In the end, 400 hours of material was edited down to a single film that takes the viewer to the apotheosis: the reopening in 2013.
In 2003, Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum—one of the most important museums in the Netherlands—closed for a major renovation. The plan was to reopen in 2008, but what was to take five years took ten, with a budget that just kept on growing.
Filmmaker Oeke Hoogendijk was able to follow this exciting, difficult, and sometimes painfully funny process with the camera from behind closed museum doors. She captured the building as it was stripped to its bare bones, and as it gradually got back its old grandeur. We watch from up close as various curators prepare the layout of their new rooms with tremendous passion and dedication. We follow the caretaker, who looks at the building as if it were his child and protects it against intruders, and the architects who constantly have to adjust their designs. And we follow the museum directors Ronald de Leeuw and Wim Pijbes, who must deal with financial setbacks, bureaucracy, and squabbles—not to mention activist cyclists.
The New Rijksmuseum
Director: Oeke Hoogendijk