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Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, Queen Beatrix, Svetlana and President Dimitri Medvedev, Princess Máxima
Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, Queen Beatrix, Svetlana and
President Dimitri Medvedev, Princess Máxima
Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of Hermitage St.Petersburg
Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of
Hermitage St.Petersburg
Ernst Veen, director of Hermitage Amsterdam
Ernst Veen, director of
Hermitage Amsterdam
Part of Russian Court exhibit
Part of Russian Court exhibit
Hermitage Amsterdam
Hermitage Amsterdam
Russia Opens Hermitage
Satellite In Amsterdam

HE opening ceremonies in June of the Hermitage Amsterdam, the first independent satellite of the Russian state museum, the Hermitage St. Petersburg, made for a stunning moment in cultural history. The new Museum, on the banks of the Amstel River, is housed in the Amstelhof, a 17th century, classically proportioned former charitable nursing home for the elderly.

HRH Queen Beatrix, HRH Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and HRH Princess Maxima welcomed Dmitry Medvedev, president of the Russian Federation, and his wife Svetlana, to the premier exhibition, At the Russian Court: Palace and Protocol in the 19th Century.

Ronald Plasterk, Netherlands Minister of Education, Culture and Science; Aleksandr Avdejev, Russian Minister of Culture, and Amsterdam Mayor Jeb Cohen also participated.

Highlights, which were televised on two gargantuan screens, included pianist Olga Khozianova, 13 and 16-year-old piano virtuosi Arthur and Lucas Jussen, as well as the premiere of Waterfront, a ballet by Hans van Manen, principal choreographer of the Dutch National Ballet.

The Hermitage Amsterdam, the brainchild of Ernst Veen, director of the new museum, and Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the Hermitage St. Petersburg, is a public/private initiative, unprecedented in the Netherlands.

The 2,000 pieces of the At the Russian Court exhibit took 45 Hermitage curators 15 years to assemble. This is a scholarly exploration of the opulent culture, elaborate social hierarchy and richly layered traditions of the Tsarist court at its height.

The showcases are filled with beaded and embroidered ball gowns, court uniforms and costumes. Combined with music and revolving display units, the illusion is of a 19th century ball.  

Fireworks are forbidden in Amsterdam. That didn’t stop the organizers of the grand opening festivities from ending with a dazzling display, rumored to have been a replication of the one Peter the Great saw when he first visited Amsterdam.

At the Russian Court: Palace and Protocol in the 19th Century will be on display through January 2010.

With the opening of Hermitage Amsterdam, the City becomes a bona fide contender for the greatest art city in the world. If the thought of an international flight makes you hesitate, there is a solution: Open Skies, a subsidiary of British Airways. This is the first all-business class airline, with prices that compete with tourist class on most other airlines.

Of the city’s many hotels one wonderful place to stay with excellent service is the newly refurbished and restored 200-room Park Hotel.  It’s in walking distance of the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh and the Stedelijk Museums, three state museums that cover five centuries of art.




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