I just finished a marvelous tour of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam with our tour group and am inspired by the local art-historian guide we enjoyed.
During the Dutch Golden Age (the 1600s), with their trading ships roaming the globe and their leading city the pinnacle of European civilization, the Dutch produced some of the greatest art ever. No longer the "Spanish Netherlands" ruled by the Habsburg king and obedient to the pope, the Dutch were a Protestant republic -- fiercely independent and proud. Great news -- but it left their artists without the support of the usual big patrons (nobles, kings, and the Catholic Church). As you'll see here, they did just fine.
Enjoy this three-minute blitz of the core of one of Europe's greatest collections of art: Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum. Hold on to your cheese!
(This post originally appeared at blog.ricksteves.com/blog/rijksmuseum.)