Opened in 2009, the Hermitage Amsterdam is the Dutch branch of the legendary State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. That is rather fitting, considering that Amsterdam was the place where Russian tsar Peter the Great (Peter I) began to amass what is now a stupendous collection of fabulous artworks owned by the Russian state. Amsterdam's buildings and canals, which the tsar fist visited in 1680, served as a source of inspiration in designing the city of Saint Petersburg that he later founded. Although Russia's Hermitage museum is more commonly associated with empress Catherine the Great, it is actually Peter I who laid the foundations for the museum's art collection. During the course of several visits to Amsterdam, he acquired 220 works by various Dutch and Flemish masters.
For centuries, the 17th-century building that houses the Hermitage Amsterdam served as a retirement home for the elderly. The home closed in 2007 with the departure of its last inhabitants. This coincided with the closing that same year of the Hermitage's London branch for financial reasons. Today, the Hermitage Amsterdam hosts more than 1800 objects on loan from the Hermitage museum in Saint Petersburg, providing an insight into Russian life under the Romanov dynasty. Among other items dating from the 18th century until the February Revolution of 1917, one can see clothing, jewellery, hats and fans once owned by the Romanov family, during a period when many aristocratic Russians were leading a luxurious lifestyle and attending practically one major ball every week. The museum in Amsterdam holds two thematic exhibitions per year, based on the vast collection of classical and modern art at the Hermitage museum in Saint Petersburg.
Keywords: museum, Amsterdam