Boasting a collection of 1.3 million specimens worth approximately 8 billion euros, the world-famous Amsterdam Rijksmuseum is the Netherlands’ largest and most important museum. Paintings by 17th century Dutch masters, of which The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn is the most famous, account for a large portion of the museum’s collection.
“We increasingly view the Internet and multimedia as an integral part of the museum,” says Rob Hendriks, Head of ICT at the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum. “This requires excellent website speed and uptime for all Internet visitors worldwide. The underlying Internet infrastructure also had to support multimedia applications. Our analyses showed that LeaseWeb had the best offer.”
LeaseWeb came into the picture after less favorable experiences with a previous hosting provider. Hendriks: “Our technical Internet partner, Q42, who handles the CMS for the Rijksmuseum, recommended LeaseWeb. Q42 has several clients who are very satisfied with LeaseWeb.”
LeaseWeb signed a contract with the Rijksmuseum for delivery of a dedicated hosting solution with leading-brand server and network equipment, including load-balancing and firewalls, which uses LeaseWeb’s international hosting network. LeaseWeb also provided the design for the hosting infrastructure. Under the contract, LeaseWeb engineers will provide 24×7 knowledge-intensive support.
The Rijksmuseum selected LeaseWeb in part due to its extensive hosting network with ample bandwidth (>500 Gbps). Hendriks: “We already have high-quality images of many well-known works of art on our website, which allows viewers to zoom in for a very close look. In addition, we have plans to add moving images to our site. The size of LeaseWeb’s network will therefore be very useful in the future. They have ample bandwidth available and LeaseWeb offers quick bandwidth scalability.”
The security of the hosting network was another requirement specified by the Rijksmuseum. Hendriks: “We are world-famous, which is good, but which has also made our website the target of numerous attacks by spammers and hackers. “Security is therefore important to us. We don’t want anything to happen to the site or to have the site shut down due to a DDoS attack, for example. LeaseWeb provides excellent network security.”
Paintings by 17th century Dutch masters, of which The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn is the most famous, account for a large portion of the museum’s broad collection, which also includes antique furniture, jewelry, textiles, porcelain, and photo collections.
The Rijksmuseum uses the Internet as an important tool in its strategy to attract visitors to the museum in Amsterdam. “Many objects have been digitized and can be viewed in high resolution on the website,” says Hendriks. “The greater the quality of the image on the site, the greater the chance that the viewer will actually come to Amsterdam. That’s the idea. When it comes to art, people eventually want to see the real thing.”
“The Rijksmuseum’s website is quite sophisticated and is still being developed further. In the near future, we expect to have a My Rijksmuseum section on the website that will allow visitors to put together their own collection, to create their own tour of the museum, and to subsequently take those tours using an iPod Touch.”