You will find some of the world’s best art and the best museums in Amsterdam. Our top picks include:
The Rijksmuseum: At Museumstraat 1, the museum contains the unrivaled collection of Dutch Art in the world. This is a must see as you will enjoy Rembrandt’s famous The Night Watch, which is one of the most famous Dutch 17th-century paintings, Vermeer’s The Kitchen Maid and Hendrick Avercamp’s Winter Landscape with Skaters. There are also a few by Van Gogh. In April 2013, it reopened after a decade-long major renovation project. Its new atrium is really stunning, it is beautifully done and the lighting and displays are really wonderful.
I was lucky enough to see a great temporary exhibit on the later works of Rembrandt. Make sure to buy your entrance ticket and admission to any special exhibitions online before you go to avoid the lines. There is a special line for ticket holders.
The best to me is still the Van Gogh Museum at Paulus Potterstraat 7. It is located in a contemporary building with four floors dedicated to paintings and drawings of Van Gogh. It was recently renovated. Opened in 1973, the museum was designed to house Vincent’s brother Theo’s private collection of 200 paintings and 500 drawings, plus over 800 letters by Van Gogh to Theo and other works by his friends. From the Bedroom at Arles to the Vase with Sunflowers the works are amazing. I first saw many of these works, when I was 11 years old, at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City. The exhibition to me was really life changing and I felt like I was seeing old friends when I first went to the museum in Amsterdam and again on my return. You can buy your tickets online for the dates and times you want. It is also open late on Friday nights!
The Stedelijk Museum: Well worth the visit is this museum dedicated to contemporary art and design. Check the website for current exhibitions as well. There is the Cafe Stedelijk which is a sleek, contemporary restaurant off the lobby with both indoor and outdoor seating. There is also a small cafe on the second floor. The newly opened white-colored wing is worth the visit on its own!
Other museums to explore include:
Rembrandthuis: I enjoyed my second visit to Rembrandthuis. Here you can see where he lived from 1639 to 1658 and taught his students. There are exhibitions of his predecessors and contemporaries plus modern and current works of art, demonstrations of etching and painting and the availability to take free painting classes at certain times of the year on different topics. Jodenbreestraat 4.
Museum Our Lord of the Attic: At Oudezijds Vooburgwal 40, this is a great small museum in a restored 17th-century canal house at the edge of the Red Light District. There are two smaller houses to the rear. The combined upper stories conceal a secret Catholic Church built after Amsterdam officially became protestant. The lower floors contain elegantly refurbished and decorated rooms plus a collection of church silver, religious artifacts and paintings.