Amsterdam is an amazing capital city in the Netherlands that people go to visit for a variety of different reasons. Many travelers go here to experience the permissive lifestyle of a city with a world-renowned Red Light District and a liberal stance on the use of recreational drugs. However, a majority of the people who travel to Amsterdam have other more educational plans in mind. They want to directly experience the rich history that this place holds. A beautiful destination, Amsterdam is also a place where many important things in Europe’s history are remembered in landmarks, historic sites and museums.
The museums of Amsterdam are the place where you can really get an education about this history. Often housed in historic buildings, these museums give you an insight into the foundation of what Amsterdam is all about. Of course, it’s not only history museums that you’re going to find here in the Netherlands. You’ll also find a selection of other museums, such as art museums, that can add an additional dimension to your understanding and experience of Amsterdam.
Here is the list of Amsterdam museums that you’ll want to make sure you check out as you explore this impressive destination:
If you don’t have a whole lot of time to be spending making your way around the city in search of museums then you’ll want to head directly to this part of Amsterdam. Four major museums are located right in this one area which means that it gives you a great overview of the basic museum experience in the city. This is also an important area for events and includes different attractions such as an ice skating rink so it’s an ideal destination for the museum-going tourist with a variety of interests. These are the four museums that you’ll find at Museum Square:
- Rijksmuseum. This is an outstanding general history museum which provides insight into Amsterdam’s past as well as into the history of the rest of the world. Crafts and art are on display from different time periods in order to offer visitors a chance to see the work that was being done at different points in history in different parts of the world. The Asian Art collection of the museum is particularly notable but there are many different collections here which reveal a multi-faceted global history to the visitor who takes the time to explore this Amsterdam museum. There is also an art history research library housed here which is said to be the largest in the world of its kind.
- Van Gogh Museum. Anyone who has any interest at all in Vincent Van Gogh will want to make sure to make a stop at this Amsterdam Art Museum which houses the biggest collection of his work in the entire world. It is set up in such a way that it is possible to learn the history of Van Gogh’s life simply by viewing the collection.
- Stedilijk Museum. Amsterdam is well known for the history of art that has been created there but it’s also no stranger to modern art. This is the most popular and reputable modern art museum in the city and is a favorite of people who are interested in art as well as people simply interested in learning about the modern movements taking place in their vacation destination. Be aware that this museum has actually been temporarily relocated away from the Museum Square
- but it’s not too far away from that area and will be returning to Museum Square in the future. Contact the museum in advance for specific information about the location and hours where you can view the city’s most astounding modern art.
- Diamond Museum. If diamonds are a girl’s best friend then this is a girl’s favorite destination at Museum Square because it’s the home to an awe-inspiring display of diamond jewelry. This may sound like something that’s just for the fashionista but it’s actually an interesting museum that may appeal to all different types of people because of the way that it uses this jewelry collection to reveal insights into the history of the world. Diamonds have been a part of various cultures for a long time and this museum offers an extensive look at the role that they have played.
Other Amsterdam Museums
People who have more time to spend on visiting the museums of Amsterdam will find that there is also a great selection of museums scattered about the city that can provide a terrific supplemental experience to the one found at Museum Square. Here are some of the museums that should be seen:
- Amsterdams Historisch Museum. This is the single most important Amsterdam museum to visit if your primary purpose for museum-going is to learn about the history of the city. Amsterdam is certainly a city with a rich history worth learning about and a trip here can provide you with a great overview of what that’s all about. The exhibits here feature all different types of items that will really show you what life was like in Amsterdam at different points in time. The history revealed here dates back to the Middle Ages and includes even the most recent past so you’ll certainly get an education in Amsterdam by spending a day here.
- Joods Historisch Museum. A very important aspect of the history of Amsterdam is the history of the Jewish people who have made up such an important segment of the community here. This museum is dedicated to exploring and explaining
- this history so that visitors can have a better grasp of the importance that it holds. The museum has a collection of over 11,000 artifacts relating to this history and it only has 5% of them on display at any one time so this is a place you can visit again and again and yet you’ll always learn something new.
- Anne Frank House. You can learn a lot about Jewish history from the JoodsHistorisch Museum but you’ll really get some emotional insight into that history when you visit the house where Anne Frank hid from the Nazis and wrote her famous diary. Reading the story about this girl’s life isn’t nearly so moving as actually visiting the museum in the home.
- Rembrandt House Museum. There have been many painters who lived and worked in Amsterdam over the years and there are many museums which represent their work. The Van Gogh Museum in Museum Square may be the most well known but many people also make it a point to visit the Rembrandt Museum to explore the life and work of this well-known artist.
- Tropenmuseum. This is one of the largest museums in Amsterdam and one that many visitors make sure to put on their itinerary when coming to visit the city. It is an anthropological museum which is known worldwide as one of the leading museums that explores the history of non-Western cultures. It also has modern art that brings this history up-to-date and into life for those people who want to gain a better understanding the world as it was in the past as well as of how the world is today.
Amsterdam is an interesting place, whether or not you go to visit its museums. However, an exploration of the past and present through the lens of museum exhibits can give you insight into the city in a way that visiting the other attractions isn’t going to provide. You should consider adding these types of destinations to the plans for your trip in order to come away from the vacation with a real sense of what Amsterdam is all about.
Photo credit: Pear Biter