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Cultural Highlights

2013 will be a very special year for Amsterdam. Several of the city’s iconic institutions celebrate remarkable milestones and a range of events are in store throughout the year. Here are just 10 great reasons why Amsterdam is the place to be in 2013!

400 years of the Amsterdam canals

One of the city’s most iconic sights, 2013 marks the 400th year of the Canal Ring. The Amsterdam canals are unique: a work of art attesting to outstanding city planning and architecture that aptly expresses the growth and success of Amsterdam in the Dutch Golden Age. The Canal Ring was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2010 and to this day, the city’s biggest celebrations such as Queen’s Day and Gay Pride take place on the canals. During 2013, the canals will be a hotspot for concerts, art and festivals and the subject of several special exhibitions.

175 years of Artis Zoo

The oldest and best-known zoo in the Netherlands, Amsterdam’s Artis Royal Zoo joins in the 2013 celebrations to mark 175 years of nature, culture and heritage. Far more than just a zoo, Artis is a cultural meeting place, a city park and a peaceful oasis in the centre of Amsterdam. Founded in 1838, the zoo is currently home to in the region of 6,100 animals from about 900 different species.

Reopening of the Rijksmuseum

After extensive renovations, the Rijksmuseum will reopen its doors in spring 2013 to reveal an astounding 1.5 kilometres of art with exhibits dating from the present back to the Middle Ages. Designed by architect Pierre Cuypers, the museum has been fully restored by Spanish architects agency Cruz y Ortis, respectfully bringing the museum up to date for 21st-century visitors. The Rijksmuseum will open in April, revealing 80 restored halls in which 8,000 items narrate the story of 800 years of Dutch art and history. The museum has been given a completely new look: only Rembrandt’s The Night Watch still hangs in its original place.

125 years of the Concertgebouw

The Amsterdam concert hall welcomed its first visitors in April 1888. 125 years later, theConcertgebouw is a world leader in the field, famed for its unique acoustics. More than 700 concerts are held at the Concertgebouw every year, with internationally-acclaimed soloists, orchestras and conductors regularly gracing the stage. Home to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the concert hall will celebrate its 125th anniversary with an enormous range of special concerts and events. The Digital Concertgebouw project will be launched in 2013, bringing productions to an even wider audience by broadcasting live concerts in new locations around the city.

125 years of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

With chief conductor Mariss Jansons at the helm, the renowned orchestra celebrates its 125th anniversary with a world tour taking in six continents. Comprising 120 extremely talented and dedicated musicians, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra never fails to put on a spellbinding performance. The orchestra will also perform at the Prinsengracht Concert in August.

Felix Meritis: 225 years of enlightenment

Amsterdam’s Felix Meritis was founded in 1788 as a centre for international art, culture, trade and science. The ‘temple of enlightenment’ will celebrate its 225th anniversary with a series of special readings, exhibitions, educational programmes and guided tours. The Felix Meritis Observatory will also be opened to the public for the first time in 200 years.

150 years since the abolition of slavery

On 1 July 2013, it will be exactly 150 years since Dutch slavery was abolished in the former colonies of Suriname and the Dutch Antilles. Due to the important role that Amsterdam played in the history of slavery, the city is keen to bring broad attention to the anniversary and the significance of the abolition. The Stichting Herdenking Slavernijverleden 2013 (Foundation for the Commemoration of Slavery 2013) has been set up to start preparing a commemorative programme of events.

40 years of the Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum will reopen following internal renovations in 2013, 160 years after the birth of Van Gogh and 40 years since the museum opened. The museum houses the world’s largest collection of drawings, paintings and letters by the artist alongside works by Van Gogh’s contemporaries and is dedicated to exhibiting the works to as broad an audience as possible. Welcoming 1.6 million visitors every year, the museum is one of the 25 most-visited museums in the world. Due to the renovations, an extensive collection of Van Gogh’s works will be on display at the Hermitage Amsterdam until April 2013.

The Netherlands and Russia in 2013

A major exhibition entitled The Czar and the Canals will run at the Hermitage Amsterdam from February to August 2013, focusing on the Czar’s visits to the Netherlands in 1697 and 1717. Russia is important for the Netherlands when it comes to economic, cultural and socio-political concerns. Strong ties have been forged between the two countries, dating back to Czar Peter’s visit to the Netherlands in 1697 – a visit that kicked off fruitful trade relations and the exchange of expertise. Zaandam is also celebrating Dutch links with Russia in 2013: the Czar Peter House will be put into the limelight and numerous Russian-related activities will be organised in the region.

100 years of the Frans Hals Museum

Haarlem’s Frans Hals Museum celebrates its centenary with an anniversary exhibition featuring key works by the Dutch painter alongside paintings by artists including Titiaan, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Jordaens and Rubens. The exhibition runs from 23 March to 28 July 2013. The museum is home to the largest collection of paintings by Fran Hals in the world. Haarlem’s most renowned Golden Age artist, Hals specialised in portraits and was acclaimed for his accurate, expressive style.