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Crown Prince Willem Alexander of The Netherlands, Cathelijne Broers and Mikhail Piotrovsky attend opening of the Tsar Peter exhibition at Hermitage on March 8, 2013 in Amsterdam. Photo by Michel Porro

Crown Prince Willem Alexander of The Netherlands, Cathelijne Broers and Mikhail Piotrovsky attend opening of the Tsar Peter exhibition at Hermitage on March 8, 2013 in Amsterdam. Photo by Michel Porro

Peter the Great, an Inspired Tsar (9 March – 13 September 2013)

The central theme for the year 2013 will be the special relationship between Russia, the Netherlands and Amsterdam. The two countries have been major trading partners since the Golden Age, and Amsterdam’s canal ring inspired Peter the Great’s to found the city of St Petersburg. In the centuries that followed, this relationship grew stronger. In 1813, when Napoleon was defeated, Russian Cossacks advanced as far as the gates of Amsterdam, and a Dutch king married the sister of the tsar. The year 2009 saw a crowning moment in relations between the Netherlands and Russia: the opening of the Hermitage Amsterdam, the only European satellite of the famous St Petersburg museum. The Hermitage Amsterdam will kick off the anniversary year of 2013 with a major exhibition about Peter the Great, the tsar who brought Russia into the modern age.

Photo by Michel Porro

Photo by Michel Porro

Early in 2013, a year of celebration in Dutch-Russian relations, the Hermitage Amsterdam will present a major exhibition devoted to Peter the Great (1672–1725), the modernizer of Russia. The exhibition will paint a picture of this unconventional, inspired and inquisitive Russian tsar, who by the time he took power at the age of 17 was determined to transform his country. His achievements include reforming the military and the church, expanding trade and industry, and improving education and public health. He turned Russia into a great European power with a brand-new capital city: St Petersburg, his “window on the West.” With historical artefacts, paintings, gold jewellery from the ancient world, weapons and unique documents, the exhibition will sketch the life of this peerless ruler.