The New Rijksmuseum

Renovation of the Rijksmuseum, the most popular tourist attraction in Amsterdam, was supposed to take five years, but an endless succession of civic, financial, and aesthetic complications pushed back the reopening another five years, to 2013. This epic documentary (2013) by Oeke Hoogendijk traces the whole agonizing process, and it’s an object lesson in the emotionally fraught politics of modernizing a beloved historic building (a key sticking point was how to reroute the bicycle traffic that had traditionally been allowed through the museum’s giant atrium). No one survives unscathed, but the most pitiable figures here are the world-class architects who designed the elegant new structures and displays, then watched helplessly as their bold work was watered down to mollify angry citizens or imperious administrators. In English and subtitled Dutch.