A flashing neon sign hangs over the grand entrance to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Art Is Therapy, it reads, mirroring the cover of Alain de Botton’s recent book Art as Therapy, written with the philosopher and art historian John Armstrong.

The Rijksmuseum reopened last year after major reorganisation and restoration, to almost universal acclaim. It had more than 3 million visitors in 2013. They thought they had a museum; what they have is a crammed-to-the-gills tourist attraction. It’s the Tate Modern effect.

Perhaps troubled that 3 million visitors was not quite enough, Rijksmuseum director Wim Pijbes invited De Botton and Armstrong to make an “intervention”. The authors have filled the place with loud, intrusive labels – giant Post-it notes that often dwarf the exhibits – along with a number of thematic displays.