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    The New Rijksmuseum

    Uus Rijksmuseum |

    Director: Oeke Hoogendijk

    Country: The Netherlands

    Year: 2008

    Length: 118'

    Language: In Dutch and English

    Introduction by Kadi Polli

    At the end of 2003 the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum closed its main building, to renovate it and turn it – in the words of its Director Ronald de Leeuw – into ‘the most beautiful art museum imaginable’. Spanish architects Cruz and Ortiz conceived a grand design which was to open in 2009: a modernized building embodying a groundbreaking museological concept. Film maker Hoogendijk followed the first four years of what is the Netherlands’ biggest and most ambitious cultural operation.

    Gigantic steel claws crushed the walls of the internationally renowned treasure-trove of Dutch art. A new museum was to rise from the ashes of the old museum. But from the very start the project was plagued by opposition from the local authority, the Dutch Cycling Union and building inspectors, to name but a few..

    Again and again the architects’ designs bit the dust, and they were forced to compromise at every turn.The tortuously slow decision-making process and the continually delayed opening date eventually led to the departure of both project manager Bart van der Pot and chief curator of 20th century history Wim de Bell. Eventually Director Ronald de Leeuw also resigned. In this film we witness these developments at first hand.

    When eventually even the call for tender failed, the battleground extended to include the Parliament in the Hague. Minister Plasterk was called to account. Why had he allowed the contracts to be put out to tender when he had been fully aware there was only one contractor eligible? This increased the costs to 212 million euros instead of the 134 million budgeted for: a difference of almost 80 million. The renovation is not expected to be finished before April 2013.

    The documentary gives us an exclusive tour of crumbled walls, disillusioned architects, the empty space left by the jewel of the Rijksmuseum collection, Rembrandt’s Night Watch.