Museumplein in Amsterdam is the cultural heart of the city. You’ll find the best Amsterdam museums, occasional art installations, and live performances there. Located in the heart of the Museum Quarter district, it’s a must-see place in Amsterdam for all art lovers. Here is the guide to what to see at Museumplein in Amsterdam that will help you plan your visit.
Museumplein in Amsterdam
Museumplein means ‘Museum Square’ in Dutch. It’s one of the city’s largest green areas, popular among locals and visitors. On sunny days, you’ll see many people sunbathing, relaxing and hanging out with their family and friends there. You can do the same if you want to feel like a local in Amsterdam. Especially if you’ll visit Amsterdam in summer.
During Christmas time in Amsterdam, it’s home to a large Christmas market and a beautiful ice skating rink.
How to get to Museumplein in Amsterdam
Museumplein is centrally located in Amsterdam and easily reachable from anywhere in the city. Trams no. 5, 2 and 12 stop on the Museumplein. No. 5 and 2 will take you straight to the Central Station in Amsterdam. Trams no. 7, 10 and 16 have their stops within the 5-minute walking distance from the square.
You can also get to Museumplein by using the Metro line no. 52. Exit at Vijzelgracht Station, which is a 10-minute walk away from the Museumplein.
Which museums are at Museumplein
Museumplein gots its name for the fantastic museums it’s home to. If you’re wondering what to see at Museumplein in Amsterdam, visit some of its museums first. Five museums are located on Museumplein: Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Diamond Museum and Moco Museum.
Address: Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam
Rijksmuseum is one of the world’s best museums, covering over 800 years of Dutch art and history through around 1 million objects. Its most famous collection is the one dedicated to the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, located in the Gallery of Honour. You’ll find works of Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Frans Hals and many more fascinating painters there. The collection highlights include Rembrandt’s The Night Watch and Vermeer’s Milkmaid.
Rijksmuseum is also home to a beautiful library you can peek into from the second floor. And also to one of the most beautiful museum cafes, which you can visit even if you don’t have an entrance ticket.
Watch the Culture Tourist video below:
Van Gogh Museum
Address: Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam
Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is the best place to learn about the life and work of this fascinating artist. The museum has the most extensive collection of Van Gogh’s paintings, drawings and letters worldwide. Artworks in a museum are displayed chronologically, allowing you to see how Vincent’s art developed during his short ten years long career.
Museum also has a great book shop where you can find books about the famous painter, children’s books about Van Gogh and publications with his letters. It’s also home to a lovely cafe overlooking Museumplein.
Address: Museumplein 10, 1071 DJ Amsterdam
Stedelijk Museum is a place to go if you’re interested in modern and contemporary art. The building is quite interesting, combining traditional Dutch architecture with modern additions. The entrance area that’s home to a museum shop and a cafe is known as a ‘bathtub’ among the locals (you’ll guess why once in front of it).
Stedelijk Museum has a great collection of modern Dutch art. If you’d like to learn more about De Stijl and artworks made by artists such as Piet Mondrian, this is the place to visit at Museumplein in Amsterdam. You’ll also find paintings created by the Cobra movement members, active in the Netherlands between 1948 and 1951.
Address: Honthorststraat 20, 1071 DE Amsterdam
Founded in 2016, Moco is one of the youngest museums in Amsterdam. Dedicated to modern and contemporary art, you’ll find some leading art worlds names like Banksy, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein or Keith Haring there. It’s a privately owned boutique museum with a very different vibe from other museums on the Museumplein in Amsterdam.
Address: Paulus Potterstraat 8, 1071 CZ Amsterdam
Better called a diamond shop than a museum, this is the fifth museum at Museumplein. This institution has a small exhibition about diamond cutting and the history of diamonds. But then, there is a vast shopping area where you can purchase some beautiful diamonds. That’s why I advise visiting this place only if you’re interested in buying some jewellery rather than learning about it.
Where to buy art around Museumplein
Many streets around Museumplein were named after the famous Dutch Golden Age painters. You’ll often see reproductions of some of their beautiful paintings in the area around Museumplein.
Nieuwe Spiegelstraat is a street well-known for its art shops since the end of the 19th century. It’s located just behind the Rijksmuseum, connecting it to the canal belt towards the city centre. You’ll find paintings and products made by Dutch designers in the art shops. The street is also home to numerous antiquities shops where you can buy 17th-century Delft Blue porcelain, old prints, furniture and other interesting objects.
Cafes & restaurants on Museumplein in Amsterdam
Blushing Amsterdam – Located across the street from the Stedelijk Museum, Blushing Amsterdam is a great brunch place on Museumplein in Amsterdam. They serve delicious healthy lunches, sandwiches, soups, salads, and great smoothies.
Rijksmuseum cafe – This beautiful cafe and restaurant is located inside the museum in one of its former courtyards. While sitting below its glass roof, you can enjoy the Rijksmuseum architecture. The Rijksmuseum cafe serves drinks, smaller meals and desserts, making it a perfect stop during the museum visit.
RIJKS – Another restaurant at the Rijksmuseum is an upscale eatery in the Philips Wing. They have a beautiful terrace where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and some nice cafes. If you’d like to have dinner there, be sure to make a reservation.
Cobra Cafe – Located in the centre of Museumplein, this cafe was named after the Dutch modern art movement – Cobra. You can see works of art by its members in the cafe interior. This place serves drinks and some meals like burgers and sandwiches.
Tips for visiting Museumplein in Amsterdam
IAmsterdam Letters – The Museumplein in Amsterdam used to be famous because of the IAmsterdam letters many people were taking photos at. However, the letters were removed from the square a few years ago. The reason was to reduce the crowds that were gathering in that area. So, although you can see them in some photos from Museumplein, the IAmsterdam letters aren’t there anymore.
Buy entrance tickets in advance – Be sure to buy your museum entrance tickets in advance. You won’t be able to get inside the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum without the pre-bought time-slot tickets. Moco Museum could also get crowded, so buying online tickets in advance is advisable. Here are the links to online tickets for these museums: Rijksmuseum online tickets, Van Gogh Museum online tickets, Stedelijk Museum online tickets and Moco Museum online tickets.
IAmsterdam Card – If you visit more museums in Amsterdam and use public transport, it could be helpful to get IAmsterdam Card. Amsterdam Card is convenient because it will provide free public transport, free entrance to most of the museums in Amsterdam (Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House are not included), and free canal cruise and bike rental. You can check everything included here and buy your I Amsterdam City Card on this link.
Join the museum tour – I used to work as a museum guide at the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum and always advise people to visit these museums on a guided tour. Here is the company I worked with, and I know their excellent guides, so if you’d like to learn more during your visit, check out this Rijksmuseum guided tour and Van Gogh Museum guided tour.
Have you been to any museums on Museumplein in Amsterdam? Which one was your favourite?