One of the best things about Amsterdam is the museums. Not only is there incredible art that is famous around the world, but the city also has a rich history where you will come away with a deeper knowledge of where Amsterdam comes from and its famous residents. Here are the best museums not to miss during your visit.
This is one of the best art museums in Europe, without a doubt. It focuses on the culture and history of the Netherlands, with their vast collection of Dutch masters being a focus. Also, there are intricate dollhouses, Asian art, fashion, stunning Delftware and a bit of modern art. You could easily spend most of the day here, so if you have limited time, it’s best to check the floor plan and only visit those areas that are of most interest to you.
Anne Frank House and Museum
This is a must-see attraction for those that appreciate history and to get an inside glimpse into the story of the famous Anne Frank, the small German girl who was hidden in this house during WWII and the holocaust. If you’ve read her diary, this visit will bring it alive. And if you haven’t, well, you are in for quite a story. It is as tragic as it is moving. This museum does not allow photos, and tickets are usually required to be purchased several weeks in advance as visitation is limited and because it’s so popular. However, depending upon availability they do let people without advance tickets in the afternoons.
Van Gogh Museum
For Impressionist painting aficionados, this museum is for you. You cannot miss this museum if you are even the slightest bit of a Van Gogh lover, although it should be noted that this is one of the smaller museums showcasing almost entirely his work alone and his most famous paintings may not all be on display, as they are continually on tour or in private collections. Nevertheless, you will come away awed and inspired by the work of this great artist, and get some unique insight into his life.
Ons’ Lieve Heer Op Solder
This one is for the history buffs. It is a quaint museum made of three combined houses, which were joined by their attics so that Protestants had a secret place to worship back in the day. Part of Dutch history reveals that they were not allowed to freely practice their religion, and so we’re forced to follow their faith by secret means. The museum sits on one of Amsterdam’s lovely canals, with great views of the city. Admission includes a free audio tour.
With both continually rotating exhibits and stationary exhibits, this is a very good modern art museum. View the works of such greats as De Kooning, Kadinsky, Koons and Andy Warhol. 90,000 artifacts are housed here in a renovated building on Museum Square. Children are admitted free of charge and it is located in a nice area where you can sit out on Museumplein with a picnic lunch.
Here is a National Maritime Museum, and even if you are not a fan of ships, it is still very interesting to take a tour of the industry that put Amsterdam on the map. One of the best parts of this museum is the map room. There is also an 18th-century replica of a ship and the golden royal ship.
Pro Tip: If you will be visiting several or all of these during your stay, get the Amsterdam card. For one price, you will have access to most of the museums and more. This card also includes public transportation as well as discounts to several other attractions, along with a free canal cruise. Purchase the Amsterdam card online and skip the lines to any of the participating museums! Note: The Van Gogh and Anne Frank museums do not participate in the Amsterdam program.