31 May 2016
I’ve shown you the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum bicycle “tunnel” on my blog before. Already explaining that it is an underpass and not a tunnel. But is that even true? When you look at it from the inside of the museum you realise that it is almost like a ‘tube’ going right through the building. The museum is all around it, not only on top and to the sides, but also underneath it!
The Amsterdam people fought a long battle to keep the cycle passage through the Rijksmuseum when the museum was restored last. That restoration took over 10 years and it was finished in 2013. The passage was reopened that same year. When you use that underpass you are on the outside of the museum, but right in the heart of it. When you cycle in the passage, you have the feeling that you are on solid ground, because the pavers from the squares in front of the musuem (and also behind it) continue in the passage. You can now look into the courtyards on either side of the passage through windows that were only added in that last restoration. Before, the passage had a closed wall at either side. What you do not realise, however, is that the museum extends to underneath your bicycle! Both courtyards, that are covered with a glass roof and which the museum calls ‘atrium’, are connected with an underpass under the bicycle passage. The best way to see that is from inside the museum. When I visited the museum some weeks ago, I had to wait for the people who I was with to get their coats from the cloakroom and it suddenly struck me how invasive that bicycle passage really is. So I got my phone out and filmed people passing by on their bicycles and on foot. I think it is mesmerizing how they are on the outside inside the museum.