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Hermitage to Open 20 June 2009

Inaugural Exhibition At the Russian Court

To Present More Than 1,800 Treasures From St Petersburg

From June 20th 2009, 10 a.m., a major new European cultural destination, the greatly expanded Hermitage Amsterdam, will welcome visitors to its elegantly restored 17th-century building in the historic heart of Amsterdam. Founded to bring the richness and grandeur of Russia’s artistic heritage to one of the West’s most charming capitals, this independent cultural institution will inaugurate its spacious new home — ten times the size of the previous building — with the exhibition At the Russian Court, a dazzling display of more than 1,800 treasures from the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.

Hermitage Amsterdam is the only dedicated, independently managed venue in the West of St Petersburg’s magnificent State Hermitage Museum. At the Russian Court — a scholarly researched exploration of the opulent material culture, elaborate social hierarchy and richly layered traditions of the Tsarist court at its height in the 19th century — will remain on show from June 20th in the new institution until January 31st 2010. Hermitage Amsterdam will then stage two large-scale, temporary exhibitions each year, drawing on the encyclopaedic collections and unparalleled scholarship of Russia’s museums to offer cultural riches that would otherwise be unavailable in Amsterdam.

Hermitage Amsterdam will be housed in the classically proportioned Amstelhof, built in 1681-83 as a charitable home for the elderly, which must been seen by Tsar Peter the Great during his stay in Amsterdam. Renovated at a cost of some 40 million euros (approximately $50 million), the building has been redesigned as a series of open and light filled galleries by architect Hans van Heeswijk. The interior and opening exhibition are designed by Merkx+Girod architects. More than an exhibition space, the 9,925 square metre building (107,000 square feet) will be alive throughout the day and night with dining in the café restaurant Neva and on the outdoor terrace in summer; concerts and lectures in the restored Church hall; events in the 400-seat auditorium; shopping in a pair of retail stores; meetings in gracious conference rooms; and relaxed contemplation in the courtyard garden designed by landscape architect Michael van Gessel. The adjacent Neerlandia building, where ten exhibitions visited by more than half a million people have been presented since 2004, will become the Hermitage for Children, a special wing for education, with an exciting programme of classes and workshops.

“The opening of Hermitage Amsterdam is the culmination of nearly two decades of planning,” stated Ernst W. Veen, Managing Director of Hermitage Amsterdam. “At the same time, it is a continuation of more than 300 years of close ties between Amsterdam and St Petersburg, going back to Tsar Peter the Great’s fabled residence in our city.”

Hermitage Amsterdam will celebrate its grand opening on June 20th with a White Nights festival, remaining open for 31 hours with gala events and concerts along the Amstel river. Hermitage Amsterdam promises a cultural experience that will appeal to visitors of all ages, providing a window on Russia’s extraordinary artistic heritage.

“Over the past years, we have found many ways to extend our artistic and intellectual resources beyond Russia’s borders,” stated Mikhail B. Piotrovsky, Director of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg and Chairman of the Board of the Hermitage Amsterdam. “However, we have worked with a partner to create one great, freestanding Russian exhibition venue in the West — Hermitage Amsterdam.”

Note to Editors:
Hermitage Amsterdam has been created through a public-private initiative that is unprecedented in the Netherlands. The parish of the Dutch Reformed Church granted the Amstelhof to the Hermitage Amsterdam after the building was deemed no longer suitable for its original function as a nursing home, on the condition that it would be used for cultural purposes. Funds for the transformation of the building into the Hermitage Amsterdam have been provided through the generous contributions of the BankGiro Lottery (as founding sponsor), the State of the Netherlands, the province of North Holland, the City of Amsterdam, the W.E. Jansen Fund, the Amsterdam Canal Gardens Foundation and the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund. The BankGiro Lottery also supports exhibitions, as do Philips and Fortis Bank Nederland as chief sponsors and KPMG, Fugro, AON Artscope and Heineken as sponsors. Half of the operating costs of Hermitage Amsterdam will be covered by sponsorship and half by income from admissions. The VSBfonds is the partner of the Hermitage for Children.

More information:

HERMITAGE AMSTERDAM
Press Office
Noepy Testa, Kim van Niftrik
T: +31 (0)20 - 530 87 55
F: +31 (0)20 - 530 87 50
E: pressoffice@hermitage.nl
W: www.hermitage.nl/pers

Opening hours

Daily 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Closed on 25 December 2014 and 27 April 2015

© State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

The Hermitage Amsterdam is located on Amstel 51, Amsterdam

Photo Janiek Dam

More information:
+31 (0)20 530 74 88

More information online ticketing:
+31 (0)20 530 87 55