With over 50 museums, Amsterdam caters for a wide range of interests: world-class Art collections at the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum, poignant testimonies of its Jewish history with Anne Frank’s house and the Jewish museum and some light-hearted and unique Amsterdam treats such as the Heineken brewery-museum or the Hash museum. The I Amsterdam Card is a good option to make the most of your visit, with discounts in a number of museums and all buses, trams and metros in the city. It can be purchased at the tourist information office at Shiphol airport or outside Central Station, as well as in many shops in the city.
The building, dating from the 1880s, was designed by Pierre Cuypers and dominates the Museum Quarter with its impressive facades. It is Holland’s national museum and hosts the largest and finest collection of Dutch paintings in the world from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The museum also includes a fine collection of Flemish, Italian and Spanish works, as well as sculptures and distinguished historical and Asiatic collections. Many visitors only come to see its most famous painting, Rembrandt’s Night Watch, his largest and one of his greatest works, as well as the four paintings by Jan Vermeer (Young woman reading a letter; The little street; the letter and the kitchen maid).
One of Amsterdam’s finest museums, the spacious and beautifully lit building holds the largest collection of artwork by Vincent Van Gogh, with over 200 paintings, drawings and letters as well as works by some of his contemporaries. The collection is organised chronologically over four levels and presents the main periods of his life and work in the Netherlands, Paris, Arles, Saint-Rémy and Auvers-sur-Oise.
Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art
Amsterdam’s innovative museum for Modern Art includes works from the 1850s to the present day. It is currently undergoing renovations and should reopen in September 2011. It has one of the richest Modern Art collections in the world and permanent collections include paintings by leading artists from modern artistic movements - Impressionists, Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism - as well as sculptures, industrial designs, posters and pop art. It also hosts a number of temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
Anne Frank House
Home and hiding place of the Jewish Frank family, it provides a harrowing account of their life under the German occupation. You can visit the rooms in the back house where they lived concealed behind a secret bookcase door with the Van Dann family from 1942 until their arrest in August 1944. Anne Frank’s diary was found after the war and published by her father, the only survivor. The original diary is now displayed in a glass cabinet.
Built in 1606, it was Rembrandt’s home between 1639 and 1658. A modern annex was recently added next to this elegant building and the two now house the Rembrandt House Museum. It offers an interesting reconstruction of the painter’s everyday life and workshop, with as its main attraction Rembrandt’s collection of 250 etchings, the largest in the world.
Amsterdams Historisch Museum
The museum is housed in magnificent buildings, once the old city orphanage which first opened in 1578. The renovations and conversion to a museum in the 1960s and 1970s have retained much of the exterior facades. Of particular interest are the rooms devoted to Amsterdam’s Golden Age in the 17th century. The collections include fascinating paintings, prints, artefacts and archeological finds.
Joods Historisch Museum
The Jewish museum is located in four beautiful Ashkenazi synagogues dating from the 17th century, in what was the heart of the Jewish quarter in the centre of Amsterdam. Jewish life and culture are illustrated through temporary exhibitions and a permanent collection covering works by Jewish artists, an extensive collection of World War II documents, as well as exhibits about everyday life and religion.
Dutch Resistance Museum
The main exhibition shows the work of the Dutch resistance and heroic acts by ordinary Dutch people during WWII, as well as everyday life in Amsterdam under the German occupation. Exhibits include photos, posters, historical documents about the persecution of the Jews and newsreel from that period.
Located in a beautiful old building, the Tropenmuseum hides a little known gem, a fascinating collection about the lives of tropical and subtropical peoples across the world: ecosystems, music worldwide, 350 years of Dutch colonial history and much more. A section is dedicated to children. A special feature of the museum is the “object of the month”, which focuses on an unusual artefact. The museum shop sells interesting objects from other lands, including beautiful original African masks.
Devoted to the most famous Dutch football club, it is a must for all football fans. The museum located next to the stadium tells the history of the club with photos of football legends, prizes, cups, trophies and all sorts of football memorabilia. You can take a guided tour (1 hour 45) around the stadium between 11 am and 5 pm in July and August.
Amsterdam Tulip museum
A small, friendly museum about the tulip, symbol of the Netherlands. Multimedia shows present the history of the flower and how it is grown. The museum also has a shop where you can buy bulbs of rare tulips.
The Hash, Marijuana and Hemp Museum
Located near Amsterdam Central Station, the museum houses an unusual if extensive collection of erotic paintings, pictures and objects from different ages and cultures.
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