Top 5 Museums in Amsterdam

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Being just a short flight or minicruise away, Amsterdam has always been a popular destination for a short break on the continent. A vibrant city with lots to discover within it, one of the Dutch capital’s greatest assets is its fantastic cultural scene, including a wealth of Europe’s finest museums. Here’s my run-down of the five best museums you must see when visiting Amsterdam.

Rijksmuseum-Night
Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum by Night

Rijksmuseum

Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam

Adult ticket: €15 | Recommended Visit Time: 3-4 Hours

Having reopened after a decade-long refurbishment in 2013, the incredible Rijksmuseum is not only one of the most impressive museums in Amsterdam, but one of the finest in Europe too. Home to famous works by the Dutch masters – including many Rembrandts, and works by Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen and Frans Hals – the museum has a display of over 8000 pieces, representing centuries of art from all around the world. The works that absolutely must not be missed include Rembrandt’s Night Watch (1642) and Vermeer’s The Milkmaid (1657-58) and other pieces such as the collection of 17th century Doll Houses, the stern of the captured HMS Royal Charles and a bi-plane from the early days of aviation.

The Anne Frank House

Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV Amsterdam

Adult ticket: €9 | Recommended Visit Time: 2 Hours

One of Amsterdam’s must-see places, and understandably so, is the iconic and poignant Anne Frank House. A tour of the attic rooms – where the families lived during Nazi occupation of the city until being discovered – can be incredibly moving. The downstairs offices have been restored to their period look, whilst the annexe rooms are cramped and bare – a few of the Frank family’s belongings are still in situ including Anne’s own posters lining the walls. One of the highlights of the tour, be sure to spend some time in the interactive room; big screens display a series of human rights issues and case studies and ask you to consider your opinion – fascinating stats on how visitors have voted over the years will tell you where you lie on the liberal-conservative spectrum.

Van Gogh Museum

Paulus Potterstraat 7, 1071 CX Amsterdam

Adult ticket: €15 | Recommended Visit Time: 2-3 Hours

Easily one of the finest art museums on the continent, the Van Gogh Museum is well worth the short journey outside the city centre. With over 200 paintings, the museum has the largest collection of works by the tortured genius, and many of the artist’s personal letters and belongings too. Highlights of the Van Gogh collection include such famous paintings as Sunflowers (1889) The Bedroom (1888), Almond Blossom (1890) and several of the Wheatfield paintings (1889-1890) completed shortly before his suicide. With wonderful permanent exhibitions of Van Gogh’s influencers, contemporaries and the artists he inspired. Thanks to the museum’s international clout and relationships with some of the greatest galleries around the world, the visiting displays are often among the best cultural events in the Dutch capital too.

Museum Willet-Holthuysen

Herengracht 605, 1017 CE Amsterdam

Adult ticket: €8 | Recommended Visit Time: 2 Hours

The only fully-furnished patrician house open to the public, this stunning canal-side property is well worth a visit. Bequeathed to the city by its last private owner – Mrs Willet-Holthuysen, who died surrounded by her husband’s vast collection of art and exquisite silverware and her own collection of cats – the house became a museum in 1895. Originally constructed in the late 17th century as a home for the Mayor of Amsterdam, the building’s façade was redone in the fashionable Louis XIV style in the mid-18th century. A monument to Amsterdam’s most affluent periods and with a gorgeous English-style Garden to explore out back too, don’t miss the ornate and antiquated beauty to be found in the Women’s Salon, the Men’s Parlour, the Ballroom or the conservatory at Museum Willet-Holthuysen.

The Resistance Museum (Verzetsmuseum)

Plantage Kerklaan 61A, 1018 CX Amsterdam

Adult ticket: €8 | Recommended Visit Time: 2 Hours

Though small in size, this museum about the five years that Amsterdam was under Nazi occupation is utterly fascinating. Recounting the stories of the ordinary people who formed the resistance movement in the city – how they smuggled information, goods and even people in and out of Amsterdam – the museum complements a visit to the busier, more famous Anne Frank House perfectly, and is highly popular with those that seek it out. Also telling the story of the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies, and with a particular focus on the teenagers who resisted the Nazis in Amsterdam in the special Junior Museum, the exhibitions offer an intriguing mix of perspectives on the global conflict. An inspiring, must-see attraction in Amsterdam, Verzetsmuseum is not to be missed.

Off on a trip to Amsterdam? Tell us what you have planned for your short break in the Dutch capital in our comments section below!

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