Nestled beside the iconic Rijksmuseum and the home of one of the city’s most famous sons, The Van Gogh Museum, you’ll find the spectacular Stedelijk Museum. Standing tall over the city’s lush green Museumplein, the Stedelijk is a quirky combination of period and ultra-modern architecture, which makes for just a small taste of what awaits you inside. Within the walls of this sprawling art gallery, you’ll find a collection of modern and contemporary art from around the globe, including a few works that are so famous you’d barely need to be an art buff to recognise them.
So how do we get there?
Getting to the Stedelijk Museum
It’s pretty hard to miss the Stedelijk, as it sits on the city’s famous Museumplein which is well marked and signposted right across the city. If you’ve been exploring at the very heart of Amsterdam, you’ll find the museum just outside the central rings of Amsterdam’s canal network, south-west of the outermost loop which is known as Singelgracht.
Amsterdam is a superb city to explore on foot, with no end of pedestrian-friendly routes and tons to see along the way, so it’s always good to walk if you can. But if you’re staying a little further out or want to pack as many big attractions into your day by cutting down on time getting from A to B, you’ll need to make use of Amsterdam’s transport network. And the good news is you have plenty of options.
Which station is nearest to the Stedelijk Museum?
With its location slap bang in the middle of Amsterdam’s cultural quarter, the Stedelijk is well served by several modes of public transport, including metro, tram and bus stops. So, which is the nearest?
If you’re planning on getting around by metro, you’ll want to head for the Vijzelgracht stop, which is on the 52 Route, also known as the “North-South Line”. Once you surface from the station, you’ll need to walk south crossing the Singelgracht canal, before taking a right and continuing along the canal until you reach the Rijksmuseum. From there, you’ll simply need to pass through the museum’s central walkway and out onto Museumplein, where the Stedelijk will be easy to spot.
You can get even closer by using the tram system or opting for a bus. The Amsterdam Museumplein stop is right outside the front of the museum and is served by 3, 5 and 12 line trams as well as N88 buses. There’s also the Van Baerlstraat stop right behind the museum, which is called at by 2 line trams also.
Choosing tickets for public transport in Amsterdam
Whichever type of transportation you choose, you can make all your journeys simple when you use a multi-day travel card for your ticket. These travel cards, like the OV-chipkaart or I Amsterdam Card, let you swipe on and off any bus, metro, or tram without purchasing a new ticket. Just choose the duration of your stay when ordering your card online, or ask for help purchasing yours at one of the city’s central train stations.
What to see at the Stedelijk Museum
The Stedelijk Museum has few rivals around the globe when it comes to modern art collections. You can expect to see works from some of the 20th century’s most celebrated figures, alongside a packed-out schedule of exhibits from some of today’s greatest innovators in the world of art, from sculpture to music and film.
What you can expect to see at the Stedelijk Museum is constantly changing, but there are some serious highlights among the museum’s permanent collection, including:
- Piet Mondrian – Composition No III with Red, Yellow and Blue
As the figurehead of the Dutch de Stijl movement, you’ll find several of Mondrian’s best-loved works in the museum, including this piece which will be instantly recognised by art fanatics and novices alike.
- Andy Warhol – Bellevue II
One of the biggest names in the history of the pop art movement, Andy Warhol is a prominent feature of the Stedelijk’s permanent collection. This work depicts a slumped body on a pavement surrounded by police officers, presented in Warhol’s common repeat-printed style.
- Claes Oldenburg – Saw (Hard Version II)
Sculpture artist Claes Oldenburg is renowned for his larger than life pieces that depict common items with a twist. This particular piece features a household saw, unusually warped to fit the dimensions of the room.
- Alvar Aalto – (Model 31/42)
Interior design works are also present all around the museum, with sections dedicated to the evolution of furniture design over the 20th and 21st centuries. It’s here you’ll see the iconic Model 31/42, the work of Finnish modernist architect and designer Alvar Aalto. This wooden chair is representative of his wider themes in the artistic world, of exploring the meeting point of functionality and natural forms and materials.
Stedelijk Museum History and Facts
The Stedelijk Museum’s history is every bit as rich and fascinating as the works contained inside it, and is interwoven with the story of the Dutch capital and its residents over the last two centuries.
A grand vision
The very first Stedelijk Museum opened its doors on the 14th September 1985. The gallery was a joint venture between local authorities and a selection of private individuals, who were embarking on a program to modernise the city of Amsterdam.
Its initial structure was a Dutch-influenced Neo-Renaissance style building, with a series of handsome pyramid roofs and elegant window detailing. Meanwhile, on the inside, a collection of militaria, Asiatic art, as well as chronometrical and pharmaceutical artefacts were spread across the gallery spaces.
A growing collection
The groundwork for the Stedelijk as we know it was laid by Cornelis Baard, who served as the museum’s creator between 1905 and 1920. It was at this time that the local authority began to gather its own collection of modern art, while the museum actively began to acquire pieces from 1930 onwards.
An exhibition known as the Museum of Applied Art opened in 1934, boasting an incredible collection of furniture, pottery, china, textiles, glasswork and graphic design of Dutch influence from around the turn of the 20th century. This was one of the city’s first exhibits to celebrate contemporary styles over more classical art and design, and the Stedelijk’s mission only grew from there.
With the breakout of the Second World War, the Stedelijk’s collection was transferred for safekeeping to a bunker hidden among sand dunes on the Dutch coast. Museum staff took turns to keep watch over the bunker, and the museum’s curator was even forced to flee by bicycle into the dunes when Nazis attempted to arrest him.
The post-war era
In the two decades following the war, the museum would go from strength to strength. It acquired works from famous artists including Matisse, Cezanne and Kirchner throughout the 40s and 50s. At the same time, fascination with the Dutch De Stijl and German Bauhaus movements earlier in the century continued to grow. By the 70s, the last period galleries at the Stedelijk closed and it became the purely contemporary art museum we know it as today.
The Stedelijk in the 21st Century
In 2003, the museum was forced to relocate to a temporary location as its original building was deemed unsafe. This brought with it the opportunity to extend and redevelop the Stedelijk.
The refurbished original building reopened its doors in early 2010, followed by the launch of its new wing in September 2012. Amusingly known as “the Bathtub” among locals for its white bowl-like ceiling, it brought a futuristic feel to the museum and its connecting spaces that it is as much a spectacle as the works that fill it.
Restaurants, bars, and shops near the Stedelijk Museum
Has browsing all that modern art made you peckish? Then no problem at all, as you’re right in the thick of some of Amsterdam’s best spots to drink and dine.
The best restaurants near the Stedelijk Museum
With its central location, you’ll find some of Amsterdam’s coolest eateries in the immediate vicinity of the Stedelijk.
- Sama Sebo – This restaurant offers the freshest Indonesian dishes and colourful sharing platters, served up between bamboo-lined walls.
- Pompa – A superb lunch spot, with delicious soups and sandwiches offered alongside favourites like pasta and seafood.
- Sita Djanoko – A curry lovers’ paradise, with some of the finest Indian food in all of Amsterdam.
- De Knijp – A cool and contemporary restaurant with delectable bistro dishes served until late.
- Yerba – A super contemporary plant-based eatery serving up beautifully presented and experimental plates.
- MOMO – high-end Asian fusion dishes meet a sleek and minimalistic dining space.
The best bars near the Stedelijk Museum
If you’ve visited the Stedelijk late on, it’d be a shame not to toast off your day exploring the Dutch capital with a Heineken or colourful cocktail, wouldn’t it? Thankfully, you won’t need to travel far.
- Bistrot des Alpes – A Dutch-Asian spot in a sleek, minimalist setting. An excellent choice for dinner.
- Eerlijk – A bright, airy spot for brunch or lunch. This is a locals’ favourite with stand-out food.
- Bar Claes – A super stylish spot that offers one of the best gin collections in the city.
- FUEGO by Chupitos – A raucous little party spot that specialises in fiery shots and shooters.
- Taiko Bar – One of the city’s coolest spots, with live DJs and experimental cocktails served up in an ultra-modern setting that gives off Bangkok or Tokyo vibes.
- BARDAK – A small and friendly bar with a great selection of spirits and bar snacks.
Shopping at the Stedelijk Museum
If you’re planning on leaving Amsterdam with more than you arrived with, whether you’re treating yourself or picking up some gifts, you’re in exactly the right place when you visit the Stedelijk.
There’s a super cool and quirky collection on offer in the museum’s dedicated shop, including everything from art books through to iconic pieces from the world of interior design. But if it’s fashion you’ve got your eye on, you’ll need to head to Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat, which is a little more than 150 metres north of the Stedelijk. Here you’ll find top names from across the globe, including Hermes, Azzurro, Moncler, Longchamp, Burberry and Chanel. It’s one of the most exclusive shopping streets in all the city, so you’re sure to find something special.
Stedelijk Museum Opening Times and Ticket Prices
As with many of Amsterdam’s top attractions, you can expect the Stedelijk to be busy at all times, so it’s always a good idea to book in advance. What’s more, this will save you having to queue at the door.
You’ll be pleased to know the Stedelijk is open 365 days a year – even on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day! It opens from 10:00 to 18:00, with evening slots to be available on Fridays from the 1st October, as late as 20:00.
How much does it cost to visit the Stedelijk Museum?
When you book your Stedelijk ticket, you’ll need to select a timeslot for when you plan to arrive at the museum. You’ll be pleased to hear that anyone under the age of 18 can enter the museum for free, but you’ll still need to reserve a ticket for them.
Prices for the museum during 2020 are:
Children (under 18)
You can visit for free if you have an I Amsterdam Card, which is also a great way to use public transport during your time in Amsterdam.
Taking the train to Amsterdam?
Taking the train to Amsterdam is one of the easiest and quickest ways to travel from many major destinations across Europe. Modern high-speed trains are ready to whisk you from one city to another, and some of the most popular train journeys include Paris to Amsterdam (3h 12m), Brussels to Amsterdam (1h 45m) and London to Amsterdam (4h 2m).
On your way home you'll also enjoy quick journey times, including Amsterdam to Paris (3h 13m), Amsterdam to Brussels (1h 46m) and Amsterdam to London (5h 11m - although a new quicker direct route is launching later this year).
Feeling inspired to take the train? Why not find out more about travelling around the Netherlands by train in our trains in the Netherlands guide.