each year – not so ambitious when you consider the long queues of visitors eager to admire masterpieces by Malevich, Mondrian and Kandinsky, that have already been forming outside its freshly opened doors.
However, if these visitors anticipate rounding off a pleasant morning at the Stedelijk with a tour of the world renowned Van Gogh Museum, then they’ll be in for a nasty surprise. This acclaimed Dutch museum, which houses the largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh, has in fact been closed for renovation since the opening of the Stedelijk. So tourists in Amsterdam hoping to glimpse some of Van Gogh’s most prestigious works must currently settle for second best, with a trip to the Hermitage Amsterdam instead. Here they can at least view a few of his famous paintings including De Slaapkamer, De Aardappeleters and Korenveld Met Kraaien. Alternatively they can seek solace in the many Van Gogh prints typically found on the Dutch souvenirs for sale in the city’s shops and kiosks. Happily, the refurbishment programme isn’t expected to last nine years, rather just seven months. Which means that if you’re planning to visit Amsterdam next summer, the renovated Van Gogh Museum and the refurbished Rijksmuseum (scheduled to open on April 13, 2013) will thankfully both be in operation.