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Best Amsterdam Museum Experience

I am onto the need to purchase tickets online in advance, but how much time do the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum take to do them both justice? Obviously, the latter is huge and requires more, but any tips for the optimum experience would be appreciated. Also, if we were to add one more museum during our stay, which stood out to you (we already have tix for Anne Frank Huis)?

Posted by
9684 posts

I visited both in April

I would say I spent 2.5 hours in the Van Gogh museum. I love museums and was particularly looking forward to this one but had done the Rijks in the AM and was fatigued by the time my 3PM entry time came around. I did not see the special exhibit they had going on at the time. I suggest you start this museum on the top floor (3rd I think) and work your way down. The "good stuff" is up there, lol. It messes up the museum time line but might make it easier for you.

The Rijks, I did 2 separate visits. I did about a 2.5 hour guided tour as part of my Rick Steves Belgium and Holland tour group. In that time we saw several floors (including their more modern paintings including one Van Gogh) plus of course the stupendous gallery where the Night Watch and the Vermeers are located. After that I did a special exhibit they had on Rembrandt where they had every single Rembrandt the museum owns on display in a special gallery (except the Night Watch which hung in it's usual place). I think I spent about 2 hours here. The next morning I decided I wanted to go back to the Rijks (very easy to order the ticket online thru their app from your hotel - they are not timed tickets) to see some other things so I spent another perhaps 2.5 hours there.

I suggest you download the really good free Rijksmuseum app. Be sure to take your earbuds with you.

If you are looking for another museum, I'd suggest the Dutch Resistance Museum. It is really interesting. IF you can work it out, do this one before Anne Frank just to re-ground yourself in the background.

Posted by
36 posts

Thank you, Troy of Idaho! Very helpful and generous. I should ask your favorite restaurants!

Posted by
9684 posts

I’d be happy to help but I’m vegan! The group did have 2 nice dinners - one was a Rijsttafel and I don’t remember the name of it. The other was our farewell dinner and was lovely but let me see if I’ve got the name in my notes.

My own choices were more mundane! There is an excellent supermarket (Albert Heijn I think) nearly under the Van Gogh Museum. It is at the opposite end of the the Museumplein from the Rijksmuseum (Van Gogh is about the middle). From street level you go down to the market on an underground level. I popped in there for picnic stuff then sat out on the Museumplein people watching on a sunny day.

Posted by
306 posts

Restaurant suggestions (although there are plenty to choose from): If you are looking for a rice table, Saba Sebo or Blauw fit the bill well.
for an authentic Dutch dinner in a private home, highly recommend Martine's Table

Posted by
5251 posts

I think Pam of Troy got it just right re timing and the third museum. It's tempting to try to "cover" both Van Gogh and Rijks on the same day since they're so close together, but the Rijks especially is so big you could wear yourself out. I thought the Dutch Resistance Museum was very good (and would be a good intro or supplement to the Anne Frank House). One of the things I liked about it was the attention it gave to the fact that most Dutch people did not actively resist the occupation -- some collaborated with it and most just tried to survive.

Posted by
419 posts

I visited the Dutch Resistance Museum last month and found the stories and scenarios very thought provoking....

I think I spent about 2 hours there, if that helps your planning.

Posted by
3343 posts

I would definately visit the Dutch Resistance Museum! We were there yesterday. It was the conclusion to our 3 hour Jewish Amsterdam Tour with historian Naomi Koopmans. Her tour included the Portuguese Synagogue, Jewish Museum and Holocaust Museum. We had been to the Anne Frank Huis a couple days before. Highly recommend Naomi. Her knowledge and passion was extraordinary.

We enjoyed both the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum and spent at least a couple hours at each on separate days. We purchased tickets online.

Let me know if you are interested in restaurant recommendations in the Museumplein area.

We love Amsterdam!

Posted by
745 posts

If three art museums is not overdoing it, I highly recommend the Stedelijk Museum. The Stedelijk Museum has an excellent collection of modern art, located a three minute walk from the van Gogh Museum. There are many cafes and restaurants in the area....

Posted by
135 posts

If you have the time, a day trip to Den Haag for the Mauritshuis Museum. They have Vermeer's "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" & "A View of Delft" plus other great stuff. If zonked out on art museums, another good day trip is to Enkhuizen for the Zuiderzee Open-Air Museum. We think better than Marken. Way too much to enjoy in one trip. We usually make it a short stay on one direction of our flights.

Posted by
2487 posts

Enkhuizen is not only worth a visit for its Zuiderzee Museum: it is a gem of a small former port city, with an impressive past as one of the founders of the Dutch East India Company. Only 1 hr from Amsterdam on a half-hourly direct train.

Posted by
1253 posts

If I remember correctly the Van Gogh museum is a timed entry. I spent about 3 1/2 hours there and could have stayed longer. Also they require to check larger backpacks. Also spent about 3 hours in the Rijksmuseum.

If you add another museum I would give a thumbs up to the Dutch Resistance Museum

Posted by
3343 posts

Just to add to Joel’s comment- yes the Van Gogh has a timed entry. The day we visited we had a 1:00 pm entry. It was not crowded that day. I had seen most of the collection as a child at the Seattle Art Museum. It brought back fond memories from many years ago. Something you never forget.

Posted by
2096 posts

I will add my 2 cents in and offer the Dutch Resistance Museum as an excellent and organized story of how the Dutch people gathered to work against the Nazis and help the Allies during WWII. Stirring and powerful images.

The Hermitage Museum is an adjunct to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. St. Petersburg lends a number of artworks every few months to Amsterdam to display on a rotating basis. When I was there, there was a lovely exhibit of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age of Painting. Very much worth a visit! I must say that even I who loves museums became overloaded after my time in Amsterdam in April 2018!

I also went to The Hague and loved the Mauritihuis Museum with an amazing collection of art, lots of Rembrandts and The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Vermeer. Just Wow!