The Rijksmuseum fully re-opened its doors on April the 13th 2013, after over ten years of refurbishment. This has attracted visitors keen to see Rembrandt’s ‘Nightwatch’ back in its original position, and visitors who want to see what the improved museum has to offer. This has resulted in some seriously long queues that even a seasoned Brit would wince at (we love to queue). After seeing the queues stretch on, and on – and after avoiding the queues myself last week, I wanted to share my tips for how to avoid the queues at the Rijkmuseum.
This museum is a whole different kettle of fish to the Van Gogh museum. Here, EVERYBODY has to queue to get into the building, unless you have a reservation for a guided tour or workshop, or if you are a museum benefactor. Even if you already have a ticket. The key here is to arrive early. Specifically before 9am when it opens. I arrived at 8.50am, and waited for only 10 minutes. The added bonus was the queue was really small, and so getting in to the museum took much less time.
Pre-order your tickets online, use a museumcard, or buy a ticket from your hotel. This way you get to walk straight into the museum once you get inside the building (unless you need to put your coat and bag in the cloakroom). Since you already have a ticket, it means that you don’t have to stand in line and wait to get your hands on a ticket. If for some reason you can’t get a ticket beforehand, then the advice to go early is even more pertinent. This way there are less people in the queue ahead of you. For this museum, I used my museumcard to walk straight in to the museum.
Don’t go on a weekend or on a public holiday. Unless you want to queue for hours. Almost every weekend since it was re-opened the queues have been huge, and not something worth wasting your time on. I think that most people wait between an hour or two. I don’t know, because I’m not prepared to wait in a queue that long. Instead go during the week, specifically Monday-Thursday when it is less busy. June is their least busy month, so if you are planning a visit keep this in mind. This way you don’t have to contend with the throngs of people trying to get in to the museum.
Don’t take a bottle of water. They won’t let you into the museum with it, and the same goes for large bags and rucksacks. The cloakroom weren’t sure when I asked about whether I could take my bag in to the museum, and she said that the security guard would make a decision. He let me in without a problem, but it’s worth knowing that if your bag is quite big, there is a chance you’ll have to leave it in the cloakroom. Always ask the cloakroom staff what they think first as it can save you a lot of time.
Download the multimedia tour to your smartphone. It is available at both of the app stores, and is completely free, so you’ll save yourself 5 euros – just make sure you remember your headphones. Be warned though, not all smartphones can download the app. My Samsung Galaxy Gio S5660 didn’t work, so I had to queue for the audiotour (though not very long, because I got there early). The best thing to do is to try and download it, and then if it doesn’t work then you can try another device. This is by far the quickest, and easiest way to do it. Headphones are for sale at the museum for 1.50 euros in case you forget yours.
Practical information: The Rijksmuseum is on Museumplein, and is accessible by tram. There are three different stops. Tram 2 and 5 stops at Hobbemastraat. Tram 6, 7 or 10 stops at Spiegelgracht, which is a short walk away from the museum. Tram 3, 12, 16 and 24 stop at museumplein.