The Amsterdam Museums
Since ancient times, the city of Amsterdam has had the reputation of being vicious. But the true face of Amsterdam is austere and benevolent, covered with many wrinkles – witness to the great history of the Dutch capital. The sights here are endless, and if you have limited time, the choice of where to go could be complicated.
Amsterdam is a city of museums. There are more than 400 museums and art galleries in the Dutch capital. The main difference between Amsterdam and other European capitals is the many atypical and unconventional museums: tattoos and marijuana, erotica, sex, torture.
Do not forget to get your Nightlife Tickets. For only €10, you get free entrance to over 30 of the best clubs and venues for two days, in addition to many other perks and discounts that you can take advantage of during your stay.
Simply said, even if you are not a party head, you definitely shouldn’t miss out on the vibrant nightlife of Amsterdam as this city is one of those scattered around the world that have the most to offer in terms of fun.
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.
The Amsterdam Museum
There is no better way to get to know Amsterdam and the Netherlands than by visiting the Amsterdam Museum. Head to the former orphanage located on Nieuwmarkt Square, which has been housing the museum since 1975 and immerse yourself in the variety of interactive exhibitions that present the history of the city and country from the Medieval Ages to the present day.
The Tropenmuseum is the perfect location for people that love ethnology and anthropology. If you would like to learn and see more from distant countries and cultures, you definitely should pay it a small visit.
The museum has an incredible collection of items from around the world with temporary and permanent exhibitions that have earned appraisal worldwide. Perhaps the most intriguing things you can see are the brilliant reconstructions of local environments from around the world. Instead of just looking at curious items and learning about cultures and history, you will get a genuine feeling of the locations and life there.
The only apparent problem with Troppenmuseum that might stop you from visiting is the off-the-center location but if you have more than a few days to explore, be sure to check it out. Last but not least, the building that houses the Tropenmuseum itself is worth seeing. It might not look that impressive from the outside but just wait to go inside.
Body Worlds Amsterdam Museum
Most often, museums are considered a source of rich cultural heritage and an invaluable source of knowledge. And most of them are. But will this classic idea not change after visiting one of the most unusual museums in the world – Body Worlds Amsterdam?
Body Worlds is probably the most impressive and unusual exposure in Amsterdam. The museum is like a lively human body encyclopedia, presenting over 200 stuffed human bodies and specimens in a perfectly acceptable (some would argue – “scandalous”) and educational way.
The collection was created by Dr. Gunther von Hagens for scientific and medical purposes through the method of “plating”, in which the body is dried, odorless and treated with epoxy resins and other polymers. Each fluid is extracted and replaced with a substance similar to silicone rubber. The author claims that this method of conservation is longer lasting than that of Egyptian mummies.
On an area of seven floors, all individual systems in the human body are presented, presented with many details and curious information. The authors of the exhibition have chosen to look at how happiness and emotions affect our body and health. At its opening, the exposition scandalized the public, but a few years later, interest in it was overwhelming. The exhibition has toured more than 100 cities worldwide and has been viewed by over 40 million visitors.
Body Worlds was created entirely on a donation basis and has developed its own donor program. Anyone can donate their body after their death for the sake of science and become part of the exhibit forever. According to the museum, at the moment, about 13,000 people have declared this wish.
The MOCO Museum of Contemporary & Street Art in Amsterdam is definitely one of the city’s most interesting landmarks and also one of the most recent ones. It opened in 2016, but within 2 years of its existence, it has established itself as one of the most visited places in the city.
In its relatively modest exhibit area, this small museum has managed to collect works by truly famous names such as the mysterious street artist Banksy, Salvador Dali, Roy Liechtenstein, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Kusama, Arsham, and other notable names in contemporary modern art.
Simply judging by the names listed above, you shouldn’t be able to find an excuse not to see this place in person. Besides that, the MOCO Museum is located on the Museum Square in Amsterdam, adjacent to the renowned Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and other notable places that you will undoubtedly visit.
One More Thing Before You Go… Did you hear about the Amsterdam Nightlife Ticket?
Amsterdam is undoubtedly a city that will give you knowledge and stimulate your imagination when it comes to museums and exhibitions. It is one of those places around the world that just make you want to come back as soon as possible and you definitely should as one visit will not be enough to see everything.
Besides the obvious cultural heritage and beautiful locations, there is one thing that Amsterdam is most famous for – the nightlife. It would be a great mistake to miss out on an unforgettable night out here. I can guarantee that it will be nothing like clubbing where you come from and will stay in your mind for a long time.
With this said, Amsterdam is one of the few cities in Europe that give you the opportunity to purchase a Nightlife Ticket and skip the entrance fees for the best clubs and venues (which are often high here). Why is it so useful, you may ask?
Chances are that the party location you choose may not fit your personal requirements for a fun experience. Maybe you have an acquired taste and are looking for something unique. With this in mind, it wouldn’t be nice to pay entrance fees two, three, or more times until you find that perfect place, right?
With the Amsterdam Nightlife Ticket, you will have free access to over 30 of the best locations for two days for just €10. In addition, you get welcome drinks or shots at nearly a dozen of these locations, not including the incredible discounts and advantages such as a double up on drinks.
And since we are here to discuss museums, with the Amsterdam Nightlife Ticket, you get 2 for 1 on tickets at Dungeon Amsterdam. There, you can experience Dutch history in a unique way through an 80-minute interactive comedy/horror show that also includes live actors. Be aware, however, that it is not particularly suitable for the faint of heart.
As you can see, the Nightlife Ticket becomes more and more needful with every word. It will help you experience the life and culture of Amsterdam in the cheapest way possible!