Record-breaking Vermeer exhibition opens at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum

Record-breaking Vermeer exhibition opens at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum

Today sees the Rijksmuseum open the doors to its hotly anticipated Vermeer exhibition, where a record number of the Dutch artist’s works are on display, together, for the first time.

28 Vermeer paintings on display in Amsterdam 

Born in Delft in 1632, Johannes Vermeer is undoubtedly one of the greatest talents to arise during the Dutch golden age. During his 43-year lifetime, he achieved moderate fame and success, particularly in the cities of Delft and The Hague, and is believed to have completed up to 60 oil paintings - although only 36 have survived to this day. 

Vermeer’s art is displayed in museums and galleries around the world, and while his most famous piece - Girl with a Pearl Earring - can usually be found in the Mauritshuis in The Hague, the latest exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam brings together 28 Vermeer paintings, seven of which have never been on display to the Dutch public before. 

Rijksmuseum curators label exhibition a "chance of a lifetime"

Described by the museum’s curators as “the chance of a lifetime”, the Vermeer exhibition finally opened its doors to the public on Friday, February 10 - but a whopping 200.000 tickets had already been sold before the exhibition had officially begun. 

The head of the Rijksmuseum’s press office, Elles Kamphuis, talked to NOS about how overwhelming the global interest in the exhibit had become: "Camera crews from all over the world, from CNN to Al Jazeera, come to capture the exhibition.” 

In order to keep up with the staggering demand, the museum has extended its opening hours. "We keep an eye on ticket sales and, depending on that, we determine whether the museum can open further and whether we have enough staff for this,” Kamphuis explained.

Girl with a Pearl Earring only on display for seven weeks

The exhibition - which takes up all 10 rooms of the Rijksmuseum’s Philips wing - sees the 28 pieces organised according to 11 themes, dividing up Vermeer’s early works, cityscapes, and portraits. 

Visitors are required to pre-book their tickets, as the museum has decided to adopt a system many became familiar with during the coronavirus pandemic: ticket-holders have to book a time slot in order to be granted access to the exhibition. The Rijksmuseum hopes this will “give as many people as possible the opportunity to visit this unique exhibition in a pleasant way.” 

Open until June 4, 2023, the Vermeer exhibition features works including but not limited to The Milkmaid, A Young Woman Seated at the Virginals (on loan from the National Gallery in London), and The Lacemaker (on loan from the Louvre in Paris). Girl with a Pearl Earring - which has rather remarkably been loaned by the Mauritshuis  - is also included in the exhibit, but will only be on display for a limited period of time. Make sure to get to the Rijksmuseum before March 30 if you want the chance to see it in person.

Thumb: Jaroslav Moravcik via

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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JohnElemans2 21:09 | 12 February 2023

It’s also totally sold out.