Which Amsterdam Museum should you start with?
Amsterdam has a museum for everything which means that there is something for every taste. On this note, every individual will have a different list of must-visits. Nevertheless, we have chosen the most iconic and important ones that we consider mandatory.
Rijksmuseum was almost entirely closed for an entire decade between 2003 and 2013 as it was under reconstruction and renovation. After nearly 10 years of hard work, the museum now offers a unique experience. A visit to the National Museum in Amsterdam is a virtual walk in the history of the Netherlands and things that have become a symbol of the country today.
The National Museum in Amsterdam, known as the Rijksmuseum, is housed in a spectacular Neo-Renaissance palace. It occupies four floors and has 80 art-filled halls. It is considered a real treasure trove of European art. It exhibits art objects that date back to the Golden Age of the Netherlands.
The Amsterdam State Museum has a beautiful collection of paintings by Rembrandt and other venerable artists. In addition, the museum can see an exquisite collection of porcelain.
Among all the treasures of the State Museum stands out the greatest pride of the museum – the canvas “Night Watch”, which is property of the city. In general, the painting is hung in Hall 224 of the Rijksmuseum. “Night Watch” has been proclaimed the absolute highlight of the collection. Amsterdam citizens like to say that they have provided the painting to the museum for storage only, as it is state-owned.
Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum is one of the most intriguing museums in Amsterdam located in the wonderful building on Paulus Potterstraat 7. This art museum, as its name implies, is entirely dedicated to the work of the most famous Dutch artist – Vincent Van Gogh.
The Van Gogh Museum has the richest collection of paintings by the great artist – the exhibit contains over 200 works and 500 drawings. These include Van Gogh’s earliest work, several of his famous self-portraits, sunflower compositions, and works created in France in his later period when Van Gogh was already struggling with madness.
The paintings from the Van Gogh Museum exhibit are located on the first floor and the upper ones contain his drawings, paintings from the collection of his brother Theo van Gogh, painted by the artist’s like-minded artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, and Monet, as well as temporary exhibitions.
Few people nowadays know that Amsterdam was once the largest port in the world and the Netherlands had the largest merchant fleet. And not surprisingly, the second-largest maritime museum is located in Amsterdam – Scheepsvaartmuseum. It was officially opened on April 13, 1973, by Princess Beatrix and is housed in a building that is itself one of the museum’s exhibits.
This monumental building was built in 1656 as admiralty warehouses and arsenal, designed by Daniel Stalpert – a famous architect at the time whose name was immortalized in many architectural monuments in Amsterdam.
In 2007 the museum was closed for major reconstruction before finally opening doors for public visits in 2011. Now, there are exhibits that tell the 500-year history of the Netherlands, from the Golden age and whaling to the modern life of the port of Amsterdam.
The most interesting exposition is dedicated to the “Golden Age”. A witness to the great discoveries of this period is the sailing ship “Amsterdam”, once owned by the East India Company. The ship did not return from its first voyage in 1749, and in 1985-1990, an exact replica was created for the museum. Now anyone can get on board and take a closer look at all their equipment and interior.
Among the exhibits of the museum is an extensive collection of paintings dedicated to the great naval battles, portraits of Dutch sailors, as well as a unique collection of nautical maps from the 17th century. Of the remarkable exhibits, there is a copy of the book “The Mollusks” for Magellan’s first circular tour, work of Maximilian Transylvanus, published in 1523.
Nemo Science Museum
This particular museum is an important tourist location for more than one reason. Before anything else, Nemo’s green roof hides the most incredible technical and scientific inventions that anyone can imagine. The museum is housed in a building that mimics the structure of a ship and it can easily be called the “Mecca” for geeks, experimenters, and lovers of science.
The second reason why this Amsterdam museum is so popular among tourists has nothing to do with science at all but is a valuable reason to visit nonetheless. To say the least, everyone would love to see Amsterdam from above but there are few places that offer this for free.
At the very roof of the Nemo Science Museum, there is a beautiful terrace that will give you a 360° view of Amsterdam and the opportunity to take some amazing photos. There are also benches that you can sit on, rest, and enjoy the view.