Amsterdam is a city full of culture and will make any art loving heart beat just a bit faster. From world renowned museums like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House to small independent niche museums. Bags, photography, sex and football, with over 75 locations the city has something to offer for everyone. We have listed the 10 best museums in Amsterdam for you, so its a little easier to choose.
Obviously you have the ‘big three’ that we start our list off with, but don’t forget to check out our other favorites in the city.
When you visit Amsterdam, this is the museum you don’t want to miss. The Rijksmuseum is one of Amsterdam’s grandest and most popular museums. Its vast collection showcases iconic art and a wide variety of artefacts that reflect more than 800 years of Dutch and global history. You can see jaw dropping paintings by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Hals and countless more Dutch greats. As well as being a national treasure in its own right, the Rijksmuseum’s internationally revered collection features some of the most famous national treasures in the Netherlands. The most famous of all is Rembrandt’s Night Watch.
Tickets and tours
The Rijksmuseum can be very crowded. Especially during the holidays. That’s why we recommend you to buy your tickets in advance. You can skip the line which will be a nice start of your day at the museum. It’s also very interesting to book an audio tour. This way you will be guided through the museum in your own time. You will get to see the most important pieces of art so you don’t have to worry about missing things. It is also a very convenient way to get information about the museum and its art.
If you have a smartphone, you can download the Rijksmuseum app for free and use it for a tour through the museum. The Rembrandt multimedia tour is quite amazing. You will learn everything about the life and the artworks of Rembrandt. There are thirteen more tours in the app. They all have an automatic wayfinding feature. Using the map and the directions there is absolutely no way you will get lost in this huge museum. The app is available in Dutch, German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Mandarin. Download it before your visit and you will have the whole Rijksmuseum in your pocket!
If you’re a lover of art, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam is a must see. It is the biggest museum of modern and contemporary art and design in the Netherlands. Come and see iconic works by Appel, Chagall, Dumas, De Kooning, Koons, Malevich, Matisse, Mondriaan, Picasso, Rietveld, Warhol and many others.
The Stedelijk Museum is the place where everyone can discover and experience modern art and contemporary visual art and design. It’s the goal of the museum to create interaction between art and audience and to inspire. The museum doesn’t shy away from complex issues and social issues. It wants to give an insight in today’s world reflecting on those issues.
Tickets and guided tours
Since the museum can be quite crowded it’s best to buy your tickets online to avoid long lines. It’s very nice to take part in a guided tour. This way you will get to know everything about the collections and the artworks. It’s also possible to book a tour for people with dementia. This is a wonderful afternoon for them and their family. The artworks comes to life through stories, memories and associations. It’s a tour to discover pieces of art and to talk about it with each other. The tour guide will stimulate the discussion with questions and creative assignments.
The Van Gogh Museum is one of the most popular museums in the world. That’s not unexpected since it houses the largest collection of pieces by Vincent van Gogh in the world. Van Gogh’s work heavily influenced 20th century art to make him one of the most famous artists from The Netherlands. In total, the permanent collection of the museum includes 200 paintings, 500 drawings and more than 700 letters, plus his collection of Japanese prints.
A unique experience
Visiting the Van Gogh Museum truly is a unique experience. You can see the well-known paintings like the Sunflowers, Almond Blossom, and The Potato Eaters. The museum focuses on the complete story. It shows all about the artist, the context, his emotions and his ambitions. This way you can discover Van Gogh’s development during his life. In addition to the works of Van Gogh the museum has a rich and varied collection of his contemporaries. This is a nice way to compare Van Gogh’s works to the works of other artists.
Be an artist yourself
It’s possible to do guided tours, but you can also discover the museum by yourself. What’s really interesting is that you can participate in workshops. You will make your own masterpiece inspired by Van Gogh or another artist from the exhibition. There are even special workshops for kids. This is a great way for them to get acquainted to art, painting and, of course, Van Gogh.
The Jewish Historical Museum is a must visit when you are in Amsterdam. It tells the story of Jewish religion, culture and history in The Netherlands and its former colonies. It holds a collection of over 13,000 artworks and historical objects like photos, pictures, utensils, audio and video material, and 3D presentations. There are several expositions each year on contemporary Judaism. There are always two temporary expositions and they are very varied, since the museum only shows five percent of its collection at a time. This museum provides a unique picture of the Dutch Jewish life of the past and the present.
The history of the museum
The museum was founded in 1930 with the goal to collect and display items that painted a picture of the live of the Jewish people in The Netherlands. During World War II the museum was closed and many items were confiscated. After the war only a small part of those items were returned. The museum reopened in 1955. After the war the emphasis was on the history of the Jewish culture of the Dutch Jews. World War II is a large part of the museum, since it is a large part of Jewish history.
Visiting the museum with kids
In a playful way kids can get to know the Jewish culture in the Children’s Museum. It’s a house decorated as the home of a Jewish family, named the Hollanders. Kids learn what it means to be Jewish and what is important in the Jewish tradition. They discover what food the Hollanders eat and what they don’t eat and what music they make and listen to.
NEMO Science Museum is hard to miss when you are visiting Amsterdam. You can see its big green building from miles away. NEMO is a science centre where you will get to know a lot about science. You can even do experiments yourself! This is how science gets accessible to everyone and not only to scientists.
At NEMO you can discover how science and technology make ordinary things special. The museum has five floors full of experiments, demonstrations and workshops. NEMO is nothing like the museums that you already know. Here you have to roll up your sleeves and get busy learning about lots of interesting things. You discover how bridges work, how water is made drinkable, and how lightning is created. You can lock yourself up in a giant soap bubble or get to know your DNA. In the NEMO Wonder Lab you can do chemical experiments. So put on your white lab coat and make something explode!
NEMO for kids
This really is an amazing museum to visit with kids. This is nothing like a museum where you are not allowed to touch anything. Here they can do all sorts of experiments themselves. There are workshops they can participate in. The museum has adjusted to families. You have easy access with a stroller. There are three restaurants with kid friendly food and there’s a place where you can eat food that you brought yourself.
The Netherlands has a rich naval history. The National Maritime Museum Amsterdam is dedicated to this history. The museum has an impressive collection of historical objects including weapons, paintings, world maps and scale models. The crown jewel of the museum is a full-size replica of a cargo ship from the 18th-century that shipwrecked in the English Channel on its maiden voyage to the East Indies.
Explore the maritime world
This museum lets its visitors discover everything about the role of the sea in the Dutch history of the last 500 years. There are stimulating and interactive exhibitions, many of which are especially for children. Of course you have to visit and explore the replica of the Amsterdam, a Dutch East India Company ship.
History of the museum
The museum’s building dates from 1656 and is situated just outside the city centre, near the old harbour. At the time it was seen as a very special building because of the architecture. The ceiling is made of glass and its shape is based on the rose of a compass. The building is the former arsenal of the Amsterdam Admiralty. It has been used by the Dutch navy until 1973. So it makes sense that the National Maritime Museum chose this location.
When you think of Amsterdam the following images will probably come to mind: the traditional boathouses, iconic architecture, beautiful canals, the bustling red-light district, famous coffeeshops and the great atmosphere of the city. Yes, the city has a beautiful and almost magical charm!
This is Amsterdam
How did Amsterdam become the city it is today? You will find the answer to this question in the Amsterdam Museum. Here you can discover the history of the city and get a unique insight in how the city and its habitants have developed. Learn about Amsterdam’s relationship to the water and about the creativity and free-thinking of the Amsterdammers. You can also visit inspiring exhibitions that focus on the present and the future. There is an exhibition especially for children, called The Little Orphanage, which lets them experience the life in an orphanage in the 17th century.
The Moco Museum has a wide variety of modern art. The collection is truly unique and its goal is to make modern art accessible for everyone. You can admire the Banksy’s street art and Warhol’s masterpieces. The emphasis is on artist that look at society with a certain irony. That is what makes them so special. Moco is an inspiring place and speaks to a wide audience.
Moco Museum belongs to private gallery holders Lionel and Kim Logchies. With more than eighteen years of experience and a broad art-network they are able to display various international art pieces from private collections. The museum’s building is absolutely stunning. It’s a townhouse overlooking the Museumplein and the authentic appearance is still perfect after some renovations.
The museum is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. At the museum giftshop you can buy art, DVDs, souvenirs, small art pieces and posters.
Everybody knows Anne Frank, the Jewish girl who hid from the Nazis in a secret backhouse on the Prinsengracht. She hid there with her family and close family friends before being betrayed and transported to concentration camps. Her beautifully written diary became a symbol of life under German occupation. A visit to the Anne Frank House is not a happy one, but it will certainly give you a glimpse of what it was like to live in the war as a Jew.
The backhouse used to be a hiding place for eight people for two years. Only one of them survived, Anne’s father Otto. After the war the building was in bad shape and it was about to be demolished. Otto Frank didn’t want this to happen, so he ended up buying the house. But he didn’t have money for a restauration, so eventually he sold the building again. In the meantime Anne Frank’s diary was well known to the public. So a committee of Amsterdammers came together to form the Anne Frank Foundation. They prevented the demolition and made the house into a museum. In 1960 the museum was opened up for visitors. Since then the museum has educated millions of people about the holocaust.
The Hermitage Amsterdam is the largest branch of the world-famous Hermitage of Saint Petersburg. The museum is located along the Amstel River in the historic Amstelhof building. This building dates back to the Dutch golden age and used to serve as a retirement home until 2007. The museum was opened in 2009 by Queen Beatrix and the Russian president Medvedev.
Since the 18th century there has been a bond between Amsterdam and Saint Petersburg. The tsar who started building the city of Saint Petersburg in 1703 has spent quite some time in Amsterdam. The Dutch even helped building the city. The relationship between the two cities still exists and came to its peak in 2009 with the opening of the Hermitage in Amsterdam. In the Hermitage you can admire amazing art objects from the museum in Saint Petersburg. The museum is big and modern and has wonderful exhibitions.
For all Amsterdam museums, have a look at our museum overview.
Van Gogh Museum
Albert Cuyp Market
The most famous market in the City
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