The Best museums in Amsterdam blog post was first published on Culture Tourist on 8th September 2017 and updated on 31st March 2023.
Being home to more than sixty museums, it could be hard to pick the best museums in Amsterdam to visit. They offer something for everyone: from the Dutch Golden Age classics like Rembrandt or Vermeer, the largest collections of Van Gogh’s paintings, and the moving and intimate world of Anne Frank’s House. Here is your guide through museums in Amsterdam that you shouldn’t miss during your trip to that fantastic city.
Best museums in Amsterdam
I used to work as a museum guide at the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, and I have visited (and still am visiting) many museums in Amsterdam on several occasions. Here is my selection of the best museums in Amsterdam together with some tips for visiting them.
⤷ Read more: How to visit a museum – A guide for the perfect museum visit
Address: Museumstraat 1, Amsterdam
Rijksmuseum is where you’ll find artworks made by some of the most famous Dutch artists, like Rembrandt or Vermeer. It has around 8,000 exhibits on display, so don’t expect you’ll see the whole museum at once.
Focus on the Gallery of Honour, where you’ll find the Rijksmuseum highlights like Rembrandt’s Night Watch or Vermeer’s Milkmaid. It’s located on the museum’s second floor, dedicated to the most crucial part of Dutch history, its 17th century and the Dutch Golden Age. You’ll need around two hours to explore the second floor of the Rijksmuseum.
Besides these, you can explore its special collections, including the ship models, Delft Blue, clothes, jewellery and many others on its ground floor. On its top floor, you can learn more about modern Dutch art, De Stijl, the art of Piet Mondrian and his contemporaries.
Museum has a great gift shop and a cosy café on the ground floor. However, if you’re more interested in fine dining, there is a museum restaurant close to its entrance, on the left-hand side if you’re coming from a direction of Museumplein. They are proud owners of one Michelin star, and I especially love their desserts.
⤷ Read more: 10 things you didn’t know about the Rijksmuseum
Watch this video to learn more about the Rijksmuseum collection:
⤷ TIP 1: Buy your ticket in advance! The museum started using hourly tickets recently, so planning your visit in advance and booking your ticket online is advisable. You can get your Rijksmuseum online tickets at this link.
⤷ TIP 2: With large museums like this one, I always advise booking a tour. This is the company I used to work for as a guide, and I genuinely recommend them. You can book your Rijksmuseum tour on this link.
Van Gogh Museum
Address: Museumplein 6, Amsterdam
Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has the most extensive collection of Van Gogh’s paintings. It has around 200 paintings and 1000 drawings made by the famous artist.
The museum tells Van Gogh’s story through his paintings, letters he wrote to his friends and family, and photos. Artworks are displayed chronologically, allowing you to observe all the changes he made in his style during the ten years of his art career.
It’s a beautiful museum to visit, see many of Van Gogh’s famous paintings and learn about his life. Some of the Van Gogh Museum highlights are the Sunflowers, the Yellow House, Almond Blossom, Van Gogh’s self-portraits, and many more.
The museum has an excellent shop on its ground floor and a fantastic bookshop on its top floor. If you’d like to buy some of the books about Van Gogh during your visit, check out the shop on the top floor.
⤷ TIP 1: Museum tickets are only available online, and you can not buy them on-site. Get your online Van Gogh Museum ticket on this link.
⤷ TIP 2: As with the previous museum, I recommend joining a tour around the Van Gogh Museum. Check out the one on the link for a great experience.
Anne Frank’s House
Address: Prinsengracht 263 – 267, Amsterdam
Anne Frank’s House is where that little girl hid with her family for more than two years during the Second World War. They were hiding in her father’s office together with four more people.
Anne Frank’s House Museum consists of two buildings. The first one is a newer addition in which you can learn more about her story, people related to her and events happening during their hiding. After that, you can enter the original house in which the family lived during those two years and see the two small rooms she described in detail in her diary.
The museum is small, and you can only visit it by buying online tickets. They are released two months in advance and often sold out a month before the visiting date. So, keep that in mind and book those tickets on time! Click here to buy the Anne Frank’s House tickets.
⤷ Read more: 15 Best exhibitions in European museum in 2023
Address: Jodenbreestraat 4, Amsterdam
One of my favourite museums in Amsterdam is a house where painter Rembrandt van Rijn lived with his family between 1639 and 1658. It’s one of the best museums in Amsterdam for people intimidated by large museums, but who would still like to learn about that famous painter. It’s also an unmissable place for anyone loving Rembrandt’s art.
Inside the museum, you can see what the house in which Rembrandt lived looked like. It’s a wealthy 17th-century Amsterdam house consisting of typical rooms for that time. You can explore the kitchen, living room, reception room and a small office. However, you can also see a large studio where Rembrandt made some of his famous masterpieces. As well as smaller studios where his pupils learned about art and painting.
One of my favourite things about this museum is that they organise interesting live art demonstrations daily. You can learn about how Rembrandt created his etchings and the technique of turning pigments into the paint.
At the museum, you can mostly see Rembrandt’s drawings and etchings. However, they regularly organise temporary exhibitions highlighting details about his art, his students or contemporary artist inspired by the famous painter.
⤷ TIP: Get your Rembrandthuis Museum online ticket on this link.
⤷ Read more: Rembrandt in Amsterdam
Address: Museumplein 10, Amsterdam
Stedelijk is the largest museum dedicated to modern art in the Netherlands. It’s located at Museumplein (or Museum Square) next to the Van Gogh Museum. Their fantastic permanent collection highlights the most fascinating modern Dutch artists and the styles they developed. If you’re interested in the art of De Stijl or the COBRA art movement, then Stedelijk Museum should be on your list.
The museum also organises fantastic temporary exhibitions exploring artists and styles that marked the 20th and 21st centuries. To explore modern art even more, you can join some art lectures and tours they regularly organise.
Stedelijk Museum’s shop is a perfect place to look for books about modern art and architecture. You’ll also find a great choice of products made by Dutch designers. So, it’s a great place to look for a nice souvenir from Amsterdam or a present for art enthusiasts.
⤷ TIP: Get your Stedelijk Museum ticket online at this link.
Address: Amstel 51, Amsterdam (temporary location)
Amsterdam has an exciting history, numerous fascinating buildings and interesting former residents. If you’d like to learn more about the history of Amsterdam and some of the movements that began in the Dutch capital, visit Amsterdam Museum.
It’s located in the historic orphanage from the 17th century right in the city centre. Some awe-inspiring artworks are group portraits made during the Dutch Golden Age and one of Rembrandt’s paintings showing the anatomy lesson.
However, the museum is undergoing extensive renovation at the moment. It’s temporarily located in the same building as the Hermitage Amsterdam Museum. So, it’s a lovely occasion to visit both museums during your visit.
Address: Amstel 51, Amsterdam
Hermitage Amsterdam is located in a beautiful large historic building next to the Amstel River. Even if you don’t visit it, you can stroll through its beautiful garden, have a coffee there, and enjoy the environment.
The museum doesn’t have a permanent collection. However, they organise beautiful exhibitions with different themes a few times per year. In a moment, they are displaying the private Leiden Collection with works of Rembrandt and his contemporaries (until 27th August 2023). Later this year, they plan to organise an exhibition dedicated to Julius Caesar.
⤷ TIP: You can buy your ticket at a reception desk, but it is advised by the museum to buy your entrance ticket in advance. You can get your Hermitage Amsterdam online ticket here.
Address: Prinsengracht 296K, Amsterdam
Ever wondered how the life on a houseboat looks like? A Houseboat Museum on Prinsengracht is a perfect place to find that out. It’s a relatively small museum, and it can be seen in twenty minutes only, so I would definitely put it on your list of the best museums to visit in Amsterdam.
If you’d like to see what the museum and the interior of the Houseboat Museum look like, watch this video.
The National Maritime Museum
Address: Kattenburgerplein 1, Amsterdam
The National Maritime Museum is still a bit of a hidden gem between the Amsterdam museums. However, it’s a fantastic place to visit if you’d like to learn more about the sailing history of the Netherlands.
Amsterdam became one of the most prosperous cities in the world during the 17th century because Dutch people started to sail and trade. They went to Africa, Indonesia, Australia and America, where they founded their city called New Amsterdam (better known as New York today).
You can learn all about that in this exciting museum. My favourite part is a life-size replica of the ship called Amsterdam, built in 1749 and sadly lost on her maiden voyage that same year. You can walk around it and explore how life on a board used to look.
⤷ TIP: Get your online tickets for the National Maritime Museum here.
Tips for visiting museums in Amsterdam
⤷ Museum Pass – If you’re planning to visit four or more museums during your visit, then purchasing a Museum Pass (or Museumkaart in Dutch) is a good idea. It allows you free entrance to most museums in the country. You can buy it at the reception desk at the majority of museums. It will cost you 64,90 euros and is valid for a year. You can read more about the Dutch Museum Pass at this link.
⤷ I Amsterdam City Card – This is another helpful card that will save you money when visiting museums in Amsterdam. You can see the majority of museums mentioned in this article with it. Amsterdam Card includes free entrance to many other attractions in Amsterdam and free public transport. You can read more about it and purchase your I Amsterdam City Card at this link.
⤷ Buy entrance tickets in advance – I already mentioned Amsterdam museums could get very busy, especially the major ones like the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. Be sure to buy your tickets for them in advance online. Even if you purchase Museum Pass or Amsterdam Card, you must reserve visiting time for those venues. Read the instructions at both to be sure for which museums you need to do that. I’ve included links to online entrance tickets within each paragraph about the museums I mentioned in this article.
⤷ Book a museum tour – Whenever I visit larger museums when travelling, I always book a small group or a private museum tour. It makes such a difference! No visit to a museum is the same without a professional guide who will highlight the most important exhibits and tell you the stories behind them. I usually look for museum tours on this website.
⤷ Visiting time – Some museums in Amsterdam get very crowded during the day. So, plan your visit wisely! According to Google, the busiest time at the Rijksmuseum is between 12 – 4 pm, at the Van Gogh Museum between 12 – 6 pm and at the Anne Frank’s House between 1 – 5 pm. Try to plan your visit outside these hours.
⤷ Amsterdam museums shops – Many of these museums are home to some fantastic museum shops. If you want a nice present or a souvenir from Amsterdam, check them out. You can enter some of these shops without even visiting the museum (for example, the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum or Hermitage Amsterdam).
Amsterdam is home to so many fantastic museums, you’ll definitely find some that will interest you. This choice of the best museums in Amsterdam will make your search easier. Have you been to any of these museums? Share with us in the comments.