Amsterdam consists not only of picturesque canal views, coffee shops, and an abundance of bicycles but also a plethora of some of the most breathtaking and historically significant museums in all of Europe. No matter if you have an affinity for century-old relicts, modern street art, or the history of beer, Amsterdam has a museum for everyone’s taste. Use this Amsterdam museum guide to find your match.
I have therefore narrowed down the top museums you should visit when staying in Amsterdam. By the way, visiting one of the over 70 museums can often serve as an emergency plan in the event of an unexpected rainy day, which actually happens quite frequently. This article will help you choose the right museum for your taste and plan your trip to the city of Amsterdam in the most effective way.
(Disclaimer: Some links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning if you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you and you may even receive a small discount. See disclosure for more information.)
Amsterdam Museum Guide
Tips and suggestions when planning a visit
Before I dive into the cities’ huge offering of art-houses, aristocratic Maisons and history havens, I’d like to share some helpful tips when planning your visit to the museum of your choice. Some of Amsterdam’s museums serve as the cities most popular tourist attractions and are therefore drawing large numbers of visitors on a daily basis.
Spending your highly anticipated museum-afternoon in a queue can be very frustrating and disappointing, which is why a simple ticket purchase online can save a lot of time. In most cases, you’ll end up paying the same admission fee whether you book your ticket online or on the counter.
Save Money with the I Amsterdam Card
If you consider yourself a connoisseur of the fine arts and you’re planning on visiting a couple of museums during your stay, then the I Amsterdam City Card might be a good choice to further look into. The IAmsterdam City Card grants you access to a total of 44 museums and includes admission to various other attractions as well as the city’s public transportation system.
Be aware that not all museums are accessible with the card and your favorite of them all might not be on the list. This is why I recommend checking out the full list of attractions that are included before opting for the card. The card can be bought online before your arrival and is available in 5 different versions:
- 24 hours for 60€
- 48 hours for 80€
- 72 hours for 95€
- 96 hours for 105€
- 120 hours for 115€
Opting for the card is therefore especially worth it if you plan on using it for several days. But without further ado, let’s dive into Amsterdam’s top museums.
The Best Art Museums in Amsterdam
- Location: Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam
- Hours: 9:00 AM – 17:00 PM
- Admission Price: €19 for adults
- Best for: Art & history lovers
Perhaps the most prominent of all on this list, Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum is not only one of the largest, but also one of the most prestigious museums in all of Europe. With over 8000 art pieces dating back to over 800 years of history, the Rijksmuseum holds the largest and most versatile art collection of the Netherlands. A true gem of the museum which fascinates visitors throughout the entire year is the museum’s research library, which was established in 1885.
This is one of Amsterdam’s largest museums and exploring all four floors of art can be quite time-consuming. If you are looking to avoid a rainy day or cold winter day in Amsterdam then this is the perfect place to kill a few hours. However, if you are only in Amsterdam for the weekend and need to budget your time, then plan beforehand the exhibits you want to see.
There are a few exhibits you cannot miss while in the Rijksmuseum. The first being the world-famous The Night Watch (Nachtwacht) by Rembrandt. The second is Cuypers Library, which is one of the items on my Amsterdam bucket list.
Van Gogh Museum
- Location: Van Gogh Museum, Museumplein 6, Amsterdam
- Hours: 9:00 AM – 18:00 PM
- Admission Price: €19
- Best for: Traditional art lovers, Van Gogh Fans.
The Van Gogh Museum is one of Amsterdam’s most famous attractions and a top choice for a museum to visit. This museum offers 3 floors full of some of Vincent Van Goghs most famous works like The Potato Eaters, Sunflowers, and more. What’s interesting about this museum is that the works of art are shown in chronological order so you can experience Vincent Van Goghs life through his works.
Since this is such a popular museum booking in advance is mandatory. With the IAmsterdam card visitors are permitted free entry.
- Location: MOCO Museum, Honthorststraat 20, 1071 DE Amsterdam
- Hours: Sun-Thu 9:00 – 19:00, Fri-Sat 9:00 – 20:00.
- Admission Price: €15.50 for adults
- Best for: People looking to admire unique and new age artists.
Moco Museum is Amsterdam’s museum of contemporary art. It showcases a collection of works from new artists paving the way of modern art. This museum is very unique and offers a hip and trendy art museum experience that is rare to find. It is an art museum anyone can find the magic in and is the perfect place to bring someone who is hesitant to visit a museum.
At Moco Museum you will find works by BANKSY, Andy Warhol, and many more. In addition to the art exhibits, there are often limited-time exhibitions that are always changing. The light exhibition pictured below was from a time when Studio Irma had a place at the museum. I loved this exhibition and the whole museum in fact! If you go to one museum while in Amsterdam, I’d suggest this one.
For skip the line tickets to Moco click here.
Moco is the perfect place to spend an hour or two exploring and admiring all the modern and amazing art pieces.
- Location: Keizersgracht 609, 1017 DS Amsterdam
- Hours: 10:00 – 17:00
- Admission Price: €12.50
- Best for: Photography lovers, and intimate museum seekers.
FOAM is Amsterdam’s very own photography museum. Yes, this entire museum is full of beautiful and thoughtful pieces of photography on display for your viewing pleasure. This museum is not as popular as some of the others on this list which makes the viewing experience much more intimate and enjoyable.
The layout of FOAM is almost like a maze. You will easily get lost roaming around the playful stairs, corners, and various floors trying to soak in all the lovely expositions. Prepare to spend a few hours at FOAM admiring all the photos and living the quote “A picture says 1000 words”.
- Location: Stedelijk Museum, Museumplein 10, Amsterdam
- Hours: 10:00 – 18:00, Friday 10:00 – 22:00
- Admission Price: €18.50
- Best for: Travellers looking for a modern take on art.
Stedelijk Museum is the second museum in Amsterdam dedicated to modern and contemporary art. It is one of the most interesting and thought-provoking modern art museums in the city, and a must-see while in Amsterdam. This museum is packed with modern art from different eras. You can find pre-war artists like Matisse and Picasso; pop-art exhibits from Polke and Warhol & more; plus minimalist art from Judd, Newman, and others!
The Best History Museums in Amsterdam
Anne Frank House
- Location: Anne Frank House, Westermarkt 20, 1016 DK Amsterdam
- Hours: 9:00 – 16:30.
- Admission Price: €12.50
- Best for: Learning about one of the world’s most significant points in history.
The Anne Frank House is one of Amsterdams most famous and frequented museums and one that every visitor of the city should visit. The museum tells the story of a young girl named Anne Frank. She was hidden in an attic behind a bookshelf during WW2 and kept a diary to document her time in hiding. She was sadly discovered and sent to a concentration camp where she died in 1945. Anne Franks’s father survived and when he discovered the diary he got it published.
*IMPORTANT: The Anne Frank House has now limited its amount of guests to 1 million a year. As a result, tickets ONLY go on sale ONLINE on the first Tuesday of the Month*
A visit to the Anne Frank House is somber and thought-provoking. The story it tells is about a time not too long ago and about a past no-one should soon forget.
- Location: Herengracht 605, Amsterdam
- Hours: 10:00 – 17:00
- Admission Price: €11.50
- Best for: History and luxury lovers.
Willet-Holthuysen Museum is a lesser-known museum that showcases what it was like to live in one of Amsterdam’s most prestigious neighborhoods in a luxury house in the Golden Age. The museum is located on the famous Herengracht canal and shows a classic 17th-century mansion as it looked back in the day.
The museum was donated to the city of Amsterdam by Abraham Willet and Sandrina Louisa Geertruyda Holthuysen. These two used to live in the canal house and once they passed they left the house along with all the interior belongings. A visit here will show you what it was like to be apart of the exclusive wealthy class of the 1800s. Look for tickets here!
- Location: Royal Palace Amsterdam, Dam, Amsterdam
- Hours: 10:00 – 17:00
- Admission Price: €10
- Best for: Royal history lovers.
The Royal Palace is a noticeable and famous building located right in the middle of Amsterdam’s Dam Square. It was built in 1655 as a town hall and become the imperial palace in 1808. It is still used by the Royal family today and is also open for viewing. Here you will see a number of rooms like the Throne Room, the Royal Apartment, and more. You can either explore this museum on your own or become a part of a group tour.
Special and unusual Museums in Amsterdam
- Location: Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam
- Hours: 12:30 – 7:30
- Admission Price: €17.95
- Best for: Heineken beer lovers.
The Heineken Museum is one of those Amsterdam museums that are rare, special, and something you can only do in this city. The museum takes you through how Heineken beer is made and shows you the entire process. You also get to drink a few beers along the way, which is a nice plus!
This is a fun and immerses museum that also has a rooftop bar on the top which you are welcome to sit on and enjoy a few beers after the tour. It is the perfect tour if you are spending a weekend in Amsterdam and are looking for fun and exciting things to do.
- Location: Damrak 66, 1012 LM Amsterdam
- Hours: 12:00 – 17:00
- Admission Price: €17.50
- Best for: Anatomy and biology lovers.
Body Worlds is an educational and eye-opening Amsterdam museum that shows you the wonders of biology and anatomy. Here you will take a look inside the human body to see how complex and intricate it really is. Body Worlds is a very informative museum that always offers an interesting and memorable experience. Click here for skip the line tickets!
Amsterdam Tulip Museum
- Location: Prinsengracht 116, 1015 EA Amsterdam
- Hours: 10:00 – 6:00
- Admission Price: €5.00
- Best for: Flower lovers
The Tulip Museum is a small museum located very near to the Anne Frank House. This museum tells the history of the tulips, photos of tulips, and has a gift shop with some lovely tulip souvenirs. The tulip is the unofficial flower of the Netherlands and a visit here is a great way to learn and immerse yourself in everything tulip related.
However, this museum is quite small, and if you want to save some money and time you can also visit the Bloemenmarkt, which is Amsterdam’s floating flower market boasting tulips galore.
Sex Museum (Venustempel)
- Location: Sex Museum Amsterdam, Damrak 18, 1015 LH
- Hours: 9:30am to 11:30pm
- Admission Price: €5
- Best for: Sex curious tourists
Amsterdam’s Sex Museum is the oldest Sex Museum in the world. A visit here will show you photos and exhibits of depicting sex throughout the ages. The museum is quite small and full of tiny rooms with different images and things to see. If you are really interested in Amsterdam’s history and presents with sex, you can always visit the Red Light District and experience it first hand.
- Location: Dam 20, 1012 NP Amsterdam
- Hours: 10:00 – 6:00
- Admission Price: € 24,50
- Best for:
Madame Tussaud’s is a wax museum located right in Amsterdam’s Dam Square. This museum is full of past and present celebrities and historical figures in wax form. The admission price is quite steep but this museum is packed with not only wax figures but also sciences and props to make the visit more engaging and fun. Click here for tickets.
If you are planning a visit to Amsterdam be sure to add a few of these amazing museums to your to-do list. There are so many amazing ones to visit and they all tell a unique and enticing story.
Planning a trip to Amsterdam be sure to check out these posts:
- Amsterdam travel tips
- 7 Days in Amsterdam
- Amsterdam at Night
- Best Pancakes in Amsterdam
- Amsterdam Date Ideas
- Where to stay in Amsterdam; Neighbourhood guide
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