Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands opened the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam today.
The museum had been closed for a decade for renovations by Spanish architectural firm Cruz y Ortiz, Miami Herald writes. The Queen was wearing a simple brown outfit and one of her trademark hats in what must have been one of her last public performances. I thought she looked lively yet old.
The Queen symbolically opened the museum by twisting a giant key in a giant lock, after which fireworks were lit.
A lot more people than I had expected had shown up, thousands drawn perhaps by the promise of a free visit to the museum, which will be open to anyone until midnight, France 24 reports. It was so busy it almost seemed like young Canadian pop star Justin Bieber had arrived in the city… oh wait.
The opening was accompanied by the musical performances of 13 marching bands from all over the kingdom. The bands marched up and down a wide orange ramp that would later be used to let the general public enter the museum. After the opening, the bands spread out over Museum Plein. The Caribbean band was especially very popular and completely locked in by onlookers.
As The Independent writes, the Rijksmuseum was originally intended as the home of classic Dutch masters. “But what were they smoking when the management of the foremost Dutch museum and the Government Building Agency predicted the task would take just three years?” Part of the problem, the paper writes, was the way the government looked at requests for tenders, which was that everything should be done on the cheap. The underlying idea, not to be frivolous with public money, was good, but the result was decades of cost overruns and sometimes plain shoddy work. (The Rijksmuseum does look good though.)