Visit the best Amsterdam museums and immerse yourself in the capital’s rich culture
If you’re looking for a museum, Amsterdam delivers. This culturally-rich capital has a plethora of museums to visit whether your interests include art, history, or flowers – or all three. Located in the city centre, you just have to walk through its cobbled streets and you’ll come across hidden gems in restored houses, or grand feats of architecture showcasing the prestige of times gone. From the Dutch Golden Age to the history of Diamonds, here is a guide to top Amsterdam museums.
If you’re looking for the iconic Amsterdam Art Museum, look no further than the Rijksmuseum (the Dutch ‘ij’ being pronounced ‘eye’). Before you step through the hallowed doors, take a moment outside – you only need to look at the building to get a sense of its grandiose and importance. Within you’ll find over 8000 objects, artefacts and paintings for you to enjoy including famous masterpieces by the Dutch Golden Age such as ‘Night Watch’ by Rembrandt and Vermeer’s ‘The Milkmaid’. It’s more than just a tourist attraction, Rijksmuseum is an incredible insight into the rich history of Holland’s art and culture.
Tip: Outside you’ll also find the ‘i amsterdam’ sign, too, a modern landmark of its own right.
Learn more with our comprehensive guide to visiting the Rijksmuseum.
For those interested in the history of the city, how Amsterdam has evolved into the bustling capital as we know it and what it might look like in the future then make a bee-line for Amsterdam Museum. Located in the former City Orphanage, even the building has a history of its own. Amsterdam Museum has many exhibitions great for all the family, from its interactive Amsterdam DNA exhibition, The Little Orphanage, the new permanent World-City exhibition and The Most Beautiful City, an exhibition through the eyes of Eberhard van der Laan. Showcasing other engaging temporary exhibitions and with an on-site café, this is a museum you’ll can spend a lot of time in.
Amsterdam Tulip Museum
The charming Jordaan area is a firm favourite for its boutiques and galleries and quintessentially ‘Amsterdam’ cobbled streets and canals. Located in a small canal house, Amsterdam Tulip Museum showcases the national flower of the Netherlands: the tulip. Once used as currency, this symbolic flower used to hold high economic value during the mid-seventeenth century, the time of the Dutch Golden Age. It even spurred on ‘Tulipomania’! Now, visit this iconic museum to learn about its fascinating history – for example, they’re not even native to the Netherlands – and stop off at the souvenir shop on your way out for all manner of tulip-related gifts including real bulbs to plant in your own garden.
Tip: if you’re taking the tram (13 & 15) the stop is Westermarkt and if you plan to visit on a Monday there’s a big outdoor flea market held in the morning along Westerstraat. So, either beat the crowds, or enjoy an hour at the stalls! You’d get off at the same stop if you were to visit Anne Frank Huis, too.
Rembrandt House Museum
The Rembrandt Museum Amsterdam pays homage to the legacy of one of the greatest artists of all time; Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. Explore the artist’s former home, now museum, nestled right in the heart of the city, and you’ll learn more about him than just his portfolio of works. The house has been refurbished in the style of the period in which he lived, and visitors can see that he was much more than just a painter; teacher, entrepreneur, collector, and more humbly – just an ordinary citizen of Amsterdam. Make sure this one goes on your list for must-visit Amsterdam museums.
The Diamond Museum Amsterdam is not your average museum experience – not many Amsterdam museums involve so much decadence. This museum will take visitors back in time, three billion years back in time, and down into the core of the earth. Founded in 2007, this relatively new museum was established by a diamond expert keen to share his craft and passion with the world. And so, the Diamond Museum Amsterdam was born. If you’re someone who loves the glitz and glamour or can appreciate the incredible natural processes that happen here on earth, then plan your visit. View the many famous artefacts and crowns showcased in the exhibits and take a private Diamond Masterclass, too, to learn how to tell the difference between a real and a fake.
National Maritime Museum
The Dutch Golden Age, during the seventeenth-century, was a booming time for trade, science, art, and military and maritime power. Amsterdam was even the largest port in the world during that period. A visit to this fascinating museum offers a chance to board a replica of the 18th-century cargo ship, Amsterdam, as well as discover a myriad of exhibitions within the historic museum building to traverse over 500 years of history. Don’t overlook the Lands Zeemagazijn building, built in the Golden Age, as well as the Het Scheepvaartmuseum library, Inner Courtyard (especially at night when it lights up) – and of course the Admiralty of Amsterdam. For a more profound experience there’s an optional audio tour to enhance your experience of this Amsterdam museum.