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Best museums in Amsterdam

Looking for the best museums in Amsterdam? You won’t have to look far, because this beautiful and historically rich city is full of interesting museums. If you’re looking for art, history, culture, beer, or something just a little weird, don’t worry — Amsterdam has got you covered.

Amsterdam art museums

Whether you’re into modern masterpieces or timeless classics, the Amsterdam art scene has something for everyone. Much of this art is centrally located in the heart of Amsterdam in a part of the city known as Museum Square. If you’re looking for a great starting place, go to the colorful Moco Museum, where you can see some of the world’s best modern artists on display.

If you’re into modern art, you simply can’t miss the Stedelijk Museum just down the street from the Moco. The Stedelijk is home to 90,000 pieces of art by masters like Cezanne, Picasso, Warhol, and others. The museum first opened in 1895 but has since been renovated and expanded with a popular “futuristic wing.” Open 365 days a year, entry to the Stedelijk Museum is free for all children and youth under 18.

Since they’re all located in Museum Square, you can easily combine the Stedelijk Museum with a visit to the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. The Van Gogh Museum houses the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh paintings and drawings, but there’s more to see here than just his paintings. This museum gives you a chance to learn the whole story of this influential artist: his emotional life, his ambitions, and much more. The Van Gogh Museum is also open 365 days a year, but it gets busy, so you’ll want to book in advance.

The Rijksmuseum, also located in Museum Square, has a huge collection of some of Amsterdam’s most famous artwork. The museum includes artifacts of Dutch history from the Middle Ages to the present day. You can even find a special spot for Rembrandt’s classic The Night Watch.

Speaking of Rembrandt, the Rembrandt House Museum offers visitors an excellent opportunity to delve deep into the Dutch artist’s life. The tour of the house includes several of his paintings; and in his reconstructed studio, you can watch a paint preparation demonstration. It shows how he used pigments and oils to create the paints that he would use to create masterpieces.

Amsterdam history museums

Had your fill of fine art? Looking for something a bit more macabre? You might want to pay a visit to the Amsterdam Dungeon. This labyrinth of a museum features shows that portray some of Amsterdam’s violent histories. You’ll encounter a witch burning, a Spanish Inquisition trial, and even the ghost of a tortured woman. It might sound quite haunted and ghoulish, but a touch of humor in the performances lightens the mood, making this a kid-friendly experience.

On the topic of shining light into the darkness, you’ll also want to tour the Anne Frank House Museum. If you’ve read the famous diary of Anne Frank, now you can see the actual home where she and her family stayed in hiding during World War II. This is one you’ll definitely need to book in advance, as they might sell out months in advance. Note that no tickets are sold on site for the Anne Frank House.

Unusual museums in Amsterdam

Are you crazy about cats? If so, Amsterdam has something for staunch cat lovers. Stop by the Cat Cabinet and see how cats influenced art and culture in the city. This surprising exhibition emerged in memory of a cat called Tom, by his owner. This stop will surely bring a smile to your face, and maybe you’ll see a cat or two on the premises.

If cats are not your thing, then maybe purses are… Sound strange? Well, in Amsterdam you can visit the Museum of Bags and Purses and learn about the history and manufacturing techniques of purses and bags. You’ll also see a collection of over 5,000 purses.

If you’re a beer aficionado (and even if you’re not), you know that Heineken is one of the world’s most famous beers. Find out how it’s brewed and how to pour the perfect draft in the old Heineken Brewery. A tour through the brewery will also teach you about the history of the company and its innovations in beer brewing. Of course, at the end of the tour, you’ll have a chance to sample a Heineken.

You might come to Amsterdam planning simply to saunter through the tulips. By the time you leave this city after visiting these Amsterdam museums, you’ll have gained much more in cultural riches and knowledge.

Other Sightseeing Options in Amsterdam

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What people are saying about Amsterdam

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 29,976 reviews

Amazing experience. The guides were very friendly and I learned a lot about the history and process involved in making Heineken. There were lots of activities to do right before the end where you got two free tokens for some beer.

Fantastic gallery arrangement, works well for folks who have difficulty walking but do not need a wheelchair. Each gallery has folding chairs available at no additional cost.

Super friendly and courteous staff. We couldn't start the workshop on time, but received another free cocktail as compensation. The tour is very varied and interesting

Don’t be in a rush look at those painting for at least 10 minutes each you will se the art in them

Great museum, not too busy and great audio guides.