About the museum
About the Hermitage St.-Petersburg
One of the largest museums in the world
At the Hermitage Amsterdam you can always visit an exhibition with items from the collection of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. A unique collaboration has developed between the two museums which emphasizes the historical links between the Netherlands and Russia. The close relationship between the two countries began with Tsar Peter the Great (1672-1725). At the end of the seventeenth century he spent three months in the Netherlands – some of this time he was incognito – to discover new methods and ways that could help him modernize Russia. He returned again in 1716-1717. During this visit he became the first Russian to buy a work by Rembrandt and so started the famous collection of Dutch Masters in the Hermitage.
Tsar Peter’s programme of modernization included the construction of a capital city inspired by Western European urban planning and architecture: St. Petersburg. A majestic city emerged by the banks of the Neva river. Its network of streets and canals were inspired by the city of Amsterdam. Peter’s daughter Tsarina Elizabeth commissioned the construction of the Winter Palace. Under her successor, Catherine the Great, the palace was expanded with a building to house the rapidly growing art collection. And that is how the Hermitage came to be in 1764. It was a private gallery up until 1852, when Tsar Nicholas I opened a new building, the New Hermitage, and opened the museum to the public at the same time. This was one of the first public museums in the world.
Nowadays the Hermitage has a collection of over three million objects, around 65,000 of which can be viewed in the museum’s more than 350 rooms. In addition, many of its art works are exhibited at various museums in Russia and abroad. As the museum’s most important permanent foreign partner, the Hermitage Amsterdam presents a new exhibition with works from the collection every six months.
To discover the Hermitage and its collection online, visit hermitagemuseum.org.
The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, from right to left: the Winter Palace, the Small Hermitage, the Large or Old Hermitage (behind which lies the New Hermitage) and the Hermitage Theater.