Hermitage Amsterdam to re-awaken

Niki May Young
Friday 13 Feb 2009

Ex-home for the elderly to re-invoke history of decades passed

The Hermitage Amsterdam has announced that on Saturday 20 June at 10.00, the Hermitage Amsterdam in the Amstelhof – transformed and renovated in its entirety by Hans van Heeswijk Architects – will open its doors to the public. In the period between June 2007 and June 2009 the 17th century landmark on the river Amstel in Amsterdam has changed from a home for the elderly into a spectacular multi-functional museum with exhibition halls, a café-restaurant, shops, study centre, auditorium and a Hermitage for Children.

BUILDING Hermitage Amsterdam is housed in the monumental Amstelhof which, since its foundation in 1683, has served as a home for the elderly. The building retained this function until April 2007. The home could no longer be adapted to meet present-day requirements and consequently the SocialWelfare organisation of the Dutch Reformed congregation that has always owned the Amstelhof, decided to hand over the property to the municipality of Amsterdam in 1999. On one condition, that the building should be used for cultural purposes for which the Hermitage Amsterdam project wasconsidered suitable.

The Hermitage Amsterdam, with a surface area of approximately 9,000 sq m, will shortly offer a “total experience”. The exhibitions contribute important ingredients with two large exhibition halls and 42 small cabinets, but also the monumental building itself with its old church hall, trustees' rooms, other historical functions and the inner courtyard. The NEVA café-restaurant , a large auditorium and the two shops will also contribute to this. The Hermitage Amsterdam is so much more than a museum; the building also houses a study centre and Hermitage for Children, where each year some 20,000 children from Amsterdam and its surroundings can develop their creative talents.

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