Rijks Conserven, the concept


When you think of the Rijksmuseum, you think of 17th century Holland. And there’s a good reason for this: the museum houses the largest collection of -major art from the glory of the Golden Age. It was the period in which the Republic of the United -Netherlands – commonly known as the Dutch Republic –  reached its peak in terms of trade, science and art. It was the time of Rembrandt, of the Dutch East -India Company; an -exciting time of innovation, wealth and new scents and tastes. The beautiful collection of the -Rijksmuseum reflects this era. This makes the -Rijksmuseum more than ‘just’ a building to keep and preserve art, but a valuable centre of Dutch history that is brought to life.

Still life
Rijks Conserven derives its inspiration from the Dutch still lifes of the 17th century that bring all the elements of the glorious Golden Age together. The Dutch painters of the time showed their knowledge and skills in still lifes. Their talent can be seen in the details, in the portrayal of textures and in the realistic light effects. At the same time, their works show the wealth of the Dutch and the fruit of their distant travels: silver cutlery; fine linens; exotic fruit and luxury spices. These are the showpieces that symbolise an important part of our history.

The still lifes of the 17th century are often vanitas paintings – paintings in which we are reminded of the transience of our earthly existence. The Rijksmuseum does everything it can to maintain and preserve these works that remind the viewer to think about eternal life. Rijks Conserven’s desire for preservation is in its – Dutch – name. It creates preserves (conserven) that are specially designed to last. They do not require refrigeration and they have a long shelf-life.


Rijks Conserven brings together history, art and people in a simple but innovative way. It translates the special -flavours of the past to the here and now. It takes a painting depicting a crab with olives and turns these ingre-dients into a crab spread made with olive oil. An image of a pig’s head becomes a cured sausage -imbued with the predominant Dutch East India -flavours of mace and -nutmeg. -Exotic fruit is turned into syrup again reminiscent of Dutch East India flavours, this time cloves and cinnamon. And what was then strawberry pottage is now strawberry jam with spicy korenwijn (distilled grain wine) and star anise flavoured curd. Every quality conserve we make has the authentic flavours of the Golden Age.



Rijks Conserven’s products clearly show their sources of inspiration. Each label bears the masterpiece from the Rijksmuseum and the first name of the artist. This makes the food experience even more personal – it is tasting the flavours of the artist’s palette. To enhance the sense of being in the painting, Rijks Conserven is photographed as one of the ingredients of the original painting. It is placed in the composition, using the same colour palette and light. At a glance it looks as if Rijks Conserven is part of the original painting. But those who look more closely will see that Rijks -Conserven is paying homage to the 17th century -masterpieces.

More Rijks Conserven
We will start with five Rijks Conserven products, but have plans to extend the line. For inspiration all we need to do is to look at paintings such as:

Still Life with a Hare and a black Rooster,
Cornelis Lelienbergh, 1659

Rijks Conserven: Cornelis’ Hazenpaté (hare paté)

Still Life with Roemer, Flute Glass, Earthenware Jug
and Pipes,
Jan Jansz. van de Velde (III), 1651

Rijks Conserven: Jans gerookte oesters -aangemaakt met citroen en olijfolie (smoked oysters with a hint of lemon and olive oil)

New Rijks Conserven products can be developed together with the chefs of Rijks® restaurant – Joris Bijdendijk, Jos Timmer and Wim de Beer. The Rijks’® international guest chefs can also create special Rijks Conserven products. -Visitors will return to the Rijksmuseum time and time again to taste the special flavours of the past.

© Rijks Conserven, Birgitta van Langeveld, Alexandra Schijf, Simone van den Berg, Fenneke van der Aa – All rights reserved



Birgitta van Langeveld is the creative director of Spoon of Art. She is a gifted conceptual thinker and has a keen eye for the art of the preparation and presentation of food.

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