Home Things To Do Which Museum in Amsterdam is The Best? A Complete Guide

Which Museum in Amsterdam is The Best? A Complete Guide

by Rafal Sulowski

Amsterdam is a city of contrasts and surprises. For me, one of them was the number of museums and exhibitions available in this city. Dare to guess? It is 400! It means that for more than a year you could go to a new place to see art or learn something about history etc. It’s an exciting perspective for locals or students but for those who can’t afford the time to see everything here’s the shortcut – a complete guide to the best Amsterdam’s museums.

Photo by MichaelDBeckwith || Pixabay

If you want to see art masterpieces go to Rijksmuseum and Hermitage Amsterdam. For a history lesson try Anne Frank Huis or Allard Pierson Museum. If you have kids and a whole day to spare NEMO Science Museum should be your prior destination. EYE Filmmuseum, FOAM or Tropenmuseum are for those interested in cultural events or activities.

You will find the complete list of 15 best museums in Amsterdam along with short info about exhibitions, opening times and ticket prices. Next section is for those interested in a specific topic, like art, nature or technology – you will find there additional places you can go to.

List of 15 Best Amsterdam Museums

1. Rijksmuseum

Photo by rebel1965 || Pixabay

Think ART. And think DUTCH 17TH CENTURY ARTISTS. There is no other way to talk about what you will be able to see in this place. There are paintings of course, of no other than Johannes Vermeer and Frans Hals for example. And of course – Rembrandt’s Night watch is there to be admired. But other than that you can see model ships, costumes, figures – there are about 8000 items on display (chosen from the collection of 1 million). Even if you are not a total art freak, this place should be on your must-see list. When you are there, don’t forget to download the free museum app with 14 themed tours which will help you not get lost in this world of beautiful objects.

Opening times: daily 9 AM – 5 PM
Address: Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam
Tickets: 20€ adults (19€ when bought online), under 18 – free admission
Visit Rijksmuseum website for more information – Link Here

2. Anne Frank Huis

Photo by cliffoa || Pixabay

It is a place I think everyone visiting Amsterdam should see – a house where the Frank family along with four other people were hiding for two years from the German Nazis who were occupying the Netherlands at the time. Among them was Anne – a 13-year-old girl who, during her two years spent in the secret in the house, Anne wrote her famous diary about living in hiding. Only one person – Anne’s father Otto survived WWII.

Opening Times:
1 November – 1 April: daily 9 AM to 7 PM, Saturdays 9 AM to 10 PM
1 April – 1 November: daily 09 AM to 10 PM
Address: Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV Amsterdam
Tickets: can be only bought online and should be better booked in advance. 80% of the tickets for the specific date is available precisely two months prior at noon. The rest appears on the website for sale on the day itself at 9 AM. 10€ adults, 5€ children 10 – 17 years old, children under ten free admission. To each price, you should add 0.5€ for the online booking

Visit Anne Frank House website for more information and tickets Link Here

3. NEMO Science Museum

Photo by Erik_Lyngsoe  || Pixabay

One of still too few places where science combined with technology equals… FUN! There are various exhibitions; the latest one is all about space and farthest corners of our universe. There are also exhibitions where you can experience physics and geometry and although I don’t understand half of the things you may see and do there (what’s polyhedra for crying out loud?) it all looks so interesting I may as well buy a ticket right now. In addition to those displays, there are various activities, like chemistry experiments or Chain Reaction demonstrations. It is the best place to go with the kids – they’re gonna love it and learn so much at the same time. But I dare think that the fun won’t be all kids, you know?

Opening Times: daily 10 AM – 5.30 PM except for some Mondays
Tickets: adults and children over four years old 17.5€, children under four years old free admission
Address: Oosterdok 2, 1011 VX Amsterdam
Nemo website – Link Here

4. Tropenmuseum

Photo courtesy of Alexander Svensson|| Flickr

Other known as Tropical Museum it is a place dedicated to world cultures. There is one permanent exhibition, “Things that matter” (in general it is about how material things may help preserve nation’s identity) but other than that you should check what is on before you decide to visit. Until 12 January 2020, you will be able to see “Longing for Mecca” exhibition, about Hajj – Muslim’s pilgrimage to Mecca. There is another exhibition “Cool Japan” available only until 1 September 2019 so if you are into Japanese warriors or Kawaii that is an excellent opportunity to see something interesting.

Opening Times: Tuesday – Sunday: 10 AM – 5 PM, The museum is also open on a bunch of Holiday Mondays
Tickets: 16€ adults, 10€ students, 8€ children 4 – 18 years old
Address: Linnaeusstraat 2, 1092 CK Amsterdam

5. FOAM photography

Photo Courtesy of Oscar Anjewierden|| Flickr

It is a FOtografiemuseum AMsterdam (hence the abbreviation), so, naturally, you get to see lots of photographs in there. But not only – works of video- and multimedia artists are on display as well. You will have to check the website to find out what is currently on, but you can be sure to see some photos of the world-famous artist. But FOAM is much more than just a photo gallery – they host a print-shop and a library, but most of all you can participate in (sometimes free) photography workshops. Some of them are in English (again – the website will tell you all) and you can for example practice portrait photography or express yourself in these such as “Still life”. If you worry about not having a good enough camera on you, the museum provides Olympus cameras for the participants.

Opening Times:
Saturday – Wednesday: 10 AM – 6 PM, Thursday – Friday 10 AM – 9 PM,
Tickets: 12.5€ adults (or you can make a donation and pay 15.5€), students 9.5€, children under 12 free admission.
Address: Keizersgracht 609, 1017 DS Amsterdam
Visit FOAM website – Link Here

6. Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder


The museum as of 2015 consists of two buildings, the first, modern one is, in fact, an entrance to the other, built in the Dutch Golden Age. You can access this second building by an underground passage and thus step into the long-gone world of 17th century Amsterdam. You can see various beautifully preserved rooms: the reception hall, day room and kitchen – everything there will help you imagine how the everyday life was going on back then. But the most stunning feature of the museum is the attic, which was turned by the owner into… a Catholic church. He did it during times when there was no other option to participate in the Holy Mass than in the private house. But Jan Hartman took this “private mass option” to the whole another level as he merged the attics of three buildings to create a proper church.

Opening Times: Monday – Saturday: 10 AM – 6 PM, Sunday 1 PM – 6 PM.
Tickets: 12.5€ adults, 6€ children 5-17 years old, children under five free admission.
Address: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 38, 1012 GD Amsterdam

Visit Website for more information – Link Here

7. Moco Museum

Photo Courtesy of Tomasz Baranowski|| Flickr

This is a place, where on the permanent display you can see works by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Keith Haring. But what I would really want to see the most is the current exhibition of works by no other than Banksy itself. The pieces are borrowed from their owners, and the exhibition is not authorised by the author (which may be for the best, at least the pieces remain intact). You can see there Banksy’s indoor works – on canvas, wood and paper which is a very rare occasion. The exhibition is about to be on display until September 2019, so there’s still plenty of time to see it!

Opening Times: Daily: 9 AM – 7 PM
Tickets: 13.50€ (or 14.50 when not bought online) for adults, 11€ (12€) young adults 16-17 years old, 8.50€ youth 10-15 years old, younger kids free of charge.
Address: Honthorststraat 20, 1071 DE Amsterdam
Visit Moco website for more information and tickets – Link Here

8. Hermitage Amsterdam

Photo Courtesy of Nigel Swales|| Flickr

It is an offspring of the famous St. Petersburg State Hermitage Museum with no permanent exhibition. What they do is take some of the artefacts from the museum in Russia and put it on display for six months or so. At the moment you can see for example the Outsider Art Museum with works of untrained artists. But one of the current exhibitions – named Treasury! – is something a bit else as the museum is celebrating its 9th anniversary. Until August 2019 you will be able to see real treasures from the whole history of art. Among the artefacts are for example works of Da Vinci, Dürer, Van Dyck, Matisse and other famous artists.

Opening Times: daily 10 AM – 5 PM
Tickets: 25€ adults, children under 12 free of charge. You can also buy tickets only for the Treasury! exhibition, for 18€.
Address: Amstel 51, 1018 EJ Amsterdam
Visit Hermitage website for more information – Link Here

9. Stedelijk Museum

Photo Courtesy of Stedelijk Museum || Facebook profile

Museum of modern and contemporary art – a must see for those who are into 20th and 21st-century masterpieces. On permanent display, there are 700 pieces, and the exhibition STEDELIJK BASE is divided into part one (with works of Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, Gerrit Rietveld, Nola Hatterman and others) and part two hosting pieces from the 1980s till present times. It is modern art history in a shell, definitely worth seeing.

Opening Times: Daily, 10 AM-6 PM, except Thursdays until 10 PM
Tickets: Adults: 18.50€, students: 10€
Address: Paulus Potterstraat 13, 1071 CX Amsterdam
Visit Stedelijk museum for more information – Link Here

10. EYE Filmmuseum

Photo by Anemone123 || Pixabay

This is a great place to hang out. You can see a permanent display about the history of filmmaking, find out interesting details from other exhibitions – like for example the analysis of documentary films and the way they can change viewers’ perspective on real-life events. There is also Panorama: permanent presentation about amazing film devices. You can finally spend the whole day watching films so rarely available in cinemas that the experience will be definitely one of a kind. There are old or more contemporary movies to watch, and most of them were made by not very known directors so it may be virtually impossible to see them in the cinema elsewhere. Films are screened with the English subtitles.

Opening Times: daily 10 AM – 7 PM
Tickets: For the films: adults 11€, children under 12 years old 7.5€. For the exhibition: adults 11€, students 8€. Permanent presentations are available with either exhibition or film ticket.
Address: IJpromenade 1, 1031 KT Amsterdam
Visit Eye website for more information – Link Here

11. Museum Van Loon

Photo Courtesy of Jessica Gardner || Flickr

One of the most beautiful canal houses in Amsterdam is open for visitors. The house belongs to Van Loon family and was built in 1672. The interior of the house is still as it was back then so you can once again step into Golden Age, but here you can see the house, the garden and the coach house and this is what makes Museum Van Loon so unique. In the coach house and garden, you can drink coffee and taste apple pie. One other thing is quite remarkable – members of Van Loon Family are still living in the house – their quarters are not available for the visitors though.

Opening Times: daily, 10 AM – 5 PM
Tickets: 10€ adults, 8€ students, 5.5€ children 6 – 18 years old, children under six years old free of charge
Address: Keizersgracht 672, 1017 ET Amsterdam
Visit Museum Van Loon website for more information – Link Here

12. Joods Historisch Museum

Photo Courtesy of 23 dingen voor musea || Flickr

This museum is part of the Jewish Cultural Quarter, and many interesting events are happening around this institution. Currently, in the museum, you can find out about life and work of Jewish artists, especially those who practice Kabbalah – Jewish mysticism. Other parts of the Quarter are: the JHM Children’s Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue, the Hollandsche Schouwburg, and the National Holocaust Museum and when you buy a ticket you get the entrance to all of them for a month. In other words, you get to know a lot about the Dutch Jewish diaspora.

Opening Times: 11 AM – 5 PM
Tickets: 17€ adults, 8.50€ children 13 – 17 years old, 4.25€ children 6 – 12 years old, children under six free of charge.
Address: Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1, 1011 PL Amsterdam
Visit Joods Historisch Museum website for more information – Link Here

13. Museum Het Rembrandthuis

Photo Courtesy of bertknot|| Flickr

This is another famous painter – Rembrandt – with a special museum dedicated to his life and work. What is interesting, the museum is set in the artist’s former home and workplace which gives the museum unmistakable air of authenticity. You can see the etchings, drawings and copperplates made by Rembrandt but there is also a collection of work of his predecessors and followers as well. But this museum is not a place you just go into and look at things – here you get to experience them as well. You can see for example the way the etchings were printed or paints prepared according to the 17th-century technique.

Opening Times: Daily: 10 AM – 6 PM
Tickets:  17€ adults, children age 6-17 5€.
Address: Jodenbreestraat 4, 1011 NK Amsterdam
Visit Museum Het Rembrandthuis website for more information – Link Here

14. ARCAM – Amsterdam Centre for Architecture

Photo Courtesy of IK’s World Trip|| Flickr

Here is something for those who want to know more about Amsterdam’s urban design. You can enter the museum for free and – in a fascinating building – see an exhibition about modern architecture and its connection with the past. But the most interesting is the activity which takes place every Friday at 1.30 PM. It is called “Architecture Talk and Walk” and – as the name suggests – starts with a short lecture about some Amsterdam connected theme and then the group takes a short walk around the city to see with their own eyes what the lecture was about. The tour and lecture take about three hours, and coffee and tea are included. Tickets: 24.5€ for adults, children under 13 free of charge.

Opening Times: Tuesday – Saturday 1 PM – 5 PM
Tickets: free admission for all
Address: Prins Hendrikkade 600, 1011 VX Amsterdam
Visit ARCAM website for more information – Link Here

15. Allard Pierson Museum

Photo by Eric de Redelijkheid|| Flickr

This is an archaeology museum in Amsterdam, named after the first Classical Archaeology professor on the University of Amsterdam. OK, maybe the reason this particular place made a list is purely personal as I am a fan of Indiana Jones and some other, slightly more professional archaeologist as well. I am fascinated by ancient cultures and when I hear that in Allard Pierson Museum you can see Coptic, Ancient Greek, Egyptian, Etrurian exhibition and more… well, just sell me the tickets already! The museum is also promoting its new initiative – ArcheoHotspots. There are places you can go and ask about an item you own and find out whether there is something behind it or not. You can also talk to archaeologists and even volunteer to help them.

Opening Times:
Tuesday – Friday: 10 AM – 5 PM, Saturday – Sunday: 1 PM – 5 PM.
Tickets: 10€ adults, 5€ children 4-16, seniors and students: 5€
Address: Oude Turfmarkt 129, 1012 GC Amsterdam
Visit Allard Pierson Museum website for more information – Link Here

Museum entrance cards

Things to do in Amsterdam

If you plan to see more than one museum during your stay in Amsterdam, you should consider buying a card that will get you free entrance or huge discounts. Currently, the best option is Iamsterdam City Card (https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/i-am/i-amsterdam-city-card) where you choose the time you want to spend in the city (from 24 to 120 hours) and pay 60 – 115€. Then you get free admission to almost every museum and city attraction, free public transport and a free canal cruise. It’s not cheap, but it will definitely help you save some money. There are other options too

  • Museumkaart (about 70€) but it’s great for Dutch citizens (expires after a year) and not so much for the tourists (expires after a month or 5 visits to the museums), and you don’t get free transport.
  • Amsterdam Holland Pass – the prices start from 40€, and you can choose between three packages: 3, 4 or 6 tickets. Each ticket is a free entry to a museum or public transport. Once you use up all your tickets, the card can give you discounts – sometimes quite significant.

If you decide to buy one of these cards, before going to a specific museum, please check: whether there’s no small additional charge for the cardholders, whether you don’t have to save yourself a slot before the visit and most important – does the place you want to go to honours the card you have.

Best Nature Museums

Photo Courtesy of Lin Mei|| Flickr

When you feel the need to see something other than museums confined to – even most exquisite – walls, there are still places you can see. First one is Amsterdam’s Botanic Garden De HortusLink Here Adults 2019 you can see the exhibition about how essential the plants were for us and still are. Of course, if you are lucky and visit Amsterdam in April, you get to see the Tulip Exhibition(Keukenhof) as well!

Then there is ARTIS Amsterdam Royal ZooLink Here, and of course, there are animals to see (wolves, gorillas, etc.), but the ticket gives you entrance to Aquarium and Planetarium as well which makes the visit even more interesting.

Best Museums for Kids

Things to do in Amsterdam
Photo by Erik_Lyngsoe  || Pixabay

There are actually a few or more places you can take your kids to and not be afraid of mutiny during the visit. There is NEMO and ARTIS park for sure, but I guess any kid would love the ship in Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum as well. You should also know that Eye Film museum and Jewish Museum have interesting sections or tours dedicated to children. For example, in Eye museum for exactly 1€ children can partake in a puzzle tour and actually see the whole museum on their own. In the Amsterdam Museum you will find the permanent exhibition “The little orphanage” where the children may experience the life in a 17th-century orphanage. A bit controversial idea for my taste but somehow children seem to love it. Troppenmuseum used to have children’s section, but it’s currently undergoing renovation and will reopen in October 2019.

Best fun exhibitions

Photo Courtesy of Het Kattenkabinet || Facebook Profile

OK, we’ve got all big and serious museums covered and then some. But visiting museums can be fun even when you’re not nine years old! So first… any ladies on board? What about going to the Museum of Bags and Purses – Link Here? You can see then not only how the bags evolved from the Middle Ages till now, but also there is an exhibition about bags made from recycled materials. If you are not really into purses, there is always Amsterdam Heineken Experience waiting for you. You can see how the beer is made and at the end of the day down two of them. And last but not least two amusing places: Madame Tussauds AmsterdamLink Here and KattenkabinetLink Here. In the first one you will see wax statues of famous people real or fictional (Hey! There’s Hulk!). The second is not that obvious – practically every item on display is about cats; they are everywhere and also, five of them are actually living in a place. It is a funny museum – especially since they seem to treat their exhibition in a deadly serious manner, but I guess sometimes it’s good to see something a bit… different.

Best Art Museums

Photo Courtesy of junjiali  || Pixabay

If you are a true art lover, there are still places you should visit which were not mentioned yet. First of all, there is the Van Gogh Museum – Link Here (Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam ). Here at least you won’t be overwhelmed by the sheer number of artists. It is a place dedicated to Vincent van Gogh, and you can follow the journey of his life as reflected in his art. Each room of the museum is about a certain period in the painter’s career, and they are set chronologically to make things easier. You will be able to see paintings – with the super famous and amazing Sunflowers, but also drawings and letters on display. You can also find out which artists were the first ones inspired by van Gough and admire their work as well. If it is possible, try visiting this Van Gogh Museum on Friday as there are various musical and artistic events hosted there and there is an option of a free museum tour. Other places you can visit: Huis Marseille Photography MuseumLink Here, The Cobra MuseumLinK Here, or – if you want to see something new – Electric Ladyland: the Museum of Fluorescent ArtLink Here

Best Science and Technology Museums

Photo Courtesy of Museum Kromhout || Facebook Profile

Of course, there is NEMO, but if you are interested in technology and want to spend some more time in Amsterdam museums, there are actually a few other places you can visit. Starting with Nederlands ScheepvaartmuseumLink Here where you can go aboard and see every nook and cranny of a replica of the 18th-century ship. And now something for more determined technology geeks! You can visit the Electric Tram Line Museum in Amsterdam – Link Hereor rather go for a ride in one of the old trams or if you crave something more modern  try one room museum crammed with old computers, aka Computer Museum in AmsterdamLink Here or a place that actually looks like a museum, meaning Museum Kromhout in Amsterdam )- Link Here It is set in an old factory and a few of 19th century still working engines are on display.

Best Museums about the History of Amsterdam

Photo Courtesy of Museum Amsterdam || Facebook Profile

On the list, you will find places all about the history of Amsterdam, but it’s usually just a part of this long and fascinating tale. Here, in Amsterdam MuseumLink Here you get to hear it all and see with your own eyes how the city has changed throughout the centuries. If you are interested, see the museum’s permanent display “Amsterdam DNA”.

Not yet tired of Amsterdam’s history? Go and see the Dutch version of Downton Abbey, that is Museum Willet-HolthuysenLink Here. It is a canal-side house built in the 19th century full of beautiful furniture and paintings. It is especially worth visiting at Christmas time when the rooms are decorated, and you can admire a magnificent Christmas tree.

As you can see, it is almost impossible to name all the Amsterdam Museums, especially when you add exhibitions and private museums to the mix. But I hope you will find this article helpful and manage to see every place that has caught your attention.

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