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Amsterdam is a city composed of rich history and deep culture. However, when people first think of Amsterdam, they have a certain idea of the city, but these ideas could not be further from what Amsterdam is truly like. The history and culture of the city runs deep and is best shown through the various attractions around the city.
One of Amsterdam’s greatest attractions are the many museums available for viewing. Amsterdam has a whopping 400 museums to choose from, with exhibits ranging from art to history to photography. The museums are all extremely compelling and with so many different options there is sure to be one to fit your interests.
Nonetheless, with the abundance of options, it can be increasingly difficult to pick which one to go to. To make the choice easier, I have made a list of the Top 5 museums in Amsterdam. It was extremely hard to choose just 5 but these will give you a taste of the Amsterdam museum culture.
Van Gogh Museum
Admission: € 21 per person
Hours: 9:00am – 6:00pm
The Van Gogh Museum is the most famous, and popular museum in Amsterdam. The museum holds the largest collection of world-renowned artist Vincent van Gogh’s pieces in the world. The Van Gogh Museum offers the chance to step into Van Gogh’s world and experience his artistic vision.
The exhibits of art are vivid, captivating and raw. What’s even more interesting about this museum is how it is organized. The exhibits are in chronological order, which shows his beginnings as an artist, to his dive into depression and ultimately his tragic end. This museum offers more than just art, but also a way of understanding the life of an artistic genius.
The lines are Van Gogh can get extremely long in the middle of the day, therefore going right at 9 AM is best. After around 3 hours at the museum, I suggest you head to one of Amsterdam’s amazing brunch places (https://samseesworld.com/best-brunch-amsterdam/) to sit back and reflect on this experience.
Additional Information about the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam:
- Last entrance for the museum is 4 PM – although it closes at 6, this is the last time you can enter
- No photos are allowed in this museum. This offers a great opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the art
- Buy tickets online to skip the line – you can see more details and book your ticket here, at the price of today, Sunday, July 21st 2019
- If you would like some more information on the exhibits you can purchase an audio guide for €5
For a mix of culture and sightseeing, you can choose this Van Gogh museum skip the line ticket plus 1-hour canal cruise.
Admission: € 20 per person
Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm
The Rijksmuseum is the largest museum in Amsterdam, full of famous Dutch art, artifacts, and history. The building itself is a UNESCO world heritage site and is very beautiful to look at. The museum showcases over a million pieces of art all chronologically ordered from the middle ages to the present. The Rijksmuseum is a great museum to learn about Dutch history and Dutch culture while viewing fabulous exhibits.
In addition to the art, the museum holds the largest print library and historical library in the Netherlands. Some of the print dates back to 1885! From the library, visitors can also head to the heading room to view drawings, photographs, and print.
The Rijksmuseum closes at 5 PM which is pretty early, therefore, you have plenty of time to do night time activities in Amsterdam. Make the most of your Amsterdam experience by filling your days and nights with fun, interesting activities.
Additional Information about the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam:
This museum is huge. Therefore, it is significantly less crowded than some of the other very famous museums in Amsterdam. If you prefer a less crowded museum, than Rijksmuseum is great for you
Looking at every single exhibit would take all day. I suggest planning the exhibits you want to see most before arriving so you can be as efficient as possible. I know a lot of people who have spent a full day in it and only saw half the exhibits.
Anne Frank House
Admission: € 10 per person
Hours: 9:00 am – 10:00 pm
The Anne Frank House is a museum unlike any other in the world. It holds significance and power that will move you beyond words. This is my absolute favorite museum in Amsterdam for the important message it portrays. I think every person visiting the city of Amsterdam should make a stop at the Anne Frank House as a reminder of a history we are all connected to and affected by.
For those who are unfamiliar with The Anne Frank House, I will give you a background. It is an extremely historic house in Amsterdam that held a Jewish family during World War 2. The family spent years hiding behind a bookshelf to escape the evils of the war and survive. Sadly, the family was discovered and sent to the Jewish concentration camp Auschwitz. The father was the only survivor, but a small piece of the Daughter Anne remained in the form of her diary filled with the horrors of what she endured. Years later her diary was published and is now a best seller. Her legacy continues to live on, and the Anne Frank House tells this story to the public.
The museum raises awareness about antisemitism and reminds all visitors of how deadly prejudges can be. If you want to be moved, educated and touched, a visit to the Anne Frank house is imperative.
Additional Tips for Visiting this Museum in Amsterdam:
- This museum is not very accessible. If you require help or assistance to get around it may not be the best option for you
- Tickets for this museum sell months in advance, book yours online to ensure you have an entrance for the dates you want. If you also want a guided walking tour of the Jewish Quarter, you can see details and book it here. However, this tour doesn’t include the ticket to the Anne Frank museum, so you’ll still need to buy it separately in advance. Here’s the official website of the museum to choose and buy your Anne Frank tickets.
- Read a little bit about the history of Anne Frank to further understand the horror of her experience and our history
Admission: € 12.50 per person
Hours: 9:00am – 9:00pm
The MOCO Museum is one of the newest additions to the Amsterdam museum scene and it is amazing. It stands for Modern Contemporary Museum Amsterdam and it focuses only on modern and contemporary pop arts. If you love eccentric street art, then this is the museum for you. The featured artist of this museum is Banksy, with 50 pieces of his original work displayed such as Girl With Balloon. Other artists included Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, and KAWS.
The museum itself is not huge, and very easy to navigate. MOCO wants you to feel like you are on an adventure when you are viewing the exhibits at this museum. I found the whole viewing a very unique experience, and the aim of MOCO was met.
MOCO Museum is a great option for anyone who is new to art or wants to see something more modern.
- This museum is much less crowded than the others. If you prefer to view art in a more intimate setting, this is for you
- If you are constrained by the time this museum is perfect. A full viewing can take only an hour
- You can buy your skip the line ticket here, at the price of today, Sunday, July 21st 2019
Admission: € 12.45
Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
FOAM is short for FOtografiemuseum Amsterdam and is a museum of full of stunning works of photography. The exhibits in this museum are continually rotating and feature both world famous and up and coming artists. The museum doesn’t only show works of art as photography but also video and multimedia works.
The exhibits in this museum showcase works of fashion, documentary to art and the exhibits are always top quality. Moreover, the museum offers free guided tours of the main building, which is very worthwhile to further understand the pieces displayed. There are sometimes even lectures here, radio shows and pop-ups!
- In addition to the fabulous art, there is also a book shop, library, and café. Be sure to check these out while you’re there
- The museum layout can get a bit confusing. Try to keep track of where you have been, so you don’t waste time getting lost
- Due to the constantly changing exhibits its best to check who is being featured before going to ensure you are interested in the exhibits. Here’s the official website of the museum.
- Check out the price and buy your ticket here.
Other Museums in Amsterdam You Might Enjoy
These are just 5 of the many museums Amsterdam holds and as you can tell even these 5 are very different from one another. I feel like this list captures the best and most unique Amsterdam museums and there is sure to be one that spikes your interest.
If not, I urge you to look online at other museums in Amsterdam and find one that suits you. A few other honorable mentions that didn’t quite make top 5 but might help guide your searches for other museums in Amsterdam are:
- Amsterdam Cheese Museum
- Museum of Bags and Purses
- Eye Filmmuseum
- Rembrandt Huis Museum
Next time you are in Amsterdam I highly suggest you head to a museum. The art exhibits will have a profound cultural impact on you that last long after you leave.
If you’re a culture fan, you may want to check out this Holland Pass which offers you up to six free museums or other attractions admissions. There are several types of passes, so check out all details before buying yours.
Samantha Karen is the founder of the travel blog Sam Sees World. She is a millennial traveler on a mission to seek the new and unknown so she can document her experiences and inspire others to travel this wondrous world.
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