The layers of time shimmer through one another in the ensemble of buildings in which the Amsterdam Museum is housed. The history of both the ensemble and surrounding urban fabric form the design basis for the renovation of the Amsterdam Museum into a contemporary city museum. The forecourts on the St. Luciensteeg and the Kalverstraat together with the former Begijnen canal shape the entrance to the museum complex from the city. In the same manner as the existing gateways, a new gateway at the top of the Begijnen canal marks the transition between the busy streets surrounding the museum and the quiet inner courtyards within. The courtyards are restored to their former function as the central space of the ensemble. The various programs of the Amsterdam Museum such as exhibition spaces, education rooms, shops and catering establishments are directly accessed via their own front door on the courtyards. The reception area for the museum's large permanent exhibition is located along the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal and gives the museum a public face to this traditionally closed side of the ensemble.