Chillida in Rijksmuseum Gardens

Fijne Dinsdag to all you readers out there! As the last vestiges of summer float away, I still find myself in in awe of how fast time flies. Last Saturday I decided to take advantage of what was sure to be one of Amsterdam’s last warm sunny days and venture out to Museumplein for some rest and relaxation.

The popular “square” is home to Rijks, Stedelijk and Moco Museums, as well as a park, eateries and of course the ubiquitous I AM AMSTERDAM sign. As I biked around the perimeter, the area was teeming with tourist, so I decided to stop and smell the roses in the less crowded Rijksmuseum Gardens where there are often new installations by a famous artist to take in.

Corten Steel, 1993

I wasn’t disappointed. For the first time, nine monumental sculptures by Spanish Basque artist, Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002), have been selected to grace the grounds of the Rijksmuseum Gardens from 22 June 2018 until 23 September 2018. According to the plaque, Chillida is most noted for his large-scale work with steel and is considered one of the most significant post-war figures in sculpture.

The first of the Chillida’s collection I came across was 'Arch of Freedom'. Framed beautifully with the Rijksmuseum serving as a backdrop, 'Arch of Freedom' boldly expresses Chillida’s humanistic worldview. Making sure to view the entire collection, I made my way around to the less populated area facing Stadhouderskade and discovered more of the gifted sculptor’s work – ‘Wind Comb’, ‘Advice to Space IX’, and ‘Advice to Space VIII’ are installed in the center of a maze-like design of the flowers and greenery.

Highly receptive to the combination of geometry and poetry Chillida dedicated to Omar Khayyam’s Table III to Omar Khayyam, a Persian mathematician and astronomer who died in the early 12th century. Chillida wanted the table to seemingly float, as though ‘it is not supported by legs but by space itself’.

Corten Steel, 1983

After viewing all of Chillida’s installations, I looked for a place to settle so I could people watch and catch up on some reading. Rijksmuseum Gardens is the perfect place to sit back and bask in quintessential Amsterdam. In addition to a picturesque view, there's also an abundance of benches and chairs for lounging, an interactive fountain, a greenhouse, and a little booth that sells non-alcoholic drinks, spirits and snacks. And of course, not to be missed are all the historic statues and busts displayed all throughout the grounds.

The more I pay attention, the more I love this place! An outdoor museum, lovely garden and chill spot all open to the public free of charge. It’s the simple things that we take for granted that can hold so much beauty if we just stop to look. In all my time in Amsterdam, there were so many treasures right under my nose that I have yet to discover. I pass this little oasis almost every day on my way home from work without much regard.

Not wanting to miss anything, I took my time and read about each piece of artwork that was so generously displayed for the general public. Mercury and Psyche, a copy commissioned for the Rijksmuseum garden in 1890, can be found in the man area. Blink, and you can almost miss the sandstone figures shrouded in greenery along the trellis wall. Tucked away in little alcoves you can find the 1674 Bartholomeus Eggers bust series of Roman emperors Julius Caesar, Marcus Salvius Otho, Titus Flavius Domitianus, and Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus.

​Finally satisfied with my informal gallery tour, I found a shady spot under Wingnut, a stately tree planted in 1907, now listed as a historical monument. I inhaled a moment of gratitude as I marveled at how far I’ve come in my own journey. Here I am living my dream in a city I love. Sitting cross-legged absorbing the fairytale setting, I smiled and enjoyed my new favorite hideaway. Sometimes the best things are right there in plain sight. Rijksmuseum Garden is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm.

I love exploring new places. What is your go to area to chill out in the city? Let me know in the comment section!

'Til next time



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