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Rijksmuseum airport pod has busy 1st year

Feb. 18, 2004 at 12:25 PM

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Amsterdam's famed Rikjsmuseum says its airport branch opened last year had 130,000 visitors, ranking it among the country's top 10 museums.

The Schiphol airport gallery is located in a pod raised above the shops in the departure area. One of the reasons given for its popularity is the closure of the main part of the Rijksmuseum building in downtown Amsterdam for major renovations that will not be completed until 2008.

The airport gallery exhibits a selection of Golden Age Dutch master, including Rembrandt van Rijn and Jan Steen, along with changing shows, currently "Van Gogh and the Modern Masters." It also has a gift shop featuring reproductions of famous Dutch paintings, with paintings of Jan Vermeer the most popular item.

The museum said the shop has not done as well as expected, resulting in a small loss in its first year. This was blamed on reduced tourism due to international terrorism, the Iraq War, and the SARS epidemic.

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