3 Museums you Should Visit in Amsterdam

I am a museum kind of gal.

I love the romance and admiration that washes over me when standing in the presence of an ancient art piece. There is something so awe-inspiring about the enthusiasm and dedication in which artists, royalty, and religion had in documenting the myths, legends and everyday experiences of society throughout the ages.

What impresses me more than the art or artifacts themselves is the shared respect that each culture has in preserving history. It is a beautiful act that makes us human.

There are so many lessons to learn, hidden gems to discover, and dramatic stories to discover while exploring.

I know not everyone shares my same esteem towards standing in a long line and wandering through crowds for hours to look at old dusty portraits. I get it, I really do! What brings many people to Amsterdam is not the long lineups to the art museums its more X-rated frivolity. To those people, I say, carpe diem!

However, for those wishing to have a more in-depth look at Amsterdam’s history, I suggest a visit to these three museums. Three very different museums, sharing unique perspectives into Amsterdam’s rich history and culture.

I hope you enjoy!

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On our first full day in Amsterdam, we decided to visit the Rijksmuseum. The Rijks was founded in the year 1800 and is the most visited museum in the country. With over 2.2 million visitors a year. The museum displays around 8,000 objects of art and history, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000. Among the most famous are masterpieces by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer.

Opened from 9:00 to 17:00 daily with a ticket price of  € 17.50 this is the kind of place you should set a nice amount of time towards. Being a must see on my list and a nearly full day venture I thought it would be best to get this out of the way on the first day. A great choice considering the day was rather rainy as well.

The line to enter this museum ran smoothly and visiting it first was a great way to understand more about the cities history and culture. We spent around 4-6 hours in the museum (my memory is a little hazy on that detail).

I also recommend breaking up your visit to the museum by taking a lunch break in the museum’s cafe, a great way to recharge before enjoying more sites.

Some favorites of mine were the seventh and eighteenth-century furniture pieces, the small ancient Asian display and of course the Nights Watch by Rembrandt.


Van Gogh

When I began learning more about Vincent Van Gogh I became engulfed and a little obsessed. Not only because of his art. Although his paintings are one of a kind, beautiful and obviously famous but by the artist himself. I read the many letters sent back and forth between Vincent and his brother before our trip and his personality hypnotized me. Relatable in his understandable madness and inspiring pain I found him a source of inspiration in my personal life.

I found his story a testament that although you may be different you can be talented. You can be inspiring. Something that perhaps should be taught more openly in schools to children.

Visiting the museum was a wonderful opportunity to read even more letters shared between him and his family and friends, learn more about the artist and of course gawk at his beautiful paintings.

The museum’s collection is the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings in the world.

I suggest arriving early as this is a very popular museum and lines can get long. Set aside 2-4 hours to visit this museum. You will not be disappointed.


Anne Frank House

Among the most anticipated item on my Amsterdam travel list was visiting the Anne Frank House. Undoubtedly one of the most famous books ever read and being considered within the top 20 books of the twentieth century. Visiting the home of Anne Frank (now a museum) is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I was so excited to experience.

The Anne Frank house is located near the famous Westerkerk church on the Prinsengracht canal. This is the longest of the main canals in Amsterdam. It was this church which was our beacon in finding the museum.

When we arrived at the museum there was already a line formulated in front of the building. But as we already had our tickets purchased we did not worry about waiting. (I recommend purchasing tickets online ahead of time)

The museum is a somber recollection of one of many lives that were lost and impacted by this gruesome stain of human indecency. Which is World War 2. As the reality of war washed over me I felt my eyes fill with tears. The video footage of the Germans invading beautiful Netherlands was overwhelming. A city I enjoyed so freely today. As the cruelty of the organized extermination of the Jewish from the Netherlands unfolded on screen I felt as if I was transported into a nightmare. Knowing how it all unfolds, but unable to look away from the horror.

When we reached the Annex upstairs we shuffled soundlessly, 12 to a room. Quiet tears filled the eyes of all who felt the impact of Anne’s story and their connection to it.

Otto Frank did not want any furniture to clutter the rooms. Therefore on the walls hang the cutout pictures that Anne had on her walls. Things the Nazis left behind after they were discovered.

Once out of the Annex we were greeted with more screens. These showed interviews from Anne’s friends who had survived the war. An old boyfriend, a school friend and then Otto Frank. We watched footage of the concentration camps and then saw the liberation of the Netherlands.

Downstairs there was a room filled with interviews from people who had visited the museum throughout the years. Famous actors, artists, royalty, politicians, regular folks like me and you. All sharing how the story of Anne Frank touched them.

The museum did not disappoint. It was an eye-opening and somber experience that did more than just preserve the former home of Anne Frank. It told the grueling story of World War 2. And it showed the impact that the Nazis had on not only on the Jewish in Amsterdam but the city as a whole.

I feel everyone should take the time to take the somber walk through the Anne frank museum to better remember and understand a history that we are all very much connected to.




  1. ayushi860 | 18th Jan 17

    I never considered myself a museum kind of girl but when I had visited Rijksmuseum in 2015, I remember being engulfed in some eerie admiration for arts, history, and culture.
    This had some pretty impressive collection of arts, and historic objects from all across the world (I was impressed to find the small Asian collection) and my favorites included ‘The Night Watch’ and ‘The Milkmaid’. That blooming flower lamps that danced like jellyfish was mind boggling for me!
    Cheers! 🙂

    • StephJ | 18th Jan 17

      Thanks for sharing. I feel the same way I didn’t really consider myself interested in the arts until I went to Paris, since then I am a bit of a museum junkie 🙂

  2. usathroughoureyes | 18th Jan 17

    Great post. It is so great seeing these places through your eyes. Hopefully we will one day be visiting there too. Keep on bringing your stories to us please.

    • StephJ | 18th Jan 17

      Thank you very much for your support!

  3. Mistle Petrey | 18th Jan 17

    I’ve never been to Amsterdam before! I do like going to most museums! I will have to add these to my list of places to visit if I ever go there!

  4. Brooke | 18th Jan 17

    Your photos are breath-taking! My boyfriend and I love to visit museums every time we travel. It’s so awesome to learn about the history/art different places in the world have to offer. Thanks for sharing! Amsterdam is on my bucket list!

  5. Jon | 19th Jan 17

    Great post! I’ll have to visit Amsterdam in the near future!

  6. J | 5th Feb 17

    If only everyone was a museum person! I can recommend one more great museum I enjoyed visiting in Amsterdam – Huis Marseille, Museum for Photography. J 🙂

  7. natcbowman | 12th Feb 17

    We have the perfect (humor) post about how best to act when in a museum! If you need any advice about how to be a real museum-going pro: https://growingeverupwards.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/how-to-be-an-expert-museum-goer

  8. Nanci Tangeman | 20th Feb 17

    Thanks, Steph. I lived near the Rijks and Van G for a decade. They are two of my favorites. I’ve only been to the Rijks once since its renovation, but am headed there in a few weeks. So glad to hear someone new has discovered it!

    • StephJ | 21st Feb 17

      Yes I loved it! i will recommend it to anyone who visits Amsterdam. Beautiful building filled with beautiful art!

  9. NocturnalJen | 28th Mar 17

    I am heading over to Amsterdam tomorrow. The Anne Frank Museum is the number one thing on my list of things I want to visit. I was recently in Krakow in June and visited Auschwitz Concentration Camp. It was harrowing and eye opening yet educational. The tour of the camp was entirely educational much to my relief. I had a bit of an inner conflict before I went over whether it was right or not to be visiting such a place, but with signs like “Evidence of Crimes” above the glass cases filled with the shoes of Jewish prisoners I think it is designed to be a warning rather than a spectacle.

    I really enjoyed reading your post and look forward to visiting the museum myself. I will most likely write a post about my visit to Amsterdam afterwards, would love it if you’d take time to give it a read 🙂 xx


    • StephJ | 28th Mar 17

      I think it is important to remember although it is painful sometimes. So many people become comfortable and try to keep life easy ignoring the pain of the past, but I thinkt hat is so dangerous. We need to pay attention to the past no matter how painful in order to learn from our mistakes. I hope you enjoy Amsterdam and the Anne Frank museum! It is nice to know there are people who feel the same as I do out there. Thanks for your comment. Happy Adventures 🙂

  10. Katie Mary | 10th Apr 17

    Oh My. you`re so lucky to have been in Amsterdam. I`ve wanted to visit the city for years, especially to visit the Anne Frank Museum. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • StephJ | 10th Apr 17

      You should make it happen! All in all accommodations were priced fairly well. You could easily make a good trip for a few thousand.

      • Katie Mary | 10th Apr 17

        I will of course make it happen one day! It`s my biggest dream.

        • StephJ | 10th Apr 17

          Yes! It is a wonderful place.

          • Katie Mary | 10th Apr 17

            I know. (: Have an amazing Easter!

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