The Academy’s history has been tied up with the Trippenhuis Building in Amsterdam since its beginnings as the “Royal Institute”. In its early years, the Institute did not have its own building and members gathered at different locations in the city. The annual general meeting was held in the left half of the Trippenhuis Building, located along a canal in Kloveniersburgwal.
The left side of this double property was owned by Cornelis Roos, an art collector, poet, and member of the fourth “category” of the Academy. He had purchased the house from the Trip family in 1797.
A mighty hall of arts and sciences
Louis Napoleon wanted to house all the institutes and museums that he had founded in a single building – a mighty “Hall of Arts and Sciences”. Unfortunately, the political tide turned against him. Napoleon Bonaparte recalled his brother and made the Netherlands part of France.
By then, the members of the Institute had taken note of the right side of the Trippenhuis Building, which stood empty. Thanks to Amsterdam’s maire, who intervened on their behalf, the members were able to rent the right side from the City of Amsterdam. Starting on 25 May 1812, the four categories of members assembled at the new location in Kloveniersburgwal.
The members were duly impressed by their new accommodation. “The Institute is now housed in a building suitable for all its functions, whose stateliness is fit for an assembly convened by the Emperor, and whose lustre is precisely what it should be for the Third City of the Empire.”
Cornelis Roos had by then sold the left side of the property to the state. In 1814, it was transformed into the National Museum and Rembrandt’s The Night Watch was moved there. Whenever the learned society met, the doors of the museum remained closed.