This month, the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden) is going back in time over a thousand years with the exhibition ‘The Year 1000’. Over 400 items from the Netherlands and beyond will be on display.
The major exhibition takes visitors to the imperial residence in Nijmegen, the cathedral of Utrecht, the treasuries of Maastricht, the Rome of a thousand years ago and the wealth of Byzantium. On display are over four hundred archaeological finds, artifacts and manuscripts from the Netherlands and far beyond. A starring role is reserved for the ‘power couple’ Empress Theophanu and her husband Otto II.
In the period 900-1100, a ‘Netherlands’ emerged that is still recognizable today, with dykes around reclaimed land, a fortress after every river bend and church towers on the horizon. The exhibition tells the stories of the people who lived during this era, about their daily lives, their ideas about the world and their expectations of the turn of the millennium.
Almost all important Dutch archaeological finds from the period 900-1100 can be seen in ‘The year 1000’. On display are, among other things, a Viking drinking horn from the Basilica of Our Lady in Maastricht and the famous Egmond Gospels from the KB, National Library of the Netherlands, swords, ship’s timbers, gold jewellery including the recently found treasure find from Hoogwoud, coin hoards, books full of precious stones, the pectoral cross of Saint Servatius, the oldest chess pieces in the Netherlands and a wooden ladder from a well.
Besides Leiden’s own collection, there are numerous loans from the Netherlands and abroad. These include important pieces from international collections such as the Castello Sforzesco (Milan), the National Museum of Finland (Helsinki) and the Landesmuseum Kassel. In addition, there are loans from more than forty Dutch museums, heritage institutions and private collections including the National Numismatic Collection (Amsterdam), Museum Catharijneconvent (Utrecht) and the Fries Museum (Leeuwarden).
The exhibition begins on October 13th and runs until March 17, 2024. Please visit the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden website for more details.
Top Image: Disc fibula with man and corner pearls. Gold and enamel, 1,5 x 1,5 cm, Municipality Hollands Kroon, 900-1000. Private collection, PAN-00080197 © Photo: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden