There’s an Amsterdam museum to pique every interest. From the city’s turbulent history to its vibrant present, you’ll find plenty of exciting exhibits to explore. With a world-class Museum District and lots of independent spots scattered around, you can enjoy a multitude of cultural treasures when you visit.
In this guide, we’ll take you on a trip through some of the city’s most famous museums, as well as some hidden gems that are sure to add something special to your visit.
Best Museums in Amsterdam
We’re going to tell you about a handful of the best museums in Amsterdam, but there are lots more great ones you might want to explore. If you’re looking out for the Rijksmuseum and Van Gough Museum, two of the most famous in the city, scroll a little further.
- Anne Frank House
- Rembrandt House
- Street Art Museum
- Museum Van Loon
- Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder
- Stedelijk Museum
- Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum
- EYE Filmmuseum
- Hermitage Amsterdam
If you’re exploring museums in Amsterdam, this one’s probably on your list. Anne Frank House sits on one of the most picturesque streets in Amsterdam, but to visit is to take a sobering look back in time. Visit the attic where Anne Frank and her family hid for two years during WWII, and see pages from the teenager’s famous diary.
Celebrate the work of Rembrandt van Rijn, one of the most famous Dutch artists, when you visit this museum inside his original house. See hundreds of etchings, drawings, and paintings, as well as some of Rembrandt’s personal items. It’s a must-visit for any art lover in Amsterdam.
Read our guide to visiting the Rembrandt House Museum for more information.
Street Art Museum
This is the only recognised street art museum in Amsterdam, where a knowledgeable guide will take you on a three-hour tour around Nieuw-West. It features a collection of works from international artists including Pez, Kenor, Orticanoodles, Bastardilla, and many more.
Museum Van Loon
Museum Van Loon occupies a canal house on Keizersgracht, which is a beautiful and exciting street in itself. Explore the house and picturesque gardens for a taste of how the wealthy once lived in Amsterdam. If you’re into architecture, interiors, or aesthetics, this is the museum for you.
Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder
Translated to Our Lord in the Attic Museum, this is another unique house museum that can give visitors an excellent feel for old Amsterdam. Explore corridors to find extravagantly furnished living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchens. This 17th-century house even features a church in the attic, which explains its unusual name.
This modern art museum is home to over 90,000 pieces, including contemporary favourites from Picasso, Koons, Lichtenstein, and others. It’s in the bustling Museum Square, but it’s often quieter than some of the other big ones in the area. That means you can enjoy a laid-back visit and explore the collections at leisure. Read our guide to visiting the Stedelijk Museum for more information.
This canal-side photography museum is an attractive alternative choice to some of the city’s better-known galleries. Explore the work of some of Amsterdam’s up-and-coming artists when you visit this excellent central spot.
This is one of the largest and most significant maritime museums in the world, with around 400,000 objects to enjoy. From paintings and models to navigation tools and world maps, there are plenty of things for any adventurer to explore.
The heart of cinematography in the Netherlands, the EYE Filmmuseum is a free ferry ride away from central Amsterdam. It’s well worth the trip for movie buffs, with a history of film exhibition and ever-changing features on acclaimed directors.
A branch of the world-famous Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, the Amsterdam spot is set in a classical building on the banks of the Amstel. Regular exhibitions celebrate Dutch art and history, as well as Russian culture.
Visiting the Rijksmuseum
The Rijksmuseum, the museum of the Netherlands, is one of the best and most popular in Amsterdam. Set inside a beautiful building, the museum offers a variety of great exhibitions with something for everyone to discover.
Making art and history accessible for a diverse contemporary audience, this national institution is home to Dutch art and historical objects from the Middle Ages onwards.
The museum first opened its doors in The Hague, in the year 1800. Then it was called Nationale Kunstgalerij. The establishment moved to Amsterdam eight years later, occupying the beautiful Royal Palace on Dam Square.
The permanent collection includes 8,000 artistic and historical objects, which tell the story of Dutch history from 1200 to the present. Explore the towering gallery of honour, home to masterpieces from many great artists of the 17th century. Visit the Night Watch Gallery, which was specifically designed to display Rembrandt’s famous civic guard painting. There are lots more rooms to discover, including spaces for tapestries, prints, coins and medals, and even doll’s houses!
As well as these permanent exhibits, visitors can enjoy ever-changing temporary exhibitions at the Rijksmuseum. Take a look on the website or wait until you get there for an exciting surprise.
Once you’re done inside the museum, head out into the beautiful gardens for a little peaceful reflection. The Rijksmuseum gardens are full of colourful flowers, many of which are inspired by the masterpieces inside. Stay awhile, and visit the Garden House Café. You can grab drinks and snacks from this sweet spot, then pick a place to enjoy them among the greenery.
Rijksmuseum tickets cost €19 for adults, while under 18’s go free. Visit the museum’s website for more information.
Visiting the Van Gogh Museum
Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum is another of its most popular. Making the work of world-famous artist Vincent Van Gogh accessible for everyone, the organisation aims to reach and inspire as many visitors as possible.
More than two million people head to the Van Gogh Museum each year. Why not join them, and discover the work of this unique artist while you’re in the Dutch capital?
The museum is home to an exceptional collection of Van Gogh paintings, which should come as no surprise given its name. Visitors can also enjoy the work of French contemporaries, as well as some beautiful Parisian and Japanese prints.
Discover a selection of Van Gogh’s celebrated self-portraits, which the artist made to practice his painting skills. There are lots to see at the museum, all of which show the recognisable red-headed painter with a similar steely look on his face. You can also enjoy a selection of landscape paintings and some floral and blossom works, including the famous Sunflowers.
As well as being a masterful artist, Van Gogh has a fascinating personal story, which you can discover a little during your visit to the museum. See letters and paintings telling the tale of the artist’s descent into illness, admittance into an asylum, and tragic suicide.
Admission to the Van Gough Museum is €19, while under 18’s go free.
Getting Around Amsterdam
There are lots of ways you might like to get around the Dutch capital.
Why not explore on-foot? In such a beautiful, clean city as this, tourists have no problem exploring the central and even outer areas by walking. Stroll along picturesque canals and over quaint bridges as you explore this unique and vibrant city. Or hire a bike and travel like a local, for an authentic experience of Amsterdam.
If you have a little further to go or want to save your energy, you can get around Amsterdam easily using the public transport system. There are lots of busses, trains, and trams running throughout the city, making it easy to get from A to B.
The most straightforward way for visitors to use public transport is with a multi-day pass. This will let you use any service for a period that suits you, whether it’s a day, two, or a long weekend. Local busses and trams are very easy to use. Simply hop on, swipe your ticket or pass, and alight at your destination.
If you’re not sure which ticket will be best for you, or you’re having trouble navigating the city, just head into the first station you see. There’ll be an information desk there and a friendly local to help you on your way.
Whatever way you spend your time in Amsterdam, we know you’ll have a blast. Be sure to explore some of these unique and memorable museums while you’re there, and don’t forget your camera. This is one of the most beautiful capital cities in the world, with picture-perfect spots around every corner.