Department closed until mid-December 2015
As of 16 March 2015, the Greek department will be closed to the public until mid-December 2015 because of renovation of the rooms.
The culture of the ancient Greeks remains a rich source of inspiration for contemporary art and science. It is also still a part of our daily lives; the Olympic Games, democracy, libraries, hospitals, schools, and theatres all began in Greece, some 2,500 years ago.
Myths and gods
In the Greek galleries, you will learn about the famous tales of Greek mythology and the many peoples of ancient Greece. Although they waged war on each other, they came together as one nation during the world-renowned Olympic Games. Mythical gods and heroes are still at large throughout the Western world, where football clubs are called Ajax and Hercules, our feet have Achilles tendons, and the streets are filled with people in Nike sports shoes.
Dionysus, god of wine
These two likenesses of Dionysus, god of wine, are among the highlights of the museum's collection. The first depicts a tipsy Greek god propped up by a satyr. The second is in a completely different style and shows the head of Dionysus wearing an expression of ecstasy. This magnificent piece of Greek pottery was used to serve wine. In a reconstruction of a potter's studio, you can see what types of ceramics the Greeks produced.
Black-figure and red-figure vases
The vases of ancient Greece are world-famous. The best-known styles are black-figure and red-figure painting, which involved a rather complex firing process. You'll find many impressive examples in the Greek galleries, such as a black-figure amphora from 530 BC, which was presented to the winners of the Panathenaic festival, an athletic competition like the Olympic Games. Amphorae like this one were used for olive oil. One especially fine red-figure amphora is the Stadholder's Vase, so called because it once belonged to the Dutch Stadholder William IV. It is decorated with a scene from the Trojan War involving Achilles, Memnon, and the god Hermes.
Armour, funerary reliefs, and a deformed face
The Greek galleries also hold many other attractive and interesting objects, such as an eye-catching cuirass. This impressive piece of plate armour was made for a horseman in the fourth-century BC. In that same period, members of the prosperous Greek elite commissioned monumental funerary reliefs. One of the finest is the sculpted monument of Archestrate, a woman of wealth and distinction. You will also see an unusual sculpture of what appears to be a deformed head. This may represent a muscular disease, or perhaps the face of an actor in a comedy.
Reserve a tour online
You can reserve a tour of the Greek galleries (for up to 25 people) online or by calling +31 (0)71 516 3163.
Arrange a group visit online
You can arrange a group visit to the Greek galleries (for at least ten people, excluding visitors with a Museumkaart) online or by calling +31 (0)71 516 3163.