Amsterdam has an amazing collection of museums, ranging from masterpieces of art to porn, vodka and cannabis. The most popular ones can get very crowded in the summer peak season, so it’s worth exploring advance tickets or getting there off-peak (e.g. very early in the morning). Some of the quality museums that you can’t miss:
- Rijksmuseum — absolutely top-class museum that has a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. Some artists you can’t overlook are Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals and Jan Steen. The must-sees are Rembrandt’s Night Watch and Vermeer’s Milkmaid. The museum also boasts a substantial collection of Asian art. The Rijksmuseum was under heavy construction until early 2013, but has re-opened in full capacity on the 14th of april, 2013.
- Van Gogh Museum — even someone with little knowledge of art must have heard about Vincent van Gogh, the Dutch Post-Impressionist painter whose work had a far-reaching influence on 20th century art for its vivid colours and emotional impact. This museum has the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings in the world. A hint: you can book a ticket online and skip the cashier line.
- Anne Frank House — dedicated to Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who kept a diary while hiding from Nazi persecution in hidden rooms at the rear of the building (known as the Achterhuis). It’s an exhibition on the life of Anne Frank, but also highlights other forms of persecution and discrimination. Mind that there could be quite a line in the evening/weekends in summer.
The other museums are described in the district articles.
The Museum Card (Museumkaart) costs €54.95 (or €27.50 for those under 18 years old) plus a one-off €4.95 subscription fee. It covers the cost of admission to over 400 museums across the Netherlands and you can buy it at most major museums. It is valid for an entire year, and you will need to write your name, birthday, and gender on it. If you are going to the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, €17.50 and €15 respectively, this card can quickly pay for itself. Another advantage of having this card is that you can visit the same museum twice at no extra cost (for example Rijksmuseum is so huge you may want to spread it over two visits), or try out museums you’re not sure you will like. The tickets to the major museums, including the audio guide, can be bought early from the tourist information desk at no extra cost. Alternatively, for short stays, you can consider buying the Iamsterdam card, starting at €42 per day, which includes “free” access to Amsterdam museums, public transport and discount on many tourist attractions.