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Restoring former glories


When a world famous museum housing priceless works of art undergoes a major restoration, it goes without saying that every single nuance of every last detail has to be perfect. Such is the case at Amsterdam’s Rijskmuseum in the Netherlands, home to prized paintings including Rembrandt’s stunning The Nightwatch.

Designed by architect Pierrre Cuypers, the original building opened in 1885, but after more than a century of intensive use, it required a radical makeover. Work on a ten-year program of improvements began in 2004, with the new-look museum fully opening its doors again in April 2013. During that time, extensive remodeling and restoration has taken place, all designed to faithfully restore the building and make it fit for modern-day demands.

Head architects for the €375 million renovation were Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz. Together with designer Jean-Michel Wilmotte (famous for the interior of Musée du Louvre), they worked with Dutch conservation studio SRAL to compose a palette of colors that closely matched those originally selected by Cuypers. They also selected a new palette of colors for all the other walls and ceilings. To create all of these, they turned to AkzoNobel’s Sikkens brand, which is backed by more than two centuries of experience and expertise.

After analyzing samples of the original paintwork, color matching experts at Sikkens reproduced more than 60 of the authentic 1885 colors, along with eight brand new colors, and the main building’s wall and ceiling decorations have now been returned to their former glory. AkzoNobel, through its Sikkens brand, also became the official supplier of all paint and decorative products used for the Rijksmuseum renovation, with more than 8,000 liters having been used throughout the building, both inside and out.

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