Amsterdam is a vibrant European destination brimming with culture. There are over 400 museums in this compact city, making it a must-visit destination for curious, knowledge-hungry travellers. Amsterdam’s museums are incredibly popular so whenever you visit, there are likely to be other people around. Generally, though, the best time to visit Amsterdam’s museums is between 9am and 11am or 3pm and 5pm when the crowds are likely to be a bit smaller. Visit on a weekday if you can as weekends tend to be much busier. Remember that many of Amsterdam’s museums will close on public holidays. Check the website or call before you visit to ensure that your museum of choice is open.
From traditional museums featuring art, history, film and photography to more unexpected offerings such as the ‘Museum of Bags and Purses’ and the ‘Kattenkabinet’ (a museum that includes only work that features cats!) there really is something to cater to every interest. Amsterdam’s most famous museums like the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk museum all sit around the Museumplein (Museum Square). Amsterdam’s other cultural offerings are dotted throughout the city. As you wander between them, take in the city’s beautiful canals and architecture and think how lucky you are to have landed in one of Europe’s most culturally exciting cities! Don’t forget to sign up for your I Amsterdam City Card, and get access to all major museums, public transport, bike rent and restaurants for a cheaper price!
So, without further ado, here’s our list of The Best Museums in Amsterdam for you to check out when you’re visiting the city:
The Must-Visit Museums
These majestic Amsterdam museums don’t need any introduction. Discover the history behind the pioneering paintings of Baroque and Contemporary Art and find out the opening hours to book an unforgettable visit with those you want. If you can’t get enough museums and art galleries, check out our guide to the best street art in Amsterdam.
1. The Rijksmuseum
An expansive museum that houses the Dutch Masters and an incredible array of art and objects that tell the story of Holland’s history
Sitting majestically at the top of Museum Square, The Rijksmuseum is probably the most famous museum in Amsterdam. It houses a vast collection of art and artefacts, showcasing the art and history of Holland from the Middle Ages to the present day. Some of the most famous pieces at The Rijksmuseum include Rembrandt van Rijn’s Night Watch and Johannes Vermeer’s The Milkmaid, both of which were painted during The Dutch Golden Age. With over 8,000 objects spread across 80 rooms, it is quite possible to spend a whole day wandering the grand galleries of The Rijksmuseum. Who’s ready for a visit?
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 9am – 5pm (Open Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day)
Book Your Visit: admissions for adults are €19 online (€ 20.00 at the museum)
2. The Van Gogh Museum
The prolific Dutch post-impressionist takes centre stage at this vast museum. View many of his famous works alongside pieces by his famous contemporaries
Dedicated to the work of Vincent Van Gogh and his contemporaries, The Van Gogh Museum draws in millions of visitors per year to see famous works such as The Starry Night, Sunflowers and The Bedroom. Entirely refurbished in 2013, the museum offers a cutting-edge exhibition space befitting such an impressive collection of art. Recent exhibitions have also showcased work by Van Gogh’s notable peers including Munch, Gauguin, Kadinsky and Vallotton. If you’re looking to visit one of the most famous art museums in Amsterdam, then The Van Gogh Museum should be high on your list.
Van Gogh Museum
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday: 9am – 6pm/ Friday: 9am – 9pm/ Saturday & Sunday: 9am – 6pm.
Book Your Visit: Admission starts for adults at €19 online (€ 20.00 at the museum) – Free admission with an Amsterdam City Card
3. Stedelijk Museum
A modern art heavyweight housing an array of art, objects and design from the turn of the last century up until the present day
If old oil paintings aren’t really your thing then a visit to the Stedelijk Museum could be just the ticket for you. Striving to be one of the most innovative and interesting museums of modern art in the world, Stedelijk houses an eclectic collection of around 90,000 artworks and objects dating from 1870 to the present day. Discover work by artists from major movements like Bauhaus, Dr Stijl, abstract impressionism and pop art – amongst many others. The Stedelijk design collection is particularly interesting, showcasing furniture, ceramics, jewellery, posters and other objects that illustrate the history of design from the turn of the century to today.
Stedelijk Museum – Museum of Modern Art
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday: 10am – 6pm/ Friday: 10am – 10pm/ Saturday & Sunday: 10am – 6pm
Book Your Visit: admissions start at €18.50 for adults online
4. Moco Museum
Home to some of the world’s greatest subversive art, a visit to the Moco museum is a must whilst you’re in Amsterdam
Banksy, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein are just some of the visionary artists you’ll find at the Moco Museum. Thanks to the personal network of founders Lionel and Kim Logchies, you’ll be able to see exclusive pieces that have previously been held in personal collections or private galleries. With a desire to appeal to a wide audience, Irony and humour are used by featured artists to reflect on modern society. If you’re out to see some rock stars of the art world during your visit to Amsterdam, then Moco Museum is the place to head.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday from 9am to 7pm
Book Your Visit: admissions start at €13.50 online for adults (€ 14.50 at the museum)
The Quirky Amsterdam Museums
Some of the best museums to visit in Amsterdam are the quirky ones. These lesser-known cultural gems contain intriguing and eclectic collections that will surprise, delight and inspire. Make sure you check out at least one of these whilst you tour the museums of Amsterdam. And If you’re always on the lookout for fun things to do while travelling, check out our recommendations of 10 quirky things to do with your friends In Amsterdam!
5. Cat Cabinet (Kattenkabinet)
A museum dedicated solely to cats? You heard right. It’s an unusual approach, but take a wander around Cat Cabinet and you’ll soon be feline fine.
Are you crazy about cats? Then step right this way. Kattenkabinet is an Amsterdam museum dedicated to the role of our feline friends in art and culture throughout history. Housed in a beautiful old canal house that was used as a location in Ocean’s Twelve, it’s a pleasure to stroll through the grand rooms taking in the impressive collection of cat-inspired paintings, posters, sculptures and objects. Best of all, the collection is watched over by a few friendly felines, so if you’re in need of a kitty fix this could be just the place.
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday from 12pm to 5pm
Book Your Visit: admissions start at €7 for adults (free for childer <12)
6. Museum Vrolik
A museum for those with an interest in anatomy and a strong stomach… you have been warned!
For those with a strong constitution only, Museum Vrolik is home to an incredible – if slightly macabre – a collection of medical case studies accumulated by 19th-century medical professor Gerardus Vrolik and his son Willem. The fascinating collection contains a substantial range of conserved anatomical specimens, skulls, skeletons and anatomical models and reconstructions. Museum Vrolik is certainly not your average museum, but if you’re looking for something a bit weird and wacky that’s off the main tourist track then this collection of bodily curiosities is certainly worth a visit.
1105 AZ AMSTERDAM
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 11am – 5pm
Book Your Visit: admissions start at €7 for adults
7. Electric Ladyland
Eccentric, eclectic and ever so colourful, a visit to Electric Ladyland is a cracking way to spend an afternoon in Amsterdam
They say that all good things come in small packages and this is certainly true of Electric Ladyland. This tiny basement contains ‘the world’s first museum of fluorescent art’ and, in our books, it’s one of the best museums to visit in Amsterdam. Owned by an enthusiastic geologist with a passion for rocks and naturally occurring fluorescent minerals, you’ll find a permanent collection of fluorescent minerals, fluorescent artworks from the 1950s, and other artefacts giving off an otherworldly glow. For real fluoro fanatics, there’s even a large-scale fluorescent environment where you can temporarily become part of the exhibition yourself!
Tweede Leliedwarsstraat 5
Opening Hours: Wednesday – Sunday: 2pm – 6pm (by appointment only)
Book Your Visit: admissions start at €5 for adults (Children under 12 go free)
The Free Museums in Amsterdam
If you’re looking for free museums in Amsterdam, you’re going to need to venture away from the venues around Museumplein where admission prices are generally high. Take a chance on some less obvious museum choices to get your cultural fix and you’ll be left with much more pennies in your pocket at the end of your trip. If you’re planning your stay on a budget with your friends, then you shouldn’t miss our cheap, handy guide to visiting Amsterdam on a weekend!
8. The EYE Film Museum
A haven for film fanatics, jump on the free ferry from the back of Centraal Station and soak up the impressive architecture and gorgeous views from the EYE
Just next door to ClinkNOORD is one of our favourite museums in Amsterdam, The EYE Film Museum. This architecturally stunning building is one of Amsterdam’s modern icons. Sitting on the Northern bank of the River IJ, it contains a cinema, film museum and café-restaurant. Head downstairs where you’ll find a free permanent exhibition that displays items marking notable moments in cinema history. Check out the legendary 35mm Mitchell camera from yesteryear or settle down in a special pod where you can sit and view film footage on Cinemascope screens. Once you’re done, head to the EYE café / restaurant and treat yourself to a cuppa and enjoy the beautiful views across the river.
The Eye Film Museum
Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 10am – 10pm/ Friday – Saturday: 10am – 11pm
Book Your Visit: admissions for film screenings start at €11/ Free entry to the building and the permanent basement exhibition
9. Amsterdam City Archives
History lovers rejoice! The Amsterdam City Archives houses an incredible amount of information about Holland’s past. And the building is impressive too
Located in the incredibly beautiful De Bazel building, the Amsterdam City Archives houses a historical topographical collection with millions of drawings, maps, pictures, extensive audio, film and photo archives. A visit here is a great way to find out more about the history of Amsterdam. Entry to the building and the archives is free. Tickets to the exhibitions, which are put on regularly, are just €3 and are excellent value if you’re looking for an interesting outing without breaking the bank. Even if you’re not into history, the De Bazel building is worth a visit in itself. With lots of natural light and a unique interior design, there’s plenty to take in.
Amsterdam City Archives
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 5pm/ Saturday & Sunday: 12pm – 5pm
Book Your Visit: admission tickets and guides tours start at €3/ Free entry to the archives
Take a stroll to the historic Begijnhof on a nice sunny day and imagine the Amsterdam of yesteryear
Although not strictly a museum, Beginhof is definitely worth a visit if you’re looking to visit one of Amsterdam’s most interesting historical places for free. Dating back to the 14th century, Begijnhof is one of Amsterdam’s most well-known hofjes (almshouses). Built around a secluded courtyard and garden, this group of houses provided modest homes for the Beguines (a group of unmarried religious women who lived together under vows of chastity). Make sure to check out Houten Huys (The Wooden House) at Begijnhof 34 – it’s the oldest house in Amsterdam! The chapel with its series of panels telling the story of the Miracle of Amsterdam is also well worth a visit. The last Beguine died in the 1970s but over 100 single women still live in the dwellings so do make sure to be quiet and respect the residents whilst visiting.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 9am – 5pm
Looking for more? Follow Lesia Tale as she discovers the best museums in Amsterdam!
We’ve teamed up with tour experts Sandemans to offer you a FREE walking tour, leaving every day at 10.20 am from our amazing (and cheap) hostel in Amsterdam ClinkNOORD. If you’re looking to experience the city on a budget and meet new friends, this is for you!
Planning on staying in Amsterdam for a few days?
For more information on what to do in Amsterdam with your friends, don’t miss our handy guide to fun things to do in Amsterdam. And if you’re visiting the city for the first time, check also the 14 facts about Amsterdam you didn’t know yet! Book your stay at ClinkNOORD’s cheap youth hostel in Amsterdam or check our group booking accommodations in the Dutch capital.
And if you need some new tunes to listen to whilst you travel, check out our Clink Hostels travel Playlist on Spotify!