The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam fitted with the latest Royal HaskoningDHV technologies

The Rijksmuseum's climate control and security and safety features are a masterpiece. "You have to treat a valuable collection in the same way that museum collection managers look after their own works, in other words very carefully. From design to specifications to implementation." The speaker is Rouven Nieuwenburg, Project Manager at Royal HaskoningDHV, and responsible for the climate control systems and the sustainability of the museum’s building, among others. "Our work and the systems we have developed for climate control, fire safety, security and lighting are aimed at safeguarding the security, safety and comfort of the valuable art collections and the visitors. The technical installations are professionally concealed, without compromising the beautiful architecture of this historical building.

Sustainable Energy Loop

Nieuwenburg explains how Royal HaskoningDHV has made skilful use of natural energy sources. "Computer-controlled blinds and artificial light have been used to optimise the incidence of natural light to illuminate the artworks. When there are no visitors in a room, the lights are turned off and the air is recirculated to keep the climate at a constant temperature and humidity level. The main components for the technical installations have been installed below the Main Building in a so-called energy loop. Removing these large installations from the museum building itself has created major space savings. The heat and cold storage system combined with heat pumps produces significant energy savings."

Testing with a Scale Model

Without doubt, one of the most popular artworks in the Rijksmuseum is Rembrandt's 'The Night Watch' that is exhibited in a hall about eight metres high. "To make sure that this masterpiece is exposed to the right climate conditions all year round, we extensively tested our innovative climate control system using a 1 to 1 scale model of this masterpiece. This enabled us to eliminate the weak points from our system. Regardless whether it is warm or cold outside, the system maintains the right temperature and humidity in every season," says Nieuwenburg.

Security in the Rijksmuseum

Royal HaskoningDHV also did a great job with regard to security in the Rijksmuseum. Erik Stam, Project Manager Security and Safety at Royal HaskoningDHV: "The Rijksmuseum is a historical building, so we had to carefully weigh up the architectural possibilities against the optimal security and safety measures. A key criterion was to ensure that the various security and safety measures did not interfere with the visitor's experience. And we succeeded. The public only sees the cameras and security personnel. The other security and safety measures are invisible, but they are definitely there. We made sure of that!"