"Amsterdam Historisch Museum - II. Civic Guard" Amsterdam Museum Tip by breughel

Amsterdam Museum, Amsterdam: 42 reviews and 94 photos

  "Compagnie van kapitein Joan Huydecoper" G.Flick
by breughel
  • "Compagnie van kapitein Joan Huydecoper" G.Flick - Amsterdam
      "Compagnie van kapitein Joan Huydecoper" G.Flick
    by breughel
  • "Compagnie van kapitein Albert Burgh" V d Valckert - Amsterdam
      "Compagnie van kapitein Albert Burgh" V d Valckert
    by breughel

On my previous visit in 2007 I got very much impressed by the esthetical and cultural homogeneity of he "Schuttersgalerij" Civic Guards? Gallery, a typical example of the Dutch identity as existed in the Gouden Eeuw (17th c. )
Since then the Gallery has been "renovated" and is now a mix of different things. My impression was that of seeing a souk!
In order to show the diversity of the present Amsterdam the floor is covered with a 40 m long carpet with the characteristics of all 179 nationalities present in the city.
From the Dutch press I read that artist Barbara Broekman designed the carpet from the idea that the diversity of cultures in the city is an asset rather than a problem.
I wonder if it was a good idea for the museum curator to get involved in the controversial Dutch politics about what is called "multiculti" but the esthetic consequences of his choice are somewhat traumatic for those who saw the "Schuttersgalerij" as it was before the changes.


The "Schuttersgalerij" Civic Guards? Gallery of the Amsterdams Historisch Museum, called Amsterdam Museum since 1/01/2011, is a glass-roofed walkway with free access to the public.

Militia guilds were first formed in the Middle Ages by the civic authorities to be called out in emergencies. Members of the civic guard were well-to-do burghers. They had to buy their own equipment and arms. They held firing practice in shooting galleries known as 'doelen' (= targets). Each civic guard was named after its weapon. There were crossbowmen and longbowmen, and harquebusiers. The latter carried firearms, the harquebus or 'klover' in Dutch.

The militias regularly commissioned group portraits, so-called militia paintings.
Today some 125 militia paintings survive. Amsterdam and Haarlem were the major centre of production.
The famous "Night Watch" of Rembrandt is one among many but is unique because it shows a Civic Guard Company moving, marching on, while the others are mainly static.

The members of these civic guards had to pay to be portrayed. It is known that in Haarlem the price was about 60 Florin of that time per person. For the "Night Watch "the price was about 100 Florin per person. In the 17th c. a weaver earned about 200 Florin per year.
Ordinary guardsmen did not appear in a civic guard painting. Having to pay for their own weapons was enough.

15 huge paintings of the Amsterdam Civic Guards are on (free) display in the "Schuttersgalerij" Civic Guards? Gallery which is a glass-roofed walkway (closes at 17 h). Best known is "De Compagnie van kapitein Joan Huydecoper" (1648) by Govert Flick.

Open: Monday to Friday 10 - 17 h
Saturday and Sunday 10 - 17 h
Price museum: 10 ?, The "Schuttersgalerij" Civic Guards? Gallery is free.
6 - 18 yr 5?
Free with museum card (can be bought here).

Address: Kalverstraat 92
Directions: Between Dam and Spui
Phone: +31-20-5231822
Website: http://www.ahm.nl

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 22, 2013
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“Heureux qui, comme Ulysse, a fait un beau voyage”

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