The Hermitage Museum has a collection of three million works of art, much more than can ever been shown in St. Petersburg. Pieces from the collection were first shown in the Nieuwe Kerk, a 16th century church in the heart of Amsterdam, and a venue for art from all over the world. After several successful exhibitions of Russian art, the idea was born to establish an annex of the Hermitage in Amsterdam. Besides fine arts, this centre of Russian culture had to be home to concerts, symposiums, a library, a documentation centre and shops.
Amstelhof, the building that housed the Amsterdam elderly for more than 400 years, opened part of its premises in 2004 as a pilot Hermitage Amsterdam. This modest beginning is expanded now into a new accommodation that fills the entire building. The visitor strolls from the entrance on the Amstel river through the courtyard to the east wing with its foyer, auditorium and restaurant. Even before the entrance ticket is bought, the building's true magnitude is revealed. The whole of the garden wing is devoted for receiving the public and functions as a central meeting point in the building. It comprises a large auditorium, smaller halls for lectures and courses, a spacious shop and café-restaurant with a terrace on the garden side. This wing is open to the public who are not visiting the exhibition, also outside museum opening times. There is an entrance for groups arriving by coach via Weesperstraat, who enter the Hermitage Amsterdam via Nieuwe Keizersgracht. The rear side of the garden wing has a public terrace favourably situated - out of the wind and in the sun. Temporary exhibitions are being held in the two exhibition wings. They comprise two large exhibition halls surrounded by cabinets. The Neerlandia building on Nieuwe Herengracht, the first phase of the Hermitage Amsterdam, has become the Hermitage for Children.
Foundation Hermitage on the Amstel
Interior Design Public Spaces: Hans van Heeswijk Architects in co-operation with Merkx+Girod Architects
Garden design: Michael van Gessel
Photographer: Aerophoto Schiphol