CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Rijksmuseum’s Website Revamped

Museum press release

The Rijksmuseum’s website has been completely revamped. A sizeable portion of the Rijksmuseum’s collection cannot be exhibited, which makes the website a perfect place where the collection can be broadly accessed. In order to achieve this ambition, the Rijksmuseum’s website has undergone improvements in terms of design, content and technical infrastructure.

The defining feature of the new design is the full screen illustrations of details from artworks in the collection, which serve as navigation tools. These illustrations encourage visitors to keep clicking so as to uncover underlying information, and help playfully reveal the collection and the cross-references between works on virtually every page. Another new aspect is the inclusion of interactive presentations that were created for the Rijksmuseum, The Masterpieces exhibition, which is on view in the Philips Wing until 2008. Special attention has been paid to The Night Watch and to doll’s houses, among others. For example, using animation, the doll’s houses presentation includes photos showing close-ups of corners, ceilings and miniature objects, sometimes with extra-large illustrations. The basement and library, which are off-limits to museum visitors, are also shown.

The website has been made very user-friendly: it now offers an integrated range of information, so that users need only a single command to simultaneously search the website, the museum’s collection, the web shop and the library catalogue, which consists of more than 200,000 books and periodicals. In addition to these opportunities afforded to the general public, another newly-added feature is a search function that enables professionals and other interested parties to access the web version of the Rijksmuseum’s internal Collection Management System, which includes nearly half a million objects. So far, 50,000 objects have been made accessible, of which over 6,000 are accompanied by an illustration.

A crucial starting point in developing the new website was the ability to easily create lavish productions tailored to various target groups. As a result, the site offers online exhibitions, multimedia stories, timelines, magnifying buttons and quizzes. Other types of presentations will be added in the future, so as to continue expanding the site.

An innovative system was developed for the website, making it open and in line with international standards. The Rijksmuseum hopes to make the system available to third parties by way of an ‘open-source scenario’, which will be fleshed out in due course.

The new infrastructure also makes it possible to work with other institutions. The fruits of the first collaboration will become evident on 17 December 2004, when the Rijksmuseum and the portal launch the website This involves a presentation in which objects from the Rijksmuseum are placed in the context of audiovisual material from the VPRO and NPS broadcasting organisations.

Fabrique was responsible for the concept and design, and worked with Q42 on the technical infrastructure.

The revamped website and infrastructure were made possible in part by the Mondriaan Foundation and the Municipality of Amsterdam, Economic Department.