Author E.L. Konigsburg’s 1967 children’s novel From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler has inspired generations of art lovers with the ultimate fantasy: a night spent in a museum alone, tucked in next to the world’s greatest treasures. Now, one man can honestly tell you what that feels like. As the Rijksmuseum’s 10-millionth visitor, Stefan Kasper was surprised with a chance to spend the night inside the world famous art institution, fine dining next to Frans Hals with room service whipped up by Michelin star chef Joris Bijdendijk, wandering the museum at his leisure unencumbered by crowds and sleeping beneath Rembrandt’s masterpiece The Night Watch.
‘We are delighted that such large numbers of people have visited the Rijksmuseum over the last four years, and we look forward to giving a warm welcome to the visitors who will come to enjoy themselves in years to come,” said Rijksmuseum director Taco Dibbits in a statement. “There’s always something new to see and experience in this large and spacious building, with plenty of places to wander around to your heart’s content.”
And that’s exactly what Kasper does in a short video released by the museum on his big night—which I challenge you to watch without shedding a happy tear. (I cried, you probably will too.) After Kasper’s winning ticket #10,000,000 was scanned, he was led into the museum to applause and given a royal welcome by museum staff. A bed was set up for him to sleep directly underneath Rembrandt’s giant painting, which is arguably the crowning jewel of the museum’s collection and one of its biggest tourist draws.
“What a surprise!,” said Kasper. “Tonight, I will dream of the Night Watch.”
In the short video, Kasper shuffles around the galleries in his socks, stepping carefully behind the ropes for a closer look at the museum’s centuries-old paintings. He takes selfies with the art, and calls family with glee asking them to guess where he’s spending the night. “I feel like a child in a candy store…It’s once in a lifetime,” he says.
Kasper is the first person ever to spend the night at the Rijksmuseum. I want to be Stefan Kasper. Can the museum do this again—for maybe it’s 10-millionth-and-35th ticket?