March 24 2014 - 11:45 AM

On the occasion of his official visit to the Netherlands for the Nuclear Security Summit on 24 and 25 March, President Obama of the United States visited the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam today, the first ever visit by a serving US President to the museum. He is pictured here with the museum’s General Director, Wim Pijbes, in the Gallery of Honour in front of Rembrandt’s celebrated painting, ‘The Night Watch’, one of the greatest treasures of the collection.

obama Wim Pijbes and Barack Obama in front of The Night Watch. Photo Erik Smits

Wim Pijbes has given the President a tour in the Gallery of Honour, where world-famous masterpieces by Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt are shown. Pijbes made a personal selection of works around the the theme ‘virtues and values of the young Dutch Replubic’. The Gallery of Honour leads to the dedicated space created for Rembrandt’s greatest masterpiece: The Night Watch.

The Rijksmuseum re-opened to the public in April 2013, following a ten-year renovation, to universal acclaim. Already close to 3 million visitors have gone through its doors, making its one of the most successful ever transformations of a museum.

The Gallery of Honour has been the venue for many distinguished international gathering including Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, making the last official appearance of her reign, to host a State Banquet to celebrate the opening of the Museum in April 2013.

Distinguished White House figures have visited the Museum, but never during their official terms of office: Theodore Roosevelt visited on 1 May 1910 (US President 1901-1909), Mrs Lyndon-Johnson, the wife of the Vice-President, in 1963, and Hilary Clinton on 27 May 1997 (First Lady, 1993-2001).