Rijksmuseum Amsterdam’s multimedia family quest
Both of them wearing headphones, my five- and eight-year old actually run up the stairs. Following the instructions on their tablet, they turn the corner and rush into the next room. Past the knights’ armours, past the models of war ships, we come to a halt next to a display of watches. It’s time for our next reward: a new character, all combined, you form a word with at the end. But first we have to work together. Do all four of us complete the assignment on our own screen? Yes! Next step, finish the group assignment by discovering the secret code in the sounds of this watch. We did it. Our reward appears on our screens. And we’re off again. This is my review of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam’s multimedia family quest. If you are planning a visit with your family, I absolutely recommend you use the Rijksmuseum’s app.
During our first visit to the Rijksmuseum after its reopening in 2013, we took the kids to see a few highlights. So they’d already seen the Nightwatch by Rembrandt, the Milkmaid by Vermeer and the fabulous hologram in the ships models collection. Both of them remembered the staircases and how much larger the Nightwatch is than they expected. Plus, wasn’t there this playground on the Museum square?
Playing the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam’s multimedia family quest asks for some preparation before you leave home. All family members use their own device, either a smartphone or a tablet. Players should be able to read fairly well, since you read the assignments off the screen. Our five-year old is a starting reader, she had her own tablet. The assignments on her screen we did together. Our kids had a great time just following the route the device tells you to go to the right location for the next assignment. I would say from aged four and up, your child will do well with a device on her/his own. With some help doing the assignments. If you share a device, please use ear plugs so can share them when there’s a story or explanation being told.
Multimedia family quest app
You start off the multimedia family quest by all opening the app on your device. The oldest one in the group receives a code on the screen, that should be accessed by the others. Now, you’re in the same group and the games can begin. The family quest is well-made and has these little jokes. At the start, for example each family member has to take a picture of another group member, which later in the game will be used. Great fun for both children and adults. What I like about it the most – as an adult – that it shows you the well-known highlights as paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer, but also guides you to lesser known artifacts such as smart watches avant la lettre, clever daggers, model ships and so much more.
The tour took us just under an hour, but never in that time our children were bored. For one, they loved having their own device. We had to follow the group’s pace, because you can only the start the next assignment if all group members are at the right place at the display. But each family member can listen to the explanations and read the walking directions and assignments in their own pace and time. Clever, especially for families with large age difference between children. The ones who read or walk faster than others feel they can go ahead and don’t have to wait for the rest.
Complete the eight assignments
There are eight assignments in the Rijksmuseum family quest. It’s a cleverly made scavenger hunt. Some assignments you can complete on your own. Each group member gets a different task. So looking at Rembrandt’s Nightwatch all four of us got a different riddle to solve. If all of the group members get their answer right, you receive a new character(no writing down needed). At the end of the family quest, you have to solve the riddle using these eight characters.
The family quest was an absolute hit with our two children. They loved every part of it: their autonomy of having your own device, the scavenger hunt looking for clues, following the directions through stair cases and so many parts of the museum and solving the riddles and assignments. The tour is not too long, not too short. It’s clever, not too difficult and not too easy. Actually, it’s perfect fun for families. Well done, Rijksmuseum.
I might have to add that, our native language being Dutch, our kids are not used to having their own device in foreign museums. We never take family tours or multimedia devices abroad, since our kids are too young to understand the explanation in another language. If your native language is English, Spanish or another more popular language, your offspring is probably more used to this. But still, this tour is a great way to visit the highlights of the Rijksmuseum. After you finished the quest, you can choose to go back and visit your kid’s personal favorites again or end your visit.
Children can access the Rijksmuseum for free, up until the age of 18. Admission for adults is € 17,50. You pay a surcharge for some exhibitions, so better check online first before you go. This is a good idea anyway, for buying a ticket online saves you from standing in line on busy days. Visitors who already bought a ticket can enter the museum via a separate entrance. More information on prices and tickets is available on the Rijksmuseum website.
The Rijksmuseum app including the multimedia family quest and more guided tours is available for free in both the iTunes app store and Google Play. We played the game in our native language Dutch, but the app includes many other languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Japanese, Russian and Mandarin. If you didn’t bring a device for all you, you can rent one at the multimedia desk for € 5,- per device plus headphones.