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Best Amsterdam Museums?

Wow are there a lot of museums in Amsterdam! We are tacking on a four-night stay in the city after two weeks in France. I would like to visit a handful of museums, but cannot decide which. (I already have tickets for the Anne Frank House.) Which other museums would you recommend as a must-see? If it is any help, I love art while my boyfriend loves history. Thanks!

Posted by
2330 posts

My favorite, after Anne Frank, was the Dutch Resistance Museum--WWII is my favorite era and the exhibits were fascinating and quite detailed and I learned a lot. Van Gogh was my favorite of the art museums, well-worth the wait to get in, also the Rijksmuseum. I liked the Stedelijk for modern art--that is, from approx. 1880-1950. I found the Amsterdam Museum to be overwhelmingly detailed, but I also think I went there on a day when I didn't allow myself enough time and/or wasn't in the mood for it. I'm sorry I missed the Jewish Museum and Rembrandt House, but I do plan a return visit--Amsterdam is a fascinating city.

Posted by
2487 posts

The Rijksmuseum is a must and combines your interests. The Jewish Historical Museum can't be missed, if only for the impressive Portuguese synagogue, which is part of the complex. Nearby is the Hermitage museum with the semi-permanent exhibition of seventeenth-century group portraits, which gives a good picture of a city governed by citizens themselves. Our Lord in the Attic Museum (Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder) shows the religious tolerance of the city.
Some canal houses have been turned into museums. A few weeks ago I visited the Cromhouthuis, which is very well preserved and presented. Try to join a tour in the Royal Palace and get yourself a good explanation of what started its life as the Town Hall of a proud merchant city.
And don't forget the churches. The Westerkerk is in front of the Anne Frank Huis. The Noorderkerk is also not far away. Both are purpose-built protestant churches from the early days of the Republic. The Oude Kerk is in the heart of the city centre. It's a beauty.
Buy a Museumkaart for EUR 59,95. It's already economical with 4 or 5 museums. The real attraction is that it invites you to visit smaller museums, which you otherwise would have skipped.

Posted by
6 posts

My husband and I just got back from a 2 week trip to The Netherlands with one week spent in and around Amsterdam. We had not planned to visit the Dutch Resistance Museum, but since we had time and also Museumkaart cards, we visited and it ended up being one of our favorites. Especially after having visited the Anne Frank House the previous day. Those two along with the Rijks and Van Gogh were wonderful. Our least favorite was the Amsterdam Museum.

Posted by
11292 posts

I really liked the Amsterdam Museum, but then I'm really into cities and how they developed. It was fascinating to see the experiments in bike sharing and car sharing - from over 40 years ago!

I also loved the Van Gogh Museum. I'd been a bit cool to his works in other places, but seeing so many of them in chronological order, you really learn a lot about him and his artistic development, which helped me appreciate them much more.

I second the recommendation for the Museumkaart. It covers museums in the whole country, so if there's one that appeals to you outside of Amsterdam, you can justify a daytrip there. In Utrecht, the railway museum, the Museum of Music Boxes and Fairground Organs (a rough translation of the name) and the Centraal Museum were all wonderful. In the Hague, there's also a cluster of good museums (although I wasn't as impressed with them as the one in Utrecht).

Posted by
5571 posts

I really enjoyed the Corrie Ten Boom house in Haarlem.

Avoid at all costs "The Diamond Museum" which is quite frankly a horrible advertisement that doesn't even worry about getting facts correct.

Posted by
2829 posts

It depends a lot on your interests. The Risjkmuseum is enormous, it cannot be properly visited throughout even in a full day (it means you should study the exhibitions/ sections carefully and plan what to see, what to glance and what to skip). It is one of the most important museums of romantic, realist and impressionist art in the World, and it also has quite a collection from other periods more focused on Dutch masters.

The Van Gogh museum is devoted to the namesake artist. It is great if you enjoy his style, if you are not really a fan, then it might seem too much of a drag.

The Amsterdam Museum, often neglected on the "top" lists", is quite interesting to understand the city and its history and civics. It is very well curated.

If you are interested in photography, then you might want to check the FOAM, Cromthuis and Huis Marseille (but check first what is on exhibition).

There is the CoBrA museum for those specifically interested in the artistic agitation of post-WW2 Europe. It is in Amstelveen (a short tram ride), located in a nice setting. There is also the Stedelijk, which covers a broader spectrum of modern art and design.

Posted by
129 posts

I echo sentiments to avoid the Diamond Museum - just a ploy to encourage one to buy a diamond. The Rijk's Museum and Van Gogh's a must though must say it was Rembrandt's House that really moved me. To walk in his sleeping quarters and studio...to climb the worn staircase he would have - wow! The Portuguese Synagogue and museums related to the Holocaust equally moving. Anne Frank's Home as well. So much to see in this small exciting city....the Maritime Museum as well! Depending on the exhibit, the Hermitage is a wonderful opp. for those who might not get to Russia.

Posted by
317 posts

I found the Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder (it's the secret hidden Catholic church) quite moving. As a bonus it's inside a recreated 17th-c house. If you happen to be Catholic and find such things interesting, there's also a Catholic church off Kaalverstraat that's lovely.

There is also a museum of the canals that was interesting. And all the art museums... such a thrill to be in the Rijksmuseum (I was there very soon after it reopened).

Posted by
11292 posts

I forgot about The Church In The Attic, but I agree that this is very worthwhile. It's a double surprise: it's in the middle of the Red Light District, where you don't expect a hidden church, and the sheer size of the church is amazing given that it was hidden inside a canal house.

Posted by
183 posts

I loved both the Church in the Attic and the Dutch Resistance Museum. Each can be seen in a couple of hours.

Posted by
9930 posts

Another recommendation for the Resistance Museum! I really thought this museum was really well done. It's pretty small so just when I was to the point of being emotionally overwhelmed, I was done. I do recommend you see this before you do Anne Frank Huis, particularly if you haven't read her Diary in a number of years.

I had a little difficulty finding it...in that I walked past it, but some very nice people down the street pointed me on my way. In my mind it was always the Dutch Resistance Museum and I am not sure why my traveler brain thought I was looking for that. Yikes, kind of embarrassed to admit that but it was when I was newer to European travel. Look for the Verzetsmuseum in the yellow building.

Posted by
2330 posts

Pam--I almost walked by it, too--but I knew the Artis zoo was just across the street so that was my clue.

Posted by
15075 posts

On a day trip, I went first to the Maritime Museum (opens earlier), then walked to the Dutch Resistance Museum, then the Portuguese Synagogue and Museum, and was at the Herimitage by 3 p.m. for a special exhibition, without rushing. It was a little intense but not exhausting.

Posted by
9930 posts

Christa! It was the very nice people at the zoo entrance that pointed me in the right direction!

Posted by
37 posts

We just returned from 3 days in Amsterdam. Get an IAmsterdam card, it includes transportation & we used the trams to get around town. Museum of the Canals was a total waste of time, loved the Amsterdam Museum, Van Gogh is open late on Friday, We also did the Maritime Museum at opening 9am & them short walk to Dutch Resistance which opens at 11am. Stayed at Hotel La Boheme, close to Van Gogh, lots of restaurants & tram stops

Posted by
6734 posts

We saw the Hermitage right after it opened and it is a must see IMHO; we saw Russian collections that had not been seen in the west for decades. I assume the Hermitage rotates new collections into this museum from time to time.