Rijksmuseum reopening delayed until 2013

Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, closed in 2003 for a major overhaul, will not reopen until at least 2013 – three years later than planned, culture minister Ronald Plasterk told MPs on Tuesday.

The delay is due to failure to reach an agreement on the price of renovating the main building with BAM, the only company to tender for the project.
The minister told MPs that work would not resume until next year at the earliest as a new European tender process now had to be resubmitted.
The renovation of the city’s most prestigious museum has been beset by problems: there have been disputes over permits, overall control of the project, whether or not to keep the cycling path under the building and where to place the new entrances.
Construction firm BAM originally put in a tender of €222m to complete the main work. The ministry wants to cap the cost at €134m – an amount calculated by an independent advisory bureau. Work on the project has been on hold since last summer.
BAM, which has already completed the new studios and cellar, denies ministry suggestions that it is asking for too much money. ‘We have had 45 people working on this for almost three and a half months,’ spokesman Arno Pronk told the Volkskrant.

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