With priceless works of art by some of the most important artists ever to be created and priceless historical collections, Amsterdam’s museums and galleries amaze with their quality and quantity. Despite the compact size of the Dutch capital, dozens of options abound across all genres, leaving the choice to visitors.

These are the best museums in Amsterdam that you won’t want to miss.

You will need a good part of a day to explore the spectacular Rijksmuseum © Benjamin Rondel / Getty Images

Rijksmuseum: the best for Dutch masterpieces

Rembrandt’s epic Night watch, Vermeer Milker and that of Jan Steen The joyful family are just a taste of the gems of the golden age among the paintings in the Rijksmuseum. The museum is also a spectacular setting for collections ranging from Delft porcelain to exquisite dollhouses, with sculptures adorning the rose-filled garden outside.

Completed in 1885 to house the country’s and monarchy’s collections, Pierre Cuypers’ Dutch Renaissance and Gothic Revival building is a national treasure in itself.

Van Gogh Museum: the best for the artist’s legacy

Some 200 paintings and 500 drawings make up the largest Van Gogh collection in the world at the Van Gogh Museum in Museumplein. Discover the life and work of this legendary Dutch artist through brightly colored creations like Sunflowers, The yellow house and Wheat field with crows, and 700 handwritten letters (you can listen to recordings). The works of other artists, including Gauguin (with whom Vincent shared the “yellow house” in Arles in the south of France), Monet and Toulouse-Lautrec provide additional context.


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Stedelijk Museum: the best for modern and contemporary art

The third jewel in Museumplein’s crown, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, occupies a former neo-Renaissance bank and lives up to its name in 2012, “the bathtub”. Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian, Lichtenstein and Jeff Koons are among the artists represented in the rotating exhibitions of its permanent collection of 100,000 people who stand alongside cutting-edge temporary exhibitions.

Exterior of the Rembrandt House Museum in the old Jewish quarter of Amsterdam.
Rembrandt House Museum in the old Jewish quarter of Amsterdam © Ivo Antonie de Rooij / Shutterstock

Museum het Rembrandthuis: best museum of the residence

Rembrandt worked on Night watch in this large house on the Nieuwmarkt canal, where he ran the largest painting studio in the Netherlands from 1639 to the 1650s. When the house is sold to pay its creditors, the inventory allows it to be faithfully reconstructed in 1911 as Museum. Visiting gives the impression that the great painter will be at home at all times. You’ll see his clients’ reception hall, living room, bedroom, and the precious “cabinet” (an entire room) of curiosities he collected, but the highlight is his studio, where he created.

Anne Frank Huis: The Best for WWII History

By far Amsterdam’s most moving museum, the Anne Frank Huis is a reminder of the tragedies of WWII, particularly of the “secret annex” of the office and warehouse premises where young teenage Anne and his family hid from the Nazis for over two years, until their expulsion. to concentration camps. After the war, Anne Otto’s father, the only survivor, found Anne’s diary amid the debris on her return, publishing it and preserving the empty rooms.

Joods Historisch Museum: the best for Jewish history

Four Ashkenazi synagogues from the 17th and 18th centuries house the Amsterdam Jewish Historical Museum. Covering the history of Jews in the Netherlands, it contains illustrated books, first-hand interviews, excellent temporary exhibitions and a children’s museum set up as a family home showing Jewish life and traditions.

Tropenmuseum: the best for the cultures of the world

Amsterdam is one of the most culturally diverse cities in Europe, with 180 different nationalities calling it home, and the sensitively organized Tropenmuseum conveys a shared sense of humanity through universal experiences such as celebration, mourning, decoration, clothing and prayer through its exhibits; items stolen during colonial times are eligible for restitution. Temporary exhibitions explore themes such as healing practices. The magnificent vaulted building was constructed in 1926 to house the Royal Institute of the Tropics (still a leading research center).

Cyclists outside the Vondelpark in Amsterdam
Learn more about Amsterdam’s local history and culture © Niels Wenstedt / BSR Agency / Getty Images

Amsterdam Museum: great for local history

In the former civic orphanage, the Amsterdam History Museum weaves its history over the past millennium through multimedia exhibits, religious objects, porcelain and paintings. The exhibits also include the increase in bicycle use. Its Civic Guard Gallery, with group portraits featuring medieval guards and locals like Anne Frank and Alfred Heineken, is free.

NEMO Science Museum: ideal for families

Five floors of interactive exhibits in this green copper boat-shaped science museum make this a fantastic outing with the kids. In “Life in the Universe”, for example, they can shield the planet from comets, UV rays and solar wind with a shield, and manipulate a 4.6 billion year old meteorite, while in the “Laboratory”, they can put on a lab coat and conduct experiments. On the free panoramic roof terrace, playing with water, flying a kite and using your body as a sundial to tell the time teaches the next generation about renewable energies.

Fashion for Good: the best for a fashion that stands the test of time

A world first, this museum of sustainable fashion makes you rethink what you really know about the origin of your clothes and their impact on people and the planet. The exhibits examine sustainable materials and industry innovations such as recycling and upcycling, and encourage visitors to engage in positive action.

National Maritime Museum Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam, with an old replica of a sailboat.
The National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam presents a replica of a sailboat © Nikolay Antonov / Shutterstock

Het Scheepvaartmuseum: the best for maritime history

To truly appreciate Amsterdam’s history is to understand its connection to the sea. The city’s Maritime Museum is an ideal introduction, with maritime exhibits such as maps of the Golden Age. Outside the 17th-century admiralty building, you can board a life-size replica of a Dutch East India Company ship.

Foam: ideal for photography

All forms of photography – film and digital, local and international – are featured in Amsterdam’s premier photography gallery, Foam. In a light-flooded canal house, he organizes four exhibitions a year, including big names, and is renowned for finding and nurturing new talent.

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