Wim Pijbes told Trouw last week that the exhibition may be crowded, but the situation was not nearly as bad as in the Uffizi, the Sixtine Chapel or in front of the Mona Lisa.
He went on to say he had received a letter about the overcrowding. ‘I read it with interest. Then I thought: buy your own Rembrandt then. A museum is not a zone of silence.’
Reactions were sharp. A visitor to the exhibition wrote to the Parool: ‘What a shame success has gone to Pijbes’ head. I would say: buy a museum for yourself.’
Columnist Frits Abrahams complained in the NRC that even as a tall man he could only see the top and side of the paintings.
In a reaction, Pijbes told the NRC that the number of visitors ‘may have reached the limits of a pleasurable visit’. ‘If the crowds lessen people’s pleasure, my 675 colleagues and I find that extremely annoying’.
The Rijksmuseum is now trying to bring the number of visitors down by selling fewer tickets for each time block.
The exhibition, which runs until May 17, has attracted 392,000 visitors so far.