Late Rembrandt draws over half a million to Rijksmuseum

The Late Rembrandt exhibition in the Rijksmuseum (Picture: Twitter/@patriziarn)The Late Rembrandt exhibition in the Rijksmuseum (Picture: Twitter/@patriziarn)

The Late Rembrandt exhibition in the Rijksmuseum attracted more than half a million visitors. That is 60 thousand more visitors than the previous record - a Rembrandt exhibition in 1969. About 20 percent of the visitors came from abroad.

Director Wim Pijbes told NOS that the exhibition was a "great success". "You hope for it of course, and these are stunning figures: 520 698 visitors in three months."  King Willem-Alexander opened the exhibition in February. The exhibition displayed about 100 works from the last 20 years of the 17th-century artist.

This was the most expensive exhibition that the museum has ever done, costing about 5 million euros. The insurance alone cost 1 million euros. Pijbes would not comment on whether the museum made a profit. "In any case we are out of the costs", was all he would tell the broadcaster.

The museum received about a hundred complaints from visitors who felt the exhibition was too crowded. They could not see the paintings and the crowds caused a lot of noise. Pijbes initially responded to these criticisms by saying that it is busy, but not as busy as the Sistine Chapel or in front of the Mona Lisa. But he later admitted that the exhibition may be too crowded, saying that the display is “arguably approaching the boundaries of an enjoyable visit.” The museum then started selling fewer tickets in each time slot to spread out the crowds and make it a more enjoyable experience for all visitors.

"All in all it was not too busy", Pijbes said to NOS on Sunday. "I do not want to downplay it, but a certain image has been created through social media. Everyone puts his complaint on the internet." This creates the image that the exhibition was not enjoyable, "while the majority of our visitors were satisfied".

The majority of the paintings and sketches will no return to the museums and individuals who made them available for this exhibition.