Infrared Light


Shining new light on old masters

The world famous Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam re-opened on April 13th, offering the public access to some of the world’s most famous paintings including Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. The €375 million renovation project, which took ten years to complete, includes the world’s most advanced LED lighting system in a museum. Created by Philips, the system was designed to closely mimic the colour rendition of natural daylight, allowing visitors to see details of masterpieces that were previously not visible.

Using 750,000 LEDs and lighting over 7,500 artefacts across 9,500m2 of gallery space, Philips worked closely with the museum staff, the museum’s architects Wilmotte & Associés and Cruz y Ortiz to create a modern solution to the challenge of museum lighting: how to present the works of art in the best light possible whilst conserving and protecting them for future generations.

The result uses the latest LED technology from Philips to offer an overall effect similar to natural daylight. Moving away from the heavy amber tint that is characteristic of conventional museum lighting, Philips has used light with a neutral white tone that offers a greater range of colour visibility, giving an effect that is similar to viewing the painting in ‘high definition’. It meets international standards for art conservation and also emits no ultraviolet light and hardly any infrared light.

“We are very proud of working with the Rijksmuseum on this innovative and monumental renovation,” said Rogier van der Heide, Chief Design Officer and Vice President at Philips Lighting. “The lighting solution is the result of a unique collaborative effort with the Rijksmuseum and the architects, using Philips’ knowledge of the art and science of illumination to achieve a quality of light that truly brings out the detail of each masterpiece.”

World’s most advanced lighting solution in a museum of fine art

The new LED lighting illuminates artworks that date back to the Middle Ages. In total, the lighting illuminates 7,500 artworks spanning several centuries. Philips’ lighting solution consists of ¾ of a million LEDs, including 3,800 LED spots, more than 1.8 kilometers of LED lighting the ceiling and an advanced LED lighting control system via a mobile application for museum employees to use.

Philips’ LEDs light the museums public spaces including the shop, the atriums and the restaurant, as well as the outdoor area and building façade. Philips worked with the Rijksgebouwendienst (the Government Buildings Agency part of the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations, the owner of the building) to realize plans for the outdoor lighting.

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