The Stedelijk Museum, another of Amsterdam's major museums located on Museumplein (Museum Square), recently underwent a major renovation and was reopened in September 2012. The Stedelijk contains one of the largest collections of modern art in the world. Its new extension has aroused passions both at home and abroad; some hate it, others love it. Designed by the Amsterdam-based architecture firm Benthem Crouwel, the new extension is a striking, white, futuristic building in sharp contrast to the adjoining brick building that is the museum's historical home. Locals have already nicknamed the new building "The Bath Tub". Its façade, a single solid entity, seems to swim in the air with not one seam to break its 3000 square metre surface. Its roof alone measures 100 x 40 metres. At first glance, it really does look like a giant, designer bath tub stuck in a room much too small and old-fashioned for it, its provocative whiteness squeezed between the historical buildings surrounding it. But step inside, and that impression changes. The new extension, used primarily for temporary exhibitions, has doubled the museum's area. The permanent collection remains in the old brick building, and the area where both buildings meet has become a design object in itself. If one considers that nowadays museums are not only places to display art, but also a form of entertainment and meeting place, the new Stedelijk fulfils its functions flawlessly. The artistic, emotional, and architectural experiences it provides - complete with an escalator entrance resembling the belly of a spaceship and the window attracting crowds hungry for a view of a "framed" Amsterdam - make it one of the main magnets of the city. The Stedelijk also has a superb bookstore with a dizzying array of books and gifts as well as a restaurant that is worth a visit in its own right, regardless of whether you continue on to the actual museum or not.
The Stedelijk Museum, however, is no stranger to controversy, having found itself at the centre of artistic and financial disputes since its very beginning back in 1895. The original museum building was designed by city architect A. W. Weissman and built in 1891-1895. Its Neo-Renaissance style façade and interior have been renewed and modernised several times over the years and only now, with the most recent renovation, have they finally been returned to their original look.
Keywords: Amsterdam, museum