Museum arm to open at Amsterdam's Schiphol

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NEW YORK -- The Netherlands' renowned Rijksmuseum broke ground last month on a small satellite branch to open at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport by the end of November.

The new Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol, touted as the first airport exhibition center to be opened by any major museum worldwide, will house a permanent exhibition of about 10 works by masters of

the 17th centu-ry Dutch Golden Age, including a portrait of Saskia van Uylenburgh by Rembrandt.

Other artists on display will include Barent Avercamp, Pieter de Hoogh, Gerrit Berckheyde, Abraham Mignon, Jan Steen, Jacob van Ruisdael, Melchior d'Hondecouter and Cornelis Bouwmeester.

In addition, small exhibits of other works from the Rijksmuseum proper and other Dutch institutions will be organized on site several times a year by the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage.

The 1,141-square-foot museum will consist of a gold-colored hall suspended above the Holland Boulevard between concourses E and F, with an 800-square-foot museum shop occupying the space below.

Several Internet stations will offer more information on the Rijksmuseum's collections; museum admission will be free of charge.

Schiphol officials hailed the groundbreaking as the next logical step in their airport development plans.

"[This] museum will significantly enhance the existing airport facilities and adds a new dimension to the AirportCity concept," said Leon Verhallen, director of passenger airline marketing at Schiphol.

The AirportCity philosophy envisions the airport -- where 40 works of art by a coterie of international artists already enliven both the infrastructure and public areas -- less as a transit point and more as a dynamic "bubbling city" where travelers interact in shops, cafes, a supermarket and, come fall, a world class museum.

Schiphol Airport, one of Europe's busiest leisure and business travel hubs, handled 39.5 million passengers in 2001, a mere 0.2% fewer than the year before, despite the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Verhallen said the museum facility will offer passengers "a first view of the possibilities posed by a visit to Amsterdam itself."

As the Rijksmuseum will be located beyond security checkpoints, access will be limited to those holding tickets for travel.

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