Arts Society Chichester take virtual Amsterdam tour

Members of the Arts Society Chichester took part in a virtual tour of Holland’s famous Rijksmuseum thanks to Zoom.

Sophie Oosterwijk
Sophie Oosterwijk

The special one-off pop-up event was organised by the society’s committee who have set up regular Zoom lectures over the last months on a variety of subjects, allowing members to continue to be involved whilst meeting in person has not been possible.

The virtual visit to the Rijksmuseum was led by tour guide and lecturer Sophie Oosterwijk, who tailored the visit especially for the Arts Society.

An expert on the museum, Sophie guided members around the recently refurbished museum and shared some of her favourite art works.

Sophie explained that the Rijksmuseum, first opened in The Hague in 1800 but moved to Amsterdam in 1808, as a depository for Dutch art and history.

It is about inclusiveness, showing 8,000 objects from the country’s past but also Dutch modern art.

Sophie led members from the ground floor with its atmospheric grey walls displaying medieval and Renaissance art up to the ornate Grand Hall on the second floor, leading to the Gallery of Honour.

There the display of art is from the 17th-century Golden Age which includes paintings by Vermeer, Frans Hals and Rembrandt, including his famous picture known as the Night Watch. Sophie gave fascinating insights about the Night Watch, its history and setting.

Of particular interest to the Arts Society was one of the dolls houses inlaid with tortoiseshell and pewter.

From the first acquisition of the painting Threatened Swan to the modern art installation, Shylight, it was a wonderful and absorbing tour, said Arts Society chairman Susie Jardine.

“It was so exciting to welcome everyone to our first pop-up event! It really felt like we were there in Amsterdam. And it was a great opportunity to spend time afterwards with questions online and sharing our experience. “

Sophie Oosterwijk was born in Gouda, in the Netherlands, and has an MA and PhD in English Literature from Leiden, an MA in medieval studies from York and a PhD in art history from Leicester.