Must See Museums of Amsterdam

Amsterdam has a unique and historic collections of museums not to be missed. In fact, there are 42 museums and galleries represented in this city. Here is a look at seven must-see museums in the city of Amsterdam.

Many travelers trek to Amsterdam for a great many reasons.  The city has earned a reputation over the years as the destination to head to for all kinds of entertainment opportunities.  One of the more overlooked areas where visitors can find something both interesting and entertaining are the museums that can be found there.  The city of Amsterdam attracts people with a wide variety of interests as well as from many different backgrounds.  The selection of museums the city has to offer is so widespread that there honestly is something for nearly everyone. 


Video on Amsterdam Museums

The Rijksmuseum

Founded in 1800, the Rijksmuseum features among other things a very extensive collection of artwork from what is known as the Dutch Golden Age, the 15th to the late 19th century.  Housed in its current building since 1885, the museum has seen a number of architectural changes over the years, each one more impressive than the one before.  The museum is also home to the Rijksmuseum Research Library, one of the largest pubic art history research libraries in the world, and the largest in The Netherlands.  The most prized work on display at The Rijksmuseum is Rembrandt's The Night Watch which for more than one hundred years has hung in its own exhibit hall.  The museum also contains works from Johannes Vermeer such as 'The Milkmaid' and 'The Love Letter'.  The museum is dedicated to displaying exhibits related to both art and history.  The museum is not isolated to Dutch art, but also contains a gallery of Asian Art, namely China, Japan, India, and Indonesia.  Sculptures, paper paintings, porcelain, ceramics are some of the Asian art highlights to be found here. 


The Tropenmuseum

One of the more fascinating museums devoted to studying the various tropical cultures around the world can be found in Amsterdam.  The Tropenmuseum is run by the Royal Tropical Institute and features both permanent and rotating exhibits of all kinds, each one relating some new and interesting aspect of tropical life.  There are over 340,000 pieces consisting of actual objects that can be examined and in some cases even touched and held by those visiting the museum.  The Tropenmuseum also has many exhibits and programs focused directly at children of all ages which is great for a visit by the whole family. Every month, they take a certain region and spotlight it, whether it's Africa, Asia, or South America. A visitor gets to hear the story behind the objects they are looking at.



Joods Historisch Museum

A very interesting look at one specific aspect of history can be found at the Joods Historisch Museum.  This museum is dedicated to the history and culture of Jewish people both in The Netherlands, as well as around the world.  The recently remodeled museum has received numerous awards and is routinely named by travel enthusiasts as one of the highlights of a visit to Amsterdam.  The museum was actually founded before World War II, in 1932, but was forced to close due to the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during the war.  It reopened in 1955 and has been one of the best historical places to visit in Amsterdam ever since.



Amsterdams Historisch Museum

The Amsterdams Historisch Museum is the facility to head to for anyone wishing to learn more about the city of Amsterdam itself, as well as the surrounding area.  This is much more than an ordinary local museum as it features many exhibits relating to the city's earliest history, along with a great number of artifacts and informational displays detailing life in Amsterdam during World War II.  The opportunity to see actual objects that date back to the Middle Ages in the same museum that displays one of the earliest environmentally friendly vehicles is one that any visitor to Amsterdam who has an interest in history should definitely not pass up.


Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House
Anne Frank House
photo by: JoetheLion

While it is one of the smaller museums in the country, the Anne Frank House is quite possibly the most famous historical museum and site in the entire city of Amsterdam.  The museum opened in 1960 in the actual building where Anne Frank, her family, and others hid from Nazi persecution.   If you are not familiar with Anne Frank, she is a Jewish girl that detailed her life in her diary during German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II.   She hid in this house and in her diary she describes her life during this horrendous period.  Today, the museum houses many exhibits detailing discrimination and persecution of all kinds from every corner of the world. If there is any place you wish to visit in the Netherlands, this is by far the first place you should go.

The Van Gogh Museum

As the home to the largest collection of Vincent van Gogh paintings that can be found any where in the world, the Van Gogh Museum is one of the top attractions in the city of Amsterdam.  The large amount of works by Van Gogh in one location allow for a somewhat easy opportunity to follow the artist's development of his own craft, style and talent.  The museum houses much more than paintings by Van Gogh though, as there are also exhibits that detail comparisons that can be made of the works of multiple major 19th century artists, along with general 19th century art history displays too. The main hall also displays exhibits on phases of his life.

Rembrandt House Museum

A great opportunity is available for those interested in art history while they visit Amsterdam through the chance to actually enter the home where Rembrandt lived and painted from 1639 to 1656.  The house has been preserved and is today a museum dedicated to both the art and life of Rembrandt.  The museum opened in 1911 and has gone on to display some of Rembrandt's greatest works over the years, many purchased by or donated to the museum, and many others on loan to the facility.

Visiting Amsterdam

To find the best deal on your trip to Amsterdam, try checking the airlines directly. Another option is to choose online booking agencies such as Travelocity or Orbitz.  Check to see if there is a travelocity promotional code to European destinations for lowering your costs. Depending on the length of your vacation, you may save significantly. Orbitz also offers orbitz promo codes and it may be another viable option in savings. If you are booking last minute try and check if there is a promo code available as well. 

While there are a great many attractions worth seeing in the city of Amsterdam, a visit to the city is not complete without stops at a number of the more famous and well equipped museums found there.  From local history, to art exhibits, to world and cultural history, Amsterdam has more than enough options to impress and interest even the most discriminating travelers that should venture to the city.  Amsterdam is a first class vacation and travel destination, and one of the things that makes it so is its fine selection of museums.  They truly are some of the best highlights of a visit to this wonderful and exciting city.


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Last updated by traveldude on 4/11/2009
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