The capital of the Netherlands has a beautiful city-centre with a rich history. Some of the buildings date back to the Dutch Golden Age, in the 17th century. There’s so much more to the city then coffeeshops and the Red Light District. Did you know Amsterdam has over 50 museums? We list our 7 favourite must-see museums for you to enjoy.
Let’s start our list with the obvious, but undeniable number 1 must-see. Home to more than 1,3 million works of art, including Vermeer’s Milkmaid and of course the most famous work of the entire collection – Rembrandt’s Night Watch.
The Rijksmuseum is the largest and most important museum in the Netherlands and focusses mostly on 17th century masters. Find different styles, from Baroque to Cobra and Gothic. There is so much to see, it would be a shame to skip the Rijksmuseum.
Anne Frank House
Anne Frank was the Jewish girl who went into hiding with her family during the Second World War. Her diary – published as a book – is known worldwide and the Anne Frank House is the house she actually had to hide in.
Walk through the house, view scale models, old pictures and documents. The third most visited museum in Amsterdam is both educational and emotional. If you are planning a visit, do yourself a favor and order tickets online to avoid the long lines.
Anatomy Museum BODY WORLDS: The Happiness Project
Gunther von Hagen is an anatomist from Germany and is known for the plastination technique: a technique to preserve biological tissue specimens. This allowed von Hagen to display dissected bodies and body parts.
You can view more than 200 specimens in Amsterdam. The Happiness Project is about what makes us happy (food, sex, sports) and the impact of happiness – or lack of it – on our bodies and general health.
FOAM Photography Museum
If photography is straight up your alley, then so is FOAM. As they state themselves: “Foam is all about photography”. Every year FOAM has four large exhibitions which run for about 3 months.
Next month you can view exhibitions by photographers Momo Okabe, Jean-Vincent Simonet and Anne de Vries. Or visit “Magnum. Contact Sheets” and find out how iconic photo’s came in fruition by taking a look at the contact sheets from the world’s most famous journalistic photographers. Asides exhibitions there are workshops, events and loads of other thing to do in FOAM!
This one is probably more for the ladies, because Tassenmuseum Hendrikje is also known as The Museum of Bags and Purses. The collection shows you the European history of handbags, going as far back as the 16th century.
View purses by renowned names like Chanel, Dior and Prada and find masterpieces- like the Cupcake purse shown in the Sex and the City movie. And of course there is a collection of brand new bags. By the way, you can combine a visit to this museum with a high tea!
Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum holds the largest Van Gogh collection in the world and is actually among the most popular museums worldwide. In 2015 Van Gogh died exactly 125 years ago and the museum is commemorating his death with exclusive exhibitions.
In When I Give Myself 23 artist reacted – using art – to a Van Gogh letter specifically assigned to them. Next month you can also visit Munch : Van Gogh. For the first time ever, parallels between the artists are shown. Munch’s masterpiece The Scream will be brought to the museum specifically for this exhibit.
Science Center NEMO
Do you want to educate your kids in a fun friendly way? Go to NEMO. Your kids can experiment with chemistry, math, electricity and lots more.
It’s a museum of doing, not just watching and looking. Everything is about experiences and there are several activities and exhibitions children can participate in. It’s a museum of doing, not just watching and looking. Though kids are a great excuse to visit NEMO – adults will have a great time too. Due to the popularity it can get very crowded, so keep that in mind.
Pack your bag and visit Amsterdam
If you’re backpacking through the Netherlands, Amsterdam makes for a great trip. Unfortunately Amsterdam is also known for pickpockets because the city is incredibly busy. I would advise you to pack light. Keep expensive equipment in your room and watch out with those smartphones. Maybe take a cheap prepaid phone with you and – if you need to – top up online using websites such as Recharge.com.
Are you done visiting museums? Rent a bike – fingers crossed it doesn’t rain – and discover even more of the capital. Picnic in the Vondelpark, visit the Flower Market and grab drinks and food in one of the local bars and restaurants. And yes, maybe even pay a visit to one of the coffeeshops or the Red Light district – only if you want to!