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Suggestions for seeing 3 art museums in Amsterday on a Friday.

Old Dutch paintings are what I think I want to see most. But I am open minded about what I see. What think I am sure about is, I want to buy tickets to the Rijksmuseum and show up when they open. (They are open 9am-5pm)

Do you have any suggestions for fitting in the Van Gogh museum and if time, the Stedelijk museum? For example what if I get tickets for the Van Gogh museum for 5pm and for the Stedelijk at 7 or 730pm? I realize that this might be a subjective question with no right or wrong answer. I know that at least to buy tickets for the Van Gogh museum, you have to pick a time, in 15 minute increments. The Van Gogh is open until 9pm, the Stedelijk is open until 10pm. I will need to factor in a certain amount of randomness (time to eat food I bought in a grocery store or time to buy something to eat and eat it, time to sit on benches and/or in the park outside the museums, time to wait in lines, and so on).

Posted by
6659 posts

Something to consider, by my own (I was there January 2016) and other accounts the Van Gogh is always crowded.

Posted by
10344 posts

You said "old Dutch masters." Rijksmuseum is great for that. But Stedelijk is Netherlands top modern art museum and the Van Gogh Museum specializes in Van Gogh paintings and other Impressionist paintings of his contemporaries that either influenced Van Gogh or were influenced by him.
The three museums are very close together.

Posted by
10344 posts

The Van Gogh Museum was not that crowded when we were there a few months ago; yes, most world-class art museums are crowded these days, but the Van Gogh was more crowded before the museum instituted the timed entry ticket procedure they now have, which allows them to pretty much control the number of visitors that gain entry within a 15 or 30 minute window.

Posted by
931 posts

You'll be bushed and maybe sick of looking at art, but it's doable. If you give yourself 3-4 hours at Rijks, then hit up the vendors out back in the museumplein for a hot dog or sandwich while you enjoy the park, I would reckon you might be ready to enter the Van Gogh museum by 2:00 - 3:00. I've seen it suggested to connect to the Van Gogh museum wifi and buy your entrance tickets when you are ready to enter. A few hours there and then maybe another park break, restaurant break, or head to the snack bar in the Stedelijk. We've been to the Rijks multiple times and the Van Gogh museum twice, but it was the special exhibition at the Stedelijk that jumps to memory when I think of our trips to Amsterdam. Look at their calendar and see if there is anything special in the works for your dates.

How long are you in Amsterdam? Are these the only three museums you will visit? If not, it might be worth your while to purchase a museumkaart. If you have that then you go straight to the back entrance of the Van Gogh museum and enter through the group access doors. You would still need to have your time reserved but would not stand in much of a line. We've only had four people in front of us at one time. You'll have to add up the entrance costs for what you plan to visit to see if the museumkaart is worth the price. It will allow you five visits (in total) to whatever museums you choose that accept the card, which most (but not all) do. The canal house museums and the museum of bags and purses are wonderful as well as the sobering Verzetsmuseum (Dutch Resistance) and the most interesting Micropia museum.

Posted by
727 posts

All three museums are located in close proximity and can easily be made into a "Dream Day of Art History". The Van Gogh and Stedelijk are located next to each other and the Rijksmuseum is about 400 meters away. There are benches in and around the large area that separates the buildings, there are nice cafes in each museum and there are quite a few in the area near the Van Gogh/Stedelijk (Le Tambourin, Blushing Amsterdam, Restaurant Stedelijk, Pompa, etc.)
You are wise to visit the Rijksmuseum first - it is (by far) the largest, and yes, the Van Gogh Museum is frequently crowded. All three are superb. Don't skimp your time at the Stedelijk - it is a delight.
Seeing all three one April day last year was a wonderful experience for me

Posted by
10344 posts

Rick gives two strategies for seeing the 3 museums in a single day, see p. 51 of his Amsterdam guidebook (May 2017 publication date).

Posted by
2487 posts

wise to visit the Rijksmuseum first
I would start with the Van Gogh Museum: the mornings are the least crowded.
Have the Rijksmuseum as your last: it is huge and you don't want to feel rushed because another museum is waiting.

Posted by
589 posts

Thanks for your imput. I found the “planning a three day museum day” on page 61 of my Rick Steves Amsterdam and the Netherlands, not page 51.

I think I have to see the Rijksmuseum first, because it closes first. The other 2 museums feel like they will require less time. On Fridays both the other two museums are open later, until 9 and 10pm. I am currently thinking that if I buy advanced tickets for the Van Gogh or Stedelijk museum at 5pm or later, I can calmly leave the Rijksmuseum when I feel like I have seen enough, and eat and sit outside or somewhere, while waiting for my next museum and so I don’t do an excessive amount of standing or walking.

Posted by
10344 posts

@ Mike, what I referenced is from page 51 of the May 2017 edition of Rick's Amsterdam & The Netherlands. Here's the full quote:

"One approach is to see the museums chronologically. in historical order. First Old Masters at the Rijks, then Impressionists at the Van Gogh, and finishing with modern art at the Stedelijk.

But if you're in town during the busy season, you can avoid crowds by following this plan: See the Van Gogh when it opens right at 9:00, then the less congested Stedilijk. From there you could take in some extra sights...and have lunch. Finally hit the Rijksmuseums at 14:00, when the crowds there begin to subside."

Posted by
589 posts

@Kent: my book is the third edition, first printing October 2018. In my edition, the “planning a three-museum day” is on page 61.

One more thing: if I buy some food at a geocery store or market, put it in a day pack, and give it to the employees at the coat check desks at these museums, so that I can eat the food outside after I pick my bag up and leave, will they still refuse to let me in because of the food, like at the Chicago museum of Art? Does the Reijksmuseum let you re-enter with the same ticket on the same day, or is this not something I should worry about?