Museums in Amsterdam, the main city of the Netherlands
The largest collection of Van Gogh’s works is in the Amsterdam Museum, built by the famous Dutch architect in the 1920s. There are more than 200 paintings and drawings, as well as letters of that famous artist’s correspondence with his brother.
The main purpose of a visit to the Rijksmuseum is, of course, to see the paintings of famous artists such as Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Vermeer and Rembrandt. The tour culminates with a visit to the Gallery of Fame, where Rembrandt’s mesmerizing painting “The Night Watch” rises above the mortality of the world, silently surrounded by hundreds of tourists’ eyes.
In the center of the Red Light District, in the former home of townie Jan Hartmann, there’s a Catholic church called Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (Church of Our Beloved Lord in the Attic). The organ and interior have been carefully restored; the lower floors contain 17th- and 18th-century paintings and church furnishings.
Anne Frank House
Anne Frank was a Jewish girl who died in the Belsen camp shortly before the end of the war and who kept a diary describing life in hiding during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. In 1957, a foundation named after her opened a memorial museum in the very house where the Frank family hid from the Germans for two years.
Historical Museum of Amsterdam
A museum dedicated to the history of Amsterdam – an entire architectural complex with old courtyards and modern additions. In the exposition – old paintings, photographs, objects of everyday life of the city.
NEMO Museum in Amsterdam
If you stroll through Amsterdam in the area of the Central Station and the Maritime Museum, your eye is bound to catch a strange structure resembling a huge ship, it is unclear how it ended up in the center of the city.
Diamond Museum in Amsterdam
At the mention of diamonds one may often hear a hackneyed cliché about the friendship between the fairer sex and the stones mentioned above. But to achieve such a close relationship with diamonds is not always easy.
Amsterdam Dungeon Museum
Amsterdam Dungeon Museum will appeal to those who like to tickle their nerves – in a huge basement of an old building, all the dark delights of the Middle Ages are recreated. A rattling elevator takes visitors down 5 floors, where the journey through the basement begins.
Van Loon Museum
The Van Loon Museum exhibit features a collection of family portraits, a collection of Oriental and Dutch porcelain, and restored living interiors with unique 18th-century furniture.
Amsterdam Canal Museum
Museum is dedicated to the Canal Ring of Amsterdam. Here you can take an interactive tour and listen to the most interesting facts and events of the 400-year history of the city’s canals.
Hemp Museum in Amsterdam
The cannabis museum was opened in Amsterdam in 1985. In 2012, it was reopened, and in the same year its twin brother appeared in Barcelona. To some this may seem immoral, but in fact we all know how useful an industrial plant cannabis is.
Madame Tussauds Museum in Amsterdam
Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam was the first branch of the world famous London wax museum. The official opening of the museum in Amsterdam took place in 1971, and in 1991 the museum moved to its current home on Dam Square – in the heart of the city.
Today, the house-museum of Rembrandt restores the environment of those times: the kitchen, living rooms and studio of the artist. Besides the works of Rembrandt himself, its collection includes paintings of his students and teacher Peter Lastman, and one of the rooms is devoted to the technique of engraving.
Bag Museum in Amsterdam
Of Amsterdam’s many large and small museums, this is probably the one that will interest fashionistas the most. This chamber museum grew out of a private collection that began 35 years ago. Now it has more than 5,000 pieces.
Streetcar Museum in Amsterdam
An interesting streetcar museum dedicated to this remarkable form of transport was created thanks to a group of people who care about preserving ancient technology in its original form for future generations.
Tropical Museum in Amsterdam
The Tropical Museum is a rather unusual name for one of the largest and most interesting anthropological museums in Europe! It has confused more than one tourist – because there are no brightly colored butterflies, colorful parrots or outlandish plants.
Heineken Museum in Amsterdam is not just a beer museum, it combines an interactive platform, an exhibition center and a modern attraction. The museum is located in an old factory building, but don’t be fooled by its exterior – the latest technology and space design rule inside.
Museum of Erotica in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the city of all things unconventional. So not to visit one of the most famous museums would be an unforgivable mistake. Everything related to erotica of all times and cultures is here.
National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam
In the exposition of the Netherlands Maritime Museum you can see: wooden models of ships, paintings and drawings, parts of ship equipment and a lot of documents. Next to the museum building is moored a replica of the East India Company ship.
In the Dutch Stedelijk Museum all the famous trends of modern art are represented. Here you can see paintings by such masters as Picasso, Cézanne, Matisse, Judd, De Kooning and Cunellis.
In addition to everything else, of which there are plenty in Amsterdam, there are many museums; and small and busy ones on a par with the exhibition complexes of the world. The most important museums are concentrated on the Museum Square Museumplein, on the southwest side of the Rijksmuseum. The square was arranged in the last quarter of the 19th century on the site of the former World’s Fair. In fact, the entire northeastern part of the square is occupied by the huge Rijksmuseum, in front of which there is a large square pond (turned into an ice rink in winter). On the northwest side of the square are the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, the Bols Cocktail House, and the Bonfire Diamonds.
The Rijksmuseum owns the largest and most valuable collection of classical Dutch art. It opened in 1885, and since then its collection has amassed about a million pieces. Among them are works by Rembrandt, of which it has the most (including The Night Watch), as well as Vermeer, Frans Hals, and Paulus Potter. In addition to these, you can see a large collection of decorative arts, including Delft porcelain.
The Van Gogh Museum’s collection includes some of the artist’s greatest masterpieces, such as The Potato Eaters and Sunflowers.
Van Gogh didn’t live in Amsterdam long, but his museum is the second most visited in the city. It occupies one of the few modern buildings in this part of Amsterdam that houses the permanent collection. A second building, designed by Japanese architect Kiso Kurokawa, was added to the main building in 1999 and hosts temporary exhibitions. The museum’s collection includes some of Vincent’s greatest masterpieces, such as The Potato Eaters and Sunflowers.
One of the city’s museums certainly suitable for visiting with children is the modern popular-science museum NEMO.
The Stedelek Museum boasts the city’s most valuable collection of contemporary art. The museum itself is the same age as the square and was opened in 1895. The permanent collection includes works by Piet Mondrian, Karel Appel and Kazimir Malevich.
Many tourists who consider it their duty to learn about Amsterdam’s cannabis culture should not miss the recently opened Hemp Museum. Here, among other things, you can learn about the original and useful ways to use cannabis.
Other museums are scattered throughout the city and have the widest range of themes. They are the small Resistance Museum, the Anne Frank House, and the Rembrandt House. They are the huge Museum of the Tropics, the Amsterdam Museum (formerly the Historical Museum), the Hermitage Amsterdam (a reference to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, by the way), and the Museum of Jewish History.
From Van Gogh to the microbial zoo: Amsterdam’s 10 museums
No matter which streets and canals of Amsterdam you walk, at some point you’re bound to end up at Museum Square. Here stands the city’s main photo symbol, the huge letters I Amsterdam, and here are the main museums that form the golden triangle of Museum Square – the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art. Of these three, the Rijksmuseum is perhaps the most important – if you are in Amsterdam for a day, this is the museum to go to.
The Rijksmuseum was closed for renovation for 10 years and opened in 2013 with the inherent pomp – a salute, orchestra and blessing from the Queen of the Netherlands. In addition to paintings by Rembrandt and the legendary Night Watch, there are paintings by old Dutch masters, Jan Van Eyck, Goya, Vermeer, a collection of Delft porcelain and relatively modern art. There is also a very beautiful library in the museum, where you can go and touch old books, and a huge souvenir store, which you can get without buying a ticket to the main exhibition. You definitely won’t leave without postcards, badges, magnets and other nice souvenirs.
Van Gogh Museum
Big strokes on the life of the maestro.
“Sunflowers”, “Irises”, “Potato Eaters”, “Bedroom” – all these paintings hang in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, where the largest collection of the artist’s works – about 200 paintings, 400 drawings and 700 letters (you can see the letters to his brother Theo here). During his lifetime, Van Gogh sold only one painting, but now in the museum you can buy even socks with the image of sunflowers. The gift store sells thousands of books about Van Gogh’s work, reproductions of his paintings, scarves, ties, mugs, umbrellas, and anything else you can imagine based on the artist’s drawings. You can (and should!) buy tickets in advance on the website, unless of course you want to spend a few hours in line, which is steadily lining up at the entrance every day.
Contemporary art in a giant bathtub
The huge tub that stands in the middle of the city is the building of the main contemporary art museum in the Netherlands. Like the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk was closed for nearly 10 years for restoration, but is now in full operation. The permanent exhibition space contains timeless paintings by Picasso, Warhol, Mondrian, Monet, and other 20th century European and American artists. Interestingly, it is in Stedelijk that the largest collection of Malevich’s works outside the former Soviet Union is assembled. There is enough space for exhibitions, which take turns with each other: Stedelijk hosts an exhibition marking the 100-year anniversary of the De Stijl art group, an exhibition of the French painter and sculptor Jean Dubuffet, and a series of photo and video installations. On the first floor is an excellent bookstore that sells books on contemporary art history, museology, and theater history. You can buy a couple and take a seat in the cozy restaurant on the first floor.
Anne Frank Museum.
There’s a house on the Calvert Canal that has become a legend – Anne Frank wrote her diary in this house during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. Anne Frank is a girl from a Jewish family who died in the Belsen concentration camp, but managed to leave a detailed description of life in the asylum in which her family had to hide. For two years, Anna wrote letters to her fictional friend Kitty, recounting how their days were spent in secret rooms behind a large closet. Now you can get into these rooms and try to imagine what people who were forced to stay undercover for several years lived like. There is a lot of material about the Holocaust and Fascism on display, and emotionally, a visit to this museum is comparable to a visit to the Jewish Museum in Berlin and Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
Airbnb Host Tips
Miriam lives in Amsterdam and works as a graphic designer in a downtown fashion studio, is interested in museums and is always aware of the latest exhibitions, which she is happy to recommend to her guests.
The Rijksmuseum not only has a wonderful collection, but also a Michelin-starred restaurant. The Rijks is home to renowned chefs from around the world, and a table for lunch or dinner must be reserved in advance. Luckily, there are even lighter cafes nearby – a few espresso bars and places to eat without having to reserve a table.
If you want to see more of Van Gogh’s paintings, including the famous Night Café, head to the Kröller-Müller Museum, an hour’s drive from Amsterdam. The museum is located in De Hooge Veluwe National Park, where you can spend an entire day biking from one art object to another.
A museum that I am always happy to recommend is the Shipping Museum. The museum itself is inside a ship, and there you can learn about how Europeans mastered shipping, traded with each other, and invented new models of ships in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Once a year, on Rijksmuseum on Rembrandt’s birthday (July 15), a festive breakfast is held, treating guests to a traditional Dutch meal – a bun with haring (a young herring). It is believed that this is also how Rembrandt once started his day.
The Science Ship near the station
The name of the Nemo Science Center refers to Jules Verne’s novel “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”: the building itself is a large ship filled with interactive science exhibits. This science center is the perfect place for adults and children who are constantly itching for hands – a museum where you can’t just touch, but have to touch all the exhibits. Create electricity, learn how sounds are formed, what fractals are, where colors come from, how puberty occurs, how drugs work on people, and save Schrodinger the cat – you can do it all yourself as you travel from one deck of this science ship to another. Several times a day, Nemo hosts a spectacular scientific spectacle – one small element launched by a volunteer sets in motion an entire system of objects, and for several minutes this chain reaction does not stop. In the summertime, there is a large terrace with a cafe on the top floor of the museum.
The world’s first microbial zoo is next door to a real zoo, but it features those you would never see with the naked eye – millions of bacteria, microbes, and even viruses. The entire museum is built like a secret laboratory, where you’re a scientist gathering your own collection of microbes. Instead of cages and aviaries, this zoo has microscopes through which you can observe the lives of these little creatures. You can take a scan to see how many microbes are on you right now (spoiler: several billion!), see if you and your partner exchange 1 million microbes during a kiss, and see how much life is actually on your combs, toothbrushes and stuffed toys. After visiting this museum-laboratory, you realize that you don’t have to be afraid of loneliness – in fact, you are never alone.
Greetings from St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is the Russian Amsterdam, so it is no surprise that a branch of Russia’s largest museum is located here. The Hermitage regularly hosts exhibitions based on pieces from the Great Hermitage Museum – for example, it now exhibits Dutch masters from its St. Petersburg collection, the largest collection of Dutch art outside of the country. The museum also has permanent exhibitions – one of them tells the history of the Amstelhof building, now home to the Hermitage (it was built in 1681, and could have been seen by Peter the Great when he visited Holland!), and the history of relations between Russia and Holland.
Historical Museum of Amsterdam
How a village on the river became the capital
Amsterdam is believed to have been founded in 1275, which is when the main Historical Museum of Amsterdam begins to tell its story. It’s a museum about how a small settlement on the river Amstel grew into the largest city in Holland. There are the most valuable artifacts, archaeological finds, documents, national Dutch costumes, furniture, household items and a lot of interactive exhibits related to the modern life of the city, for example, you can learn everything about the preconditions for the legalization of drugs and prostitution. Especially popular is the interactive walk through 1920s Amsterdam where you are invited to pedal a bicycle and are shown what the city looked like a century ago which creates the illusion of a real bike ride through the city.
Hemp Museum, Sex Museum, Museum of Prostitution
These are typical tourist museums filled with made-up facts. You shouldn’t take them seriously, but if you really want to go in, you’ll definitely get a couple of funny photos to remember you by. In the Museum of Erotica and the Museum of Prostitution they will tell you the history of sexual emancipation of Amsterdam, show you the devices of the “red rooms”, where girls take clients, and many erotic pictures, statues, images and photos. In the Hemp Museum, visitors are shown marijuana from the most unexpected angles – for example, it is seen as a valuable agricultural commodity.
Nikola-Lenivets in the Netherlands
Kröller-Mueller-Museum – this is not only a private museum, which houses the second largest collection of works of Van Gogh, but also a huge landscape park, like our Nikola-Lenivets. It’s about an hour’s drive from Amsterdam and you can spend a whole day there. At the entrance you can take a bicycle for free and ride it. At one end of the park is a beautiful castle, which belonged to Helena Kröller-Müller, a major art collector, and at the other end is a museum of a private collection that includes paintings by major European painters, and between them are tens of kilometers, which you can easily overcome on a bicycle.
Planning a cultural break in Amsterdam? Book an apartment on Airbnb, walk around the city, and visit the best museums in the Netherlands and the world.