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Rembrandtplein (Rembrandt Square)

Rembrandtplein: Terraces, Nightlife, and Rembrandt’s Night Watch Statues

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Rembrandtplein (Rembrandt Square), in Amsterdam, after the 2009 renovation. The square features a cast iron sculpture of the painter Rembrandt van Rijn, who used to own a nearby house. 1

This article is slated to be updated. But most visitors come here because they wonder what happened to the set of 22 statues representing Rembrandt’s painting, The Night Watch. The bronze sculptures used to stand at the foot of the cast iron sculpture of the world famous painter.

Cast iron sculpture of Rembrandt van Rijn, and a groups of bronze sculptures representing his painting The Night Watch

The statues were created in 2005 by Russian sculptor Mikhail Dronov and his Russian-Dutch collogue Alexander Taratynov. They did so in honor of Rembrandt’s 400th birthday in 2006.

At various times the Rembrandtplein business association has tried its best to keep the collection of statues on the square. After all, though the popular square has no problem attracting locals and tourists alike, the statues were a significant extra draw.

Here’s what it used to look like:

Rembrandtplein, Amsterdam, when the set of statues representing Rembrandt’s famous painting The Night Watch was still displayed on the square.

Revealed in 1852, Rembrandt’s statue at Rembrandtplein is Amsterdam oldest statue still in existence.

Where are The Night Watch statues?

In the end the business association was unable to reach an agreement with the artists regarding either the rental or purchase of the Night Watch sculptures. The Municipality of Amsterdam says the statues are welcome, but doesn’t want to spend money them.

Initially it was reported that the sculptors wanted to sell their creation for 1.5 million euro. Later a price of 1 million euro was mentioned. Reportedly the business association paid 75.000 euro a year in rental fees.

The statues were removed on February 12, 2020. The sculptors are said to have other plans. But currently it is now known where the statues are.

The cast iron statue of Rembrandt himself remains. Made by Louis Royer, it was revealed in 1852.

Rembrandtplein (Rembrandt Square) as seen on a postcard published in 1958.

Archived article: Rembrandtplein to get a new look

Published January 27, 20009

Work has commended on the redesign of Rembrandtplein, one of Amsterdam’s favorite entertainment spots.

The popular square, named after Holland’s most famous painter, is lined with bars and nightclubs, eateries and small hotels — ranging from high brow to low brow and in places leaning heavily toward the worst end of tacky.

Prime example: the façade of nightclub Escape sports Europe’s largest digital screen, flooding the square with a steady stream of commercials. When its arrival was first announced Stadsdeel Centrum, the borough that oversees downtown Amsterdam, claimed the permit for the screen was handed out ‘by mistake.’

The same borough is now responsible for — in its terms — giving the square an international allure. If you’ve seen the redesigned Dam square, also located within the boundaries of the central city borough, you may be forgiven a certain measure of scepticism. However, the artist’s conception of the new Rembrandtplein does look quite nice.

The purpose of the make-over is to make the square — which aside from being a center of nightlife provides an important link between the heart of Amsterdam and the rapidly developing oastern part of the city — safer, cleaner, and more beautiful.

To this end, the bushes and fences will disappear — as will the group of 22 life-size bronze statues depicting Rembrandt’s painting, The Night Watch.

The statue of Rembrandt, the oldest statue in Amsterdam, will get a more prominent position near the center of the square.

The statue was placed in 1852 when the square was still called Reguliersmarkt (Regulators’ market — after the then nearby Regulators’ convent).

In 1876 the square was renamed in honor of the painter. Before then it was known as Reguliersmarkt, and was the scene of the city’s butter market.

The €3.5 million make-over project is scheduled for completion by December, 2009.


  1. Photo by Minke Wagenaar, used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Photo edited by DutchAmsterdam

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