Het Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

After ten years of renovation, the National Museum of The Netherlands (The Rijksmuseum) is open again. The renovated Rijksmuseum opened its doors on April 13 2013, showcasing collections of the Dutch Masters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer, in a lighting design by Rogier van der Heide, Philips Lighting and many collaborators.

The quintessence of this lighting design is twofold: to help architects Cruz & Ortiz to “return the building to Pierre Cuypers” (the original architect) and, in close collaboration with the Museum staff and the exhibition designers Wilmotte & Associés, to show the paintings and the other artworks as closely as possible to their very own “self”.
This quest for simplicity, and a pure approach to lighting that brings the works closer again to their original appearance was the main driver behind the decisions the lighting designer had to make. The use of LED means that colours of the light remain consistent across galleries, even when spotlights are dimmed at different levels. The unobtrusive product design that has been masterfully blended into the architecture ensures that visitors are not distracted and experience the galleries and the art in the best possible way (read further below).

The natural light, designed by Arup Lighting in London, respects the dynamics of the light of the sun and sky, and delivers these to the galleries in a crisp, and seemingly unaltered way. This visual connection with the outside further encourages and inspires the visitor to interpret what he sees, and relate the history that comes to life in the Rijksmuseum to the reality of mankind today.

The lighting for the Rijksmuseum is a phenomenal achievement that truly is second to none. There is no museum in the world, that had the courage to rethink and re-create gallery lighting in the way the Rijksmuseum has done. There were many collaborators involved, and deep appreciation and thanks to all of them and to their collaborative achievement is the least to say here.

In this project, there is no conventional lighting used. The LED lighting presents the artworks in the best way, and gives a fantastic visitor experience. With more than 9,500 square meters and 7,500 artworks illuminated, the Rijksmuseum is the largest gallery space in the world that has ever been lit by LED. In addition, the museum’s public spaces including the shop, the atriums, the restaurant as well as the outdoor area and building façade all have LED lighting.


Project Facts & Credits

  • Project Name: Rijksmuseum
  • Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Surface Area: 10,000 square meter (100,000 sqft) of gallery space
  • Project Budget: € 300,000,000
  • Number of Artifacts that are on display in the Museum: 7,500
  • Number of LEDs in operation in the Museum: 750,000
  • Number of LED accent spotlights: 3,700
  • Opening Ceremony: 2013
  • Lighting Design end responsible: Rogier van der Heide, until 2003 at Hollands Light, from 2003 until 2010 at Arup, and since 2010 at Philips
  • Responsible for Lighting Design at the Rijksmuseum: Tim Zeedijk, Head of Presentations
  • Electric Lighting Design: Juliette Nielsen and Sjoerd van Beers at BeersNielsen
  • Daylight Lighting Design: Andy McNeil and Florence Lam at Arup
  • Product Design and Lighting Execution: Brad Koerner, Rob van Brunschot, Guillaume Galloy and Sander van der Kolk at Philips Lighting
  • Light Racks Design: Marleen Homan at Wilmotte & Associés and Bronnenberg
  • Supply and Programming of Dynalite Controls: Tovèrli
  • Philips Lighting LED Museum Luminaire with individual remote dimming and integration in rack and tracks
  • Lumileds 3.200 K / super high CRI LEDs
  • Philips Lighting Fortimo LED strip modules for all linear lighting solutions
  • Custom manufactured light rack with magnet connection of spotlights
  • Dynalite iPad interfaced lighting control system