From the exquisite art of the famed Dutch Masters to a humble home made famous by the diary of a brave little girl whose family had been forced into hiding, Amsterdam's museums are among the best that Europe has to offer. In a city that's big on fun and full of vibrant street life, be sure to make time to experience what's inside and on the walls of its revered cultural attractions. Here's a look at eleven of the city's most engaging museums.
Anne Frank Huis – Anne Frank House
It's hard to find the right words with respect to recommending the Anne Frank House to visitors to Amsterdam. You wouldn't say going there is an “enjoyable” experience, and time spent at the house might well put a damper on the rest of your day. But for an expertly curated experience based upon a very personal account of one of the 20th centuries most significant events – and for a strong dose of inspiration – a tour of the Anne Frank House is a must. Find out more about Anne Frank's story of courage at annefrank.org.
Cobra Museum of Modern Art
Sandbergplein 1 (Amstelveen)
Located on the southern outskirts of the city in Amstelveen, this modern art museum features works by mid 20th century avant guard artists associated with the Cobra movement, known for their stance on “creative freedom and experimentation, passion and vitality, and social engagement.” Learn about the Cobra movement and this fine museum at cobra-museum.nl.
Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam - Foam Photography Museum
Amsterdam's photography museum is based in a 150-year-old house on one of the city's central canals and exhibits a range of photography related shows based on the works of historic, iconic and up-and-coming artists. Have an online look at foam.org.
A branch of the celebrated Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia, the Amsterdam outlet is home to two permanent exhibitions, one describing Netherlands-Russia relations and another about the historic Amstelhof building within which the museum is located. The museums show two or three temporary exhibitions throughout the year usually highlighting works from or exhibitions originally hosted by its Russian parent museum. Visit Hermitage Amsterdam online at hermitage.nl.
Het Scheepvaart Museum – The National Maritime Museum
A visit to the Netherlands' National Maritime Museum is an opportunity to discover more than 500 years of history and tradition while marvelling at this low lying coastal nation's ability to live in relative harmony with the sea. For details, go to hetscheepvaartmuseum.nl.
Joods Historisch Museum – Jewish Historial Museum
Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1
In the heart of Amsterdam's square mile Jewish Cultural Quarter alongside “beautiful synagogues, striking buildings and impressive monuments,” the Jewish Historical Museum is dedicated to Jewish history, culture and religion, in the Netherlands and around the world. Find out more at jhm.nl.
Museum Het Rembrandthuis – Rembrandt House Museum
Visit the actual home and studio of one of Amsterdam's most celebrated residents – and one of the world's most important artists, Rembrandt van Rijn. This lovingly restored house offers insight into not only the life and times of Rembrandt but also what is was like to be in Amsterdam during the 17th century. Go to rembrandthuis.nl for information.
Rijksmuseum – The Museum of the Netherlands
Art history lovers know this is one of the greatest museums in the world. Dedicated to the major role art from this tiny nation has played across the globe, it is home to one of the most significant collections of masterpiece paintings ever assembled with works by Rembrandt, Vermeer and many more. Have a look at rijksmuseum.nl.
Science Center Nemo
This “world of science and technology” has lots of hands-on exhibits and activities for kids spread across five floors in a building designed by “starchitect” Renzo Piano. Visit the museum online at e-nemo.nl.
Amsterdam's museum of modern art, contemporary art, and design, the Stedelijk is home to works by iconic (and iconoclastic) artists such as Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Ernst, Chagall, Matisse, Pollock, Warhol, de Kooning, Gilbert & George and many more! For details, go to stedelijk.nl.
Van Gogh Museum
Paulus Potterstraat 7
Perhaps you've heard of this artist or have at least an impression of what his paintings look like? The museum has the largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh in the world and “provides the opportunity to keep track of the artist's developments, or compare his paintings to works by other artists from the 19th century in the collection.” Visit the Van Gogh Museum's website at vangoghmuseum.nl.
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