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New Dutch Museum of Antiquities’ exhibitions

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Four new exhibitions in the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities from April


On 1 April the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden) will open no less than four exhibitions.

The extraordinary rituals associated with death and entombment in the world of ancient Egypt will be the subject of ‘Egypt. Land of immortality’; ‘Cutting-edge history will focus exclusively on the fascinating history and symbolism of swords, while ’Roman Coast’ will tell the story of the Dutch coast during the Roman period.

In the museum’s entrance hall artist Teun van Staveren will exhibit a series of paintings entitled ‘Admiring Baalbek’. See also

Egypt. Land of immortality’ is a fascinating exhibition on the remarkable rituals surrounding death and burial in ancient Egypt, and the Egyptians’ firm belief in eternal life in the hereafter. Visitors will be introduced to Egyptian gods, temples and rituals, and the secrets pertaining to mummification.

On display will be 2000-year-old Egyptian mummies, painted mummy cases, figures of deities and grave goods such as magical scarabs, papyri inscribed with ritual spells and jewellery. All these items ensured that the deceased would enjoy a pleasant, eternal life in the hereafter. For children (8-12) there is a special fun trail with Dummie the Mummie, from the books by Tosca Menten (in Dutch).

In the exhibition ‘Cutting-edge History’ more than 150 exceptional swords will play starring roles in a narrative that encompasses the history of swords and their ritual and symbolic significance, from prehistoric times through the twentieth century.

On display will be ceremonial swords, cutting swords and thrusting swords from all parts of the world, from the museum’s own holdings and loaned by other collections at home and abroad. Among the highlights are the Dutch sword of state, which, together with the rest of the Dutch regalia, forms a visible symbol of royal authority, ‘magical’ bronze swords from prehistoric times and Viking swords from the environs of Dorestad, bearing the name of their smith.

PERSFOTO_RMO_Tentoonstelling_Romeinse_kust_2 - Copy

‘Roman Coast’ is a walk along the Dutch coast during the Roman period, around 200 AD, and an encounter with the Romans and native people who lived there.

Archaeological finds such as weapons, ceramic utensils, jewellery, figurines of deities and altars from three coastal provinces, plus reconstructions of Roman ships and forts, illustrate the themes of trade and shipping, religion and domestic life, and the military defence of the coast and the frontier of the Roman Empire.

After Leiden the exhibition will travel on to a number of venues, including Huis van Hilde in Castricum and Muzee Scheveningen in The Hague.

Artist Teun van Staveren drew inspiration from the monumental Roman ruins of the city of Baalbek in the interior of Lebanon. Van Staveren’s training as an architect is evident in his paintings’ focus on the ancient buildings’ unprecedented dimensions and his eye for sophisticated architectural details. In the exhibition ‘Admiring Baalbek’ he presents twenty of his most impressive Baalbek works.

Three of the four spring exhibitions are housed in the exhibition area on the first floor which has been entirely remodelled. This now provides space for temporary exhibitions that would have been too large for the old galleries to accommodate.

The Rijksmuseum van Oudheden is implementing a phased plan to update all its displays. This is scheduled for completion in time for the museum’s 200th anniversary in 2018. In 2013-2015 the ancient Near East and Classical World galleries were renovated.

The Egyptian department is currently undergoing a thorough refurbishment and will reopen in November 2016. The last display to be remodelled, in 2017, will be the presentation on the Netherlands in the Roman period.

The galleries’ new configuration has been partly financed by the museum’s annual grant from the BankGiro Loterij.


  • ‘Egypte. Land of immortality                             1 April to 2 October 2016
  • ‘Cutting-edge history’                                          1 April to 2 October 2016
  • ‘Roman Coast’                                                       1 April to 25 September 2016
  • ‘Admiring Baalbek’                                              1 April to 25 September 2016


Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Rapenburg 28, Leiden,,



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