Sit back and enjoy the revealing stories behind the highlights of the Rijksmuseum. Or stop the stories for a moment and take a look at the works themselves down to the smallest details.

Isaac and Rebecca, Known as ‘The Jewish Bride’ Isaac and Rebecca, Known as ‘The Jewish Bride’

One of the most famous embraces in the art of painting

Portrait of a Woman, Possibly Maria Trip Portrait of a Woman, Possibly Maria Trip

Rembrandt rendered her costly jewellery masterfully

Night Watch, Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq Night Watch, Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq

Why is the Night Watch actually so famous?

Self-portrait as the Apostle Paul Self-portrait as the Apostle Paul

Look at the thick paint in Rembrandt’s turban

The Sampling Officials of the Amsterdam Drapers’ Guild, Known as ‘The Syndics’ The Sampling Officials of the Amsterdam Drapers’ Guild, Known as ‘The Syndics’

How did Rembrandt create the dynamics in this group portrait?

Marten&Oopjen Marten&Oopjen

Purchased by France and the Netherlands for 80 million euros apiece

Self-portrait Self-portrait

The 22-year-old Rembrandt seen here did not shy away from experimenting

The Milkmaid The Milkmaid

The milk seems to be streaming from the pitcher. How did Vermeer do this?

View of Houses in Delft, Known as ‘The Little Street’ View of Houses in Delft, Known as ‘The Little Street’

So much affection and precision for an ordinary street

Woman Reading a Letter Woman Reading a Letter

Notice the many shades of blue that Vermeer used

Still Life with Cheese Still Life with Cheese

Time for a drink! What deeper meaning did the cheese have?

Portrait of a Couple, Probably Isaac Abrahamsz Massa and Beatrix van der Laen Portrait of a Couple, Probably Isaac Abrahamsz Massa and Beatrix van der Laen

What is there to smile about here?

The Threatened Swan The Threatened Swan

What’s going on with this swan?

The Windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede The Windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede

Do you see the miller on the balcony?

Adolf and Catharina Croeser, Known as ‘The Burgomaster of Delft and his Daughter’ Adolf and Catharina Croeser, Known as ‘The Burgomaster of Delft and his Daughter’

What three genres do you see in this work?

A Militiaman Holding a Berkemeyer, Known as the ‘Merry Drinker’ A Militiaman Holding a Berkemeyer, Known as the ‘Merry Drinker’

Take a look at the quick and short brushstrokes

The Feast of St Nicholas The Feast of St Nicholas

How did Jan Steen instil such vivacity in this festivity?

River Landscape with Riders River Landscape with Riders

See how wonderfully well the horses are painted

Still Life with a Gilt Cup Still Life with a Gilt Cup

Just look at these masterful reflections and refined composition

The Merry Family The Merry Family

Take a closer look at this family gathering that has gotten out of hand.

Portrait of a Girl Dressed in Blue Portrait of a Girl Dressed in Blue

So what makes this such a popular painting?

View of Haarlem from the Northwest, with the Bleaching Fields in the Foreground View of Haarlem from the Northwest, with the Bleaching Fields in the Foreground

Go zigzagging through the envitons of Haarlem

Mary Magdalene Mary Magdalene

Learn more about this lady in sumptuous clothing

The Holy Kinship The Holy Kinship

Feast your eyes on this work full of colourful details

Worship of the Golden Calf Worship of the Golden Calf

A warning against idolatry and immoral behaviour

The Seven Works of Mercy The Seven Works of Mercy

See how you can help those in need

Self-portrait Self-portrait

A self-portrait in 3D. Try it yourself sometime.

Portrait of Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen (c. 1472/77-1528/33) Portrait of Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen (c. 1472/77-1528/33)

Does his gaze put us on the wrong track?

Portrait of William I, Prince of Orange Portrait of William I, Prince of Orange

Father of the Dutch nation. Fighter or diplomat?

The Well-stocked Kitchen, with Jesus in het House of Martha and Mary in the Background The Well-stocked Kitchen, with Jesus in het House of Martha and Mary in the Background

Find out the moral of this story

The Massacre of the Innocents The Massacre of the Innocents

Who commissions such a gruesome work? And why?

Madonna of Humility Madonna of Humility

Masterpiece from Florence made by a painter-monk

Portraits of Giuliano and Francesco Giamberti da Sangallo Portraits of Giuliano and Francesco Giamberti da Sangallo

A Florentine architect and his recently deceased father

The Meeting of Joachim and Anna The Meeting of Joachim and Anna

This timeless embrace will stay with you

Table ornament Table ornament

Made with an astounding and ‘deadly‘ technique

Cabinet of a Militia Company Cabinet of a Militia Company

Discover the lock of this ‘chest on legs’

The Merry Fiddler The Merry Fiddler

Cheers! See how lifelike this fiddler is

The Fête champêtre The Fête champêtre

Very merry party, but with a moral

Portrait of Gerard Andriesz Bicker Portrait of Gerard Andriesz Bicker

Striking pink tones and fashionable clothes

Fishing for Souls Fishing for Souls

The painter clearly took sides in this political allegory

Floral Still Life Floral Still Life

Take a closer look at the flaming parrot tulips

Banquet at the Crossbowmen’s Guild in Celebration of the Treaty of Münster Banquet at the Crossbowmen’s Guild in Celebration of the Treaty of Münster

Big party! There is real cause to celebrate

Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters

Take a closer look at these 200 figures having fun on the ice

View of Olinda, Brazil View of Olinda, Brazil

Anteaters, sloths, monkeys and one very large beetle

Girl in a Large Hat Girl in a Large Hat

A summertime maiden with an enticing gesture

Interior of the Sint-Odulphuskerk in Assendelft Interior of the Sint-Odulphuskerk in Assendelft

Zoom in on the architectural details

Militia Company of District XI under the Command of Captain Reynier Reael, Known as ‘The Meagre Company’ Militia Company of District XI under the Command of Captain Reynier Reael, Known as ‘The Meagre Company’

Made by two painters. Do you see any difference?

Cupboard Cupboard

Made by the specialist in ebony work and Rembrandt’s friend

Book chest of Hugo de Groot Book chest of Hugo de Groot

How long was Hugo de Groot hidden in this chest?

Lidded ewer Lidded ewer

Discover the auricular style full of surprises

Clock and gunpowder horn Clock and gunpowder horn

A suspenseful exploit in extreme cold

Roemer with a poem to Constantijn Huygens Roemer with a poem to Constantijn Huygens

The maker of this glass had a writer’s block

A Pelican and other Birds near a Pool, Known as ‘The Floating Feather’ A Pelican and other Birds near a Pool, Known as ‘The Floating Feather’

Look at the magnificent feathers by the 17th-century bird painter

Still Life with Asparagus Still Life with Asparagus

In the spotlight with no frills

View of the Golden Bend in the Herengracht View of the Golden Bend in the Herengracht

Herengracht under construction, with some still vacant lots

Dolls’ house of Petronella Oortman Dolls’ house of Petronella Oortman

Take a look around in this deluxe doll’s house

The Battle of Terheide The Battle of Terheide

Experience Maarten Tromp’s last naval battle

Gallant Conversation, Known as ‘The Paternal Admonition’ Gallant Conversation, Known as ‘The Paternal Admonition’

An ambiguous scene with exquisite fabrics

A Mother Delousing her Child’s Hair, Known as ‘A Mother’s Duty’ A Mother Delousing her Child’s Hair, Known as ‘A Mother’s Duty’

Zoom in on the ‘through-views’ and many gradations of light

The Sick Child The Sick Child

An ashen face. Did this child have the plague?

Italian Landscape with a Draughtsman Italian Landscape with a Draughtsman

Lose yourself in this large painting aglow in evening light

Portrait of Michiel de Ruyter Portrait of Michiel de Ruyter

His eyes are closed. Why?

Portrait of Andries de Graeff Portrait of Andries de Graeff

An impressive classic bust with a contemporary twist

Twee toiletkoffers Twee toiletkoffers

Decorated from top to bottom with rich marquetry, or inlaid work

Model of the William Rex Model of the William Rex

Boarding by force! How did this fighting machine attack?

Chest with nine bottles Chest with nine bottles

The contents of these bottle cabinets were precious

Layette Cupboard Layette Cupboard

Zoom in on this deluxe baby linen cupboard

Blue Macaw Blue Macaw

How was this first European porcelain made?

Seated Cupid Seated Cupid

A beloved statue with a famous owner

The First Day of School The First Day of School

Experience the first day of school in Istanbul

A Dutch Merchant, Possibly Andreas Everardus van Braam Houckgeest A Dutch Merchant, Possibly Andreas Everardus van Braam Houckgeest

The Chinese sculptor Chitqua specialized in such souvenirs

Desk Desk

Take a closer look at the spectacular inlay, the marquetry

 The Art Gallery of Jan Gildemeester Jansz  The Art Gallery of Jan Gildemeester Jansz

Take a closer look at this collection of famous pictures

Portrait of a Member of the Van der Mersch Family Portrait of a Member of the Van der Mersch Family

Learn more about this engaging portrait of an art lover

Mantelpiece with relief of Paris and Oenone Mantelpiece with relief of Paris and Oenone

Glorification of the simple country life in marble

Wine fountain and cooler Wine fountain and cooler

A silver fountain for pouring wine

Haarlem reception room 1794 Haarlem reception room 1794

Step into this room full of symmetry

Stadtholder’s chair Stadtholder’s chair

A mighty, empty chair

Portrait of Alida Christina Assink Portrait of Alida Christina Assink

See what was considered ‘sexy’ in this portrait

Italian Landscape with Umbrella Pines Italian Landscape with Umbrella Pines

Check out the precision and lighting effect of these graceful umbrella pines

Piano Practice Interrupted Piano Practice Interrupted

A playful work with a clever composition

A Windmill on a Polder Waterway, Known as ‘In the Month of July’ A Windmill on a Polder Waterway, Known as ‘In the Month of July’

Above all look at the sky and water

Girl in a White Kimono Girl in a White Kimono

Zoom in on the gleaming white silk embroidered kimono

Children of the Sea Children of the Sea

This charming scene contains a serious message

The Singel Bridge at the Paleisstraat in Amsterdam The Singel Bridge at the Paleisstraat in Amsterdam

A famous impressionistic and ‘photographic’ work by Breitner

Self-portrait Self-portrait

Van Gogh painted this colourful self-portrait in Paris

The Battle of Waterloo The Battle of Waterloo

How was Napoleon defeated in this famous battle?

Portrait of Don Ramón Satué Portrait of Don Ramón Satué

Discover the power of simplicity in this work

Toilet mirror Toilet mirror

Princess Marianne’s heavy mirror

Diorama of a Slave Dance Diorama of a Slave Dance

The enslaved people express criticism through role-playing

Silver cabinet Silver cabinet

This silver cabinet won the silver medal for good reason

FK 23 Bantam FK 23 Bantam

Learn more about this ultra-fast fighter plane

Armchair for Til Brugman Armchair for Til Brugman

An icon of modern design

Eight Stacked Beams Eight Stacked Beams

An interplay of equilibrium and gravity

Guanyin Guanyin

Masterful woodcarving, with small strips of gold leaf

AK-RAK-2007-1 AK-RAK-2007-1

Don’t mess with these guys

Shiva Nataraja Shiva Nataraja

The longer you look the more everything comes alive

The bodhisattva Manjushri The bodhisattva Manjushri

Learn more about this serene statue