With more than 50 museums to choose from, Amsterdam is a museum-lover’s dream. The types of museums range from traditional to quirky, from old to modern, and more often than not combine these opposites in its architecture and collections. It would certainly be impossible to see all the museums in Amsterdam, so we’ve made this list to help you sort out what’s not to miss.
A note before you go: Purchase the I Amsterdam City Card includes free admission to many museums around the city. (The card also is good for free public transportation, a canal tour and other discounts.)
7 Top Museums in Amsterdam
If you like to know a little history of the city you are visiting, then the Amsterdam Museum is the museum for you! Through interactive displays, maps and paintings, the many faces of Amsterdam come alive. Learn what the it looked like in the Middle Ages and watch its transformation to the charming city of canals that you see today.
More information: amsterdammuseum.nl
Anne Frank House
The Diary of Anne Frank, published long after the young girl was killed in the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen, made its author one of the most identifiable figures of the Holocaust. The diary tells the story of the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam in 1940, when the city’s Jewish population was forced to either flee or go into hiding. Anne and her family (as well as four others) hid for 2 years in the Secret Annex—the third floor of the Anne Frank House, hidden behind a bookshelf. The house has been completely restored to its state during the time of Anne’s hiding. It’s a fascinating glimpse into what life was like for the Jews of Europe during World War II. If you go, expect a wait as the museum is quite small and very popular.
More information: annefrank.org
Foam is a small photography museum located in the heart of Amsterdam. The museum rotates large exhibitions of well-known photographers with lesser-known and emerging talents. This museum is a must-see for anyone with an interest in photography.
More information: foam.org
Rembrandt House Museum
Though Van Gogh is certainly the city’s favourite artist, Rembrandt isn’t far behind. In this small museum you can see where Rembrandt lived and worked for 20 years. Through the period furniture and other articles, the Rembrandt House Museum opens a view into the life of this great painter and provides a fascinating look into life in The Netherlands in the 17th Century in general. Among the furniture on display are Rembrandt’s etchings and a changing selection of his paintings. Check the website for exhibitions.
More information: rembrandthuis.nl
After a decade of renovations, the Rijksmuseum again opened its doors in spring of 2013. The museum’s new interior (both the modern additions and original restorations) enhances the masterpieces of Dutch art displayed within. It’s the paintings by the masters of Holland’s Golden Age that most people flock to the Rijksmuseum to see. You can find Vermeer’s paintings of domestic life in the 17th Century. His best known is called The Milkmaid. Paintings by Rembrandt (The Night Watch) and Van Gogh (most notably, The Starry Night) also draw visitors from around the world. So if you have any interest in the masters of Dutch art, the Rijksmuseum should be the first on your list! The Rijksmuseum is located in the Museumplein.
More information: rijksmuseum.nl
The other museum in Amsterdam’s Museumplein, the Stedelijk is devoted to modern and contemporary art. Photography, furniture, and paintings by such artists as Mondrian are the highlight of this collection. Keep an eye on Stedelijk’s exhibitions as they often feature the best talents of The Netherlands’s art world.
More information: stedelijk.nl
Van Gogh Museum
Also newly renovated, the Van Gogh Museum is large museum entirely devoted to the works of one painter: Vincent Van Gogh. This Dutch artist’s popularity can’t be doubted when you’re standing in line to get in. The museum’s collection leads the viewer through the development of the artist and is interspersed with facts about Van Gogh’s life. The number of paintings is not overwhelming but just enough to learn more about this wonderful painter.
More information: vangoghmuseum.nl
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