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The formal opening of the Hermitage • Amsterdam Centre

19 June Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Dmitry Medvedev, President of Russia, opened a new exhibition complex in the capital of the Netherlands - the Hermitage • Amsterdam centre. The opening ceremony was attended by His Royal Highness Willem-Alexander, Prince of the Netherlands, and his wife Her Royal Highness Princess Maxima. Among the guests there were Ronald Plasterk, Minister of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands, Alexandr Avdeev, Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation, Valentina Matvienko, Governor of St Petersburg, and other officials representing the Dutch and the Russian side.

The honorable guests were met at the entrance of the museum by the Director of the State Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky and the director of the Hermitage • Amsterdam centre Ernst Veen.

The new centre opened its work with a grandiose exhibition entitled Russian Imperial Court, presenting more than 2000 exhibits from the collection of the Hermitage in the Amstelhof building.

The members of the royal family of the Netherlands and the Russian presidential couple got acquainted with a larger part of the exhibition. The guests paid special attention to the portrait of the Emperor Nicholas II by Ilya Repin, the tsar throne, and costumes, including ball dresses and casual dresses of ladies, uniforms etc.

In connection with the opening of the centre the Russian delegation presented the Dutch side copies of the originals of unique historical documents from the Archive of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire. Among them there was a letter of consent written by the Empress Maria Fedorovna concerning the marriage of Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna with William of Orange, Crown Prince of the Netherlands, dated February 12, 1816.

The opening of the centre has become one of the most significant cultural events in the Netherlands in the recent time.

According to Mikhail Piotrovsky, "The exhibition is absolutely unique; however, the event itself is also unique. It is for the first time in the world that a large world museum establishes its exhibition centre in another world cultural centre, namely in Amsterdam. It is a part of the global strategy of the Hermitage to make our collections available in the world. We are organizing different centres. This centre is the largest."

Job Cohen, Mayor of Amsterdam, believes that the Hermitage • Amsterdam centre will have 'great attraction strength' for the tourists and the people of the city.

Ernst Veen told about the fact that the corporate sponsors that had invested much means in order to transform the former Nursing-home to a modern exhibition centre committed themselves to cover half of the operating expenses during the next five years.

After the opening of the exhibition the honorable guests of the centre, Queen Beatrix, Prince Willem-Alexander, Princess Maxima, President Dmitry Medvedev and his wife Svetlana went to the bank of the River Amstel, where they, together with the people of Amsterdam took part in a festive celebration devoted to this occasion. On the stage arranged on the bank of the river there were fireworks and performances. The musical programme included The Dutch Royal Military Band, the Admiralty Orchestra of St Petersburg, dancers of the National Ballet of the Netherlands.

The new Hermitage • Amsterdam exhibition centre opened for the public June 20, at 10.00. The people of Amsterdam, who gathered around the Amstelhof building in the morning, were waiting impatiently for the opening time, looking at the electronic clock and counting loud the remaining seconds. The first ticket to the exhibition was bought by the Director of the State Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky.



Guests at the exhibition
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Items of the exhibition
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The guests paid special attention to the collection of costumes
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A festive performance organized for the opening of the Hermitage • Amsterdam centre
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The Admiralty Orchestra of St Petersburg
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Fireworks on the river Amstel devoted to the opening of the Hermitage • Amsterdam centre
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