School teacher Stefan Kasper was just one of thousands of people to buy his ticket to visit the Rijksmuseum on Thursday. Kasper was leading a group of his high school students from the Montessori College in Aerdenhout on a field trip to the museum when his ticket was scanned and museum staff descended upon him with celebratory enthusiasm. It turns out Kasper was the 10 millionth visitor since the Rijksmuseum’s grand reopening four years ago, as such he was granted the unique opportunity to sleep securely under the supervision of Frans Banninck Cocq, Willem van Ruytenburch, the girl with the chickens and the rest of the motley crew from Rembrandt’s masterpiece The Night Watch.
This is the first time anyone has been allowed to spend the night in the Rijksmuseum, and Stefan Kasper, still in something of a daze from being suddenly surrounded by the museum’s General Director and a camera crew, accepted the offer on the spot. His bed was already set up in the Night Watch gallery and a gourmet dinner would be provided by chef Joris Bijdendijk of the Rijksmuseum’s Michelin star-awarded in-house restaurant, RIJKS.
It was a revelatory experience for Kasper.
“I’ve slept two metres (6.5 feet) from the Night Watch. It’s magic, I still can’t believe it,” said Stefan Kasper on Friday, a Dutch school teacher and artist who bought the lucky ticket. […]
The star-struck Kaspers told AFP he was completely left alone for the night and that the museum rolled out the red carpet for him.
“There were no guards, or they were very well hidden,” he added.
Kasper said he used the opportunity to “take some selfies and walk around in pants and socks in completely empty rooms,” before enjoying a gazpacho soup and a cheek of beef, prepared by top chef Joris Bijdendijk of the Michelin-star RIJKS restaurant.
Kasper — who said he was not in particular a fan of Rembrandt’s works — admitted he had looked at the painting “with new eyes.”
“I discovered characters that I have never seen before. They came to life in front of me. It’s an experience that is forever etched in my memory,” he said.
His opinions on Rembrandt aside, he had the good judgement to use the opportunity to slide in his besocked feet on the beautifully renovated floors of the museum (albeit with his trousers still on and no Old Time Rock and Roll playing in the background). He even got to cross the impassable boundary of the velvet rope to get up close to the art. You can see him enjoy his Night at the Rijksmuseum to the fullest in this video.