In 1863 there was a design contest for a new building for the Rijksmuseum, but none of the submissions was considered to be of sufficient quality. Pierre Cuypers also participated in the contest and his submission reached the second place. In 1876 a new contest was held and this time Pierre Cuypers won. The design was a combination of gothic and renaissance elements. The construction began on October 1, 1876. On both the inside and the outside, the building was richly decorated with references to Dutch art history. Another contest was held for these decorations. The winners were B. van Hove and J.F. Vermeylen for the sculpture, G. Sturm for the tile tableaux and paintings and W.F. Dixon for the stained glass. The museum was opened at its new location on July 13, 1885.

The front of the museum, as shown here on these aces of Clubs by Frommann & Morian  (Germany, around 1890)  is located at the Stadhouderskade, but on the other side it has a prominent position on the Museumplein (Museum square), nowadays among the Van Gogh Museum, the Municipal Museum , and the Concert Hall.

These aces show a side view on the front of the museum on the Stadhouderkade. The view is taken from the Weteringsschans, on the opposite side of the canal.

Ace by Mesmaekers, Belgium, ca. 1930.

Ace by Speelkaartenfabriek Nederland, ca 1915.

Ace by Rijnen Reclame, Netherlands, 2002

In 1890 a fragment building was added to the Rijksmuseum. This building was made out of fragments of demolished buildings that together give an overview of the Dutch history of architecture. In 1906 the hall for the Night Watch was rebuilt. In the interior more changes were made, between the 1920s and 1950s most multi-coloured wall decorations were painted over. In the 1960s exposition rooms and several floors were built into the two courtyards. The building had some minor renovations and restorations in 1984, 19951996 and 2000. From 2003 until 2010 (or as late as 2013) the Rijksmuseum will be restored and renovated based on a design by Spanish architects Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz. Many of the old interior decorations will be restored and the floors in the courtyards will be removed. During the restoration and renovation process only a few paintings from the permanent collection are on display in an exhibition called The Masterpieces in the already renovated fragment building, nowadays called the Philips wing.

The following aces all show a straight view on the front of the museum, seen from the Weteringsschans, on the opposite side of the canal.

Unknown, probably Dutch maker, ca. 1920. F. Piatnik, Austria, 1930's. Belgian maker, 1960's.

Carta Mundi, Belgium, from 1972 - present day.

German maker, ca. 1925.

La Turnhoutoise, Belgium, 1950's.