Renovation of the Rijksmuseum: the workers

Until 2013, the Rijksmuseum (Dutch National Museum, specializing in Art and Dutch History) in Amsterdam is under reconstruction, renovation and restauration. The present building in Amsterdam, designed by Pierre Cuypers, opened its gates in 1885 and badly needed fundamental maintenance work. This work on this Dutch cultural icon is performed by workers from a wide variety of countries: Germans, Serbs, a Chilian, an Iranian etc. This is an interesting link to Dutch history: in the 17th century, Holland’s Golden Age (well represented in the museum’s collection), the percentage of immigrants (people born abroad) in the Netherlands was almost as high as now, at the beginning of the 21th century.

In 2009, Jan Banning was given the assignment to photograph his impression of the reconstruction. He focused on the workers, portraying them in a mobile studio, which he took around, through the stripped spaces of the huge building. He also made some additional “establishing shots” and photographed the “modern art” that the workers left on the museum’s walls.

December 2009.