Beginning in June 2009, the greatly expanded Hermitage Amsterdam will welcome visitors to its elegantly restored 17th-century building in the historic heart of Amsterdam. Founded to bring the richness and grandeur of Russia’s artistic heritage to one of the West’s most charming capitals, this independent cultural institution will inaugurate its spacious new home—ten times the size of the previous building—with the opening exhibition at the Russian Court, a dazzling display of more than 1,800 treasures from the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.
Hermitage Amsterdam will be housed in the classically proportioned Amstelhof, built in 1681-83 as a charitable home for the elderly. Renovated at a cost of some 40 million Euros (approximately $50 million), the building has been redesigned as a series of light-filled galleries by Dutch architects Hans van Heeswijk and Merkx + Girod. More than an exhibition space, the 9,925-square-metre building (107,000 square feet) will be alive throughout the day and night with dining in the café restaurant Neva and on the outdoor terrace in summer; concerts and lectures in the renovated Church hall; events in the 400-seat auditorium; shopping in a pair of retail stores; meetings in gracious conference rooms; and relaxed contemplation in the courtyard garden designed by landscape architect Michael van Gessel.
“The opening of Hermitage Amsterdam is the culmination of nearly two decades of planning,” stated Ernst W. Veen, Managing Director of Hermitage Amsterdam. “At the same time, it is a continuation of more than 300 years of close ties between Amsterdam and St Petersburg, going back to Tsar Peter the Great’s fabled residence in our city.”