The Year of Rembrandt: 2019 Celebrations in the Netherlands

By Alice Cavallo
2019 marks the 350th Anniversary of Rembrandt van Rijn, the greatest master of the Dutch Golden Age. Several cultural institutions in the Netherlands will commemorate Rembrandt’s legacy with special events and exhibitions.

F rom Amsterdam and The Hague to his birthplace in Leiden, Dutch museums will be staging unprecedented shows of Rembrandt’s most important masterpieces.

While the upcoming ‘Year of Rembrandt’ is expected to draw Old Master aficionados to the Netherlands, there’s always good reason to explore Dutch museums.

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Night Watch, 1642, oil on canvas, 363 cm x 437 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Wikipedia

Here, Sotheby’s Museum Network takes a look at all things Rembrandt throughout the Netherlands, and previews the most exciting commemorative exhibitions in the year ahead.

The Rijksmuseum, Photo: John Lewis Marshall

Rembrandt in Amsterdam

The Rijksmuseum

The world famous museum in Amsterdam known for its collection of masterpieces by Rembrandt and other Dutch artists of the Golden Age will present two major Rembrandt exhibitions in 2019.

All the Rembrandts of the Rijksmuseum (15 February – 10 June 2019)

All the Rembrandts of the Rijksmuseum will be one for the record books. For the first time in history the museum’s entire collection of Rembrandts will be on view. An impressive holding of 22 paintings, 60 drawings and the 300 best examples of Rembrandt’s 1,300 prints will come together in one of the most important surveys to date.

Rembrandt – Velázquez (11 October 2019 – 19 January 2020)

Later in the fall, the Rijksmuseum will showcase a comprehensive overview of paintings by the two great masters of the 17th century in the exhibition Rembrandt – Velázquez, investigating an important dialogue with Rembrandt’s contemporary and the conversations between northern and southern schools of painting. The Dutch and Spanish masterpieces will be exhibited in pairs alongside masterpieces by Murillo, Vermeer, Zurbarán, Hals and Ribera. This landmark exhibition, a triumph of collaboration between the Rijksmuseum and Madrid’s Museo del Prado is on our list of the most anticipated exhibitions of 2019.

Rembrandt Out-of-Doors

During the Year of Rembrandt, the Rijksmuseum will also map out various ‘art trails’ through the city of Amsterdam leading visitors to places where the artist lived and worked. The trails can be accessed on foot, by bike and even by boat on a canal cruise. A detailed programme of special events including lectures, musical performances, drawing activities and afterhours openings will be announced in mid-2018. Stay tuned for more from the Museum Network or follow the Rijksmuseum here:

Rembrandt House Museum; Photo: Wikimedia Commons; Gunnar Bach Pedersen

Rembrandt House Museum

Unsurprisingly, the largest Rembrandt-focused museum in the Netherlands is not missing out on the occasion. The Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam will be staging several special exhibitions in celebration of the artist’s 350th anniversary, of which the following are sure to reveal new understandings and levels of appreciation.

Rembrandt’s Social Network (1 February – 19 May 2019)

The Year of Rembrandt will open with an exhibition set to lay the context for Rembrandt’s career and artistic influences. Rembrandt’s Social Network will examine the role the artist’s friends, acquaintances, and rivals played in shaping his life. Through rarely-exhibited paintings, drawings, and prints, the viewer will become familiarized with the social forces integral to Rembrandt’s identity.

Highlights: 108 Years of Collecting by the Rembrandt House ( 7 June - 1 September 2019)

There’s more to the Rembrandt House than Rembrandt… For over a century it has been equally well known for its diverse collection of works on paper. In the summer of 2019, the museum will feature the most remarkable examples from its collection with a highlights exhibition showcasing work by artists who drew direct influence from Rembrandt.

Rembrandt Laboratory (21 September 2019 – 16 February 2020)

Several fascinating art history discoveries have been made in recent years thanks to developments in scientific technology and conservation practice. Next year, Rembrandt’s former workshop will be transformed into a laboratory in which key works will be studied using new scientific methods, revealing insights and prompting discussion around the role conservators and scientists have to play in connoisseurship.

The Mauritshuis, Photo: Courtesy of the Mauritshuis Collection, The Hague

Rembrandt in The Hague

The Mauritshuis

Recognized as a key Dutch heritage site, the Mauritshuis in The Hague houses a world-renowned collection of more than 200 works by Dutch and Flemish masters, including some of the most important paintings of the Golden Age. In light of the Year of Rembrandt, eighteen paintings attributed to the artist will be on view, along with other paintings that were previously attributed to Rembrandt and are rarely on display. This survey will unveil the history of connoisseurship and understanding of Rembrandt’s oeuvre – a ‘history of the history of art’ of sorts that is rarely ventured in major museums.

Museum De Lakenhal, Photo: Wikimedia Commons: Xsandriel

Rembrandt in Leiden

Museum De Lakenhal

From November 2019 to February 2020, Rembrandt will return to his city of birth amongst the brand-new galleries of the Museum De Lakenhal, which will reopen in the Spring of 2019 after years of restoration and expansion. The exhibition Young Rembrandt will be the first major show solely devoted to the early work of Rembrandt. With approximately 40 paintings, 120 etchings and 20 drawings, the exhibition will encompass the trajectory of the artist’s early work, allowing visitors to appreciate the development of his unique style, particularly during the years 1624 to 1634 when he flourished as an independent artist. Some key works making their way to Leiden for the occasion include Man in Oriental Costume (‘The Noble Slav’ from 1632), from The Metropolitan Museum in New York and Self-Portrait (ca. 1628) from the Rijksmuseum.

In the Footsteps of the Young Rembrandt: The Rembrandt Trail and The Rembrandt Lokaal

If you haven’t had enough Rembrandt, venture on the Leiden Rembrandt Trail - a self-guided walk connecting all Rembrandt-related locations in the inner city of Leiden. The trail starts from the Rembrandt Reception Hall and it takes visitors past Rembrandt’s birthplace, the school where the artist received painting lessons from his master Jacob Swanenburgh, and the Latin School that young Rembrandt attended as a child.

For more information on the Year of Rembrandt visit

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