Amsterdam is home to many cool museums that are not just limited to art and history. Some of these museums in Amsterdam are pretty famous and the others are quite original.  Sounds cliche, but there’s something for everyone in Amsterdam.

Museum lovers will love Amsterdam for the variety of options and possibilities. In fact, there is even a square that’s dedicated to museums – it is the Museumplein (Museum Square). The most visited museums in Amsterdam are located in the museum square.

Before we go further and talk about the museums, we’d like to share a quick tip:

Important Tip about visiting Amsterdam’s Museums:

The most economical way to visit the museums in Amsterdam is by buying the I Amsterdam city card, which INCLUDES an entry to most of the museums on this list as well as the local transport, a canal tour and 25% discount in many places. The card costs €59 for 1 day, €74 for 2 days, €87 for 3 days and €98 for 4 days.

 

Buying this card makes sense if you’re going to visit 3 attractions in a day and use the public transport. Seems expensive? Well, Amsterdam is not a cheap destination but buying a City card is a good way to save money.

Earlier the tourists could also buy a card that’s just for visiting museums – Museumkaart. However, as per new rules only the Dutch residents can use it.

If you’re not visiting 3 attractions or more, then you can consider just booking a slot for yourself at one of the top three museums in Amsterdam to skip the line,

There are at least 57 different museums in Amsterdam as per the official lists. We’re sure the number is a little higher than this because there are a few smaller museums that are not on this list. Although some of the most famous ones are the art museums in Amsterdam but we have tried to include as much variety as possible in this list.

If you’re visiting Amsterdam for a weekend or a longer trip, consider taking out some time to visit the city’s famous museums. We have divided Amsterdam’s museums in two broad categories:

  • Family friendly museums (art, history, science, etc.)
  • Sinful (sex, drugs, alcohol and more)

Apart from art and history, you can learn about the culture, science, cinema, pipes, beer, marijuana and even sex amongst this wide variety of museums in Amsterdam. To help you make the most of your holidays in Amsterdam we thought we should enlighten you with some suggestions featuring the best museums in Amsterdam.

Top Museums in Amsterdam

Family Friendly Museums in Amsterdam (art, history, science, etc.)

1) Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam - Amsterdam museums

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam – Amsterdam museums – CC0 via Pixabay

Van Gogh Museum is one of the famous art museums in Amsterdam that focuses on the work of Vincent Van Gogh. You can admire not only Van Gogh’s best paintings and drawings, but also his letters. If you’re a fan of his art then you will be happy to know that will find the largest collection of his art pieces.

If you’re visiting the Van Gogh Museum to also look at Vincent van Gogh’s most famous painting – the Starry Night, you will be disappointed. It is sadly not on display here because it is a part of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh - his most famous painting is not a part of Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh – his most famous painting is not a part of Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

But hey, there are still 200 paintings and 400 drawings that were created by Vincent van Gogh that are a part of this museum. Additionally, art pieces by Van Gogh’s contemporaries are also on display here.

This museum is the most popular one in the Netherlands, just last year (2017), it was the most visited museum in the Netherlands. Also, it is also one of the most famous museums worldwide.

If you’re not visiting other museums, then it makes more sense not to buy the I Amsterdam card but to buy the entry tickets for Van Gogh Museum directly. I have found a way for you to SKIP the long lines and enter the Van Gogh museum directly.

Here’s something interesting about the Van Gogh Museum – back in 1991, there was a theft of 20 paintings from here but they were recovered in just half an hour from an abandoned car. Also, two paintings were stolen in 2002, which were recovered only in 2016 from Naples, Italy.

  • Location: Museumplein (Museum Square)
  • Category: Art & Biographical
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card (You Need to Book a Time Slot Before Going)

 

2) Rijksmuseum

The Night Watch by Rembrandt in Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

The Night Watch by Rembrandt in Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum is a national museum that focuses on art and history.  It is one of the most visited museums in not just the Netherlands, but in Europe. It is also the largest art museum in Amsterdam. As per Nat Geo, the Rijksmuseum is one of the top 10 museums in the world.

Back in the 1800, Rijksmuseum was in the Hague where it was founded. It was moved to Amsterdam in 1808. Earlier it was located in the Royal Palace of Amsterdam but since 1885 it has its own building in the Museum Square.

Not visiting any other museum except the Rijksmuseum? Then there’s no need to buy the I Amsterdam card. Instead, just buy an express entry ticket to Rijksmuseum which will let you SKIP the line.

The Rijksmuseum has over one million objects related to art and history but only around 8000 of them are on the display. The most famous part of this museum are the paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, also featuring the famous Rembrandt. This list of museums in Amsterdam also lists Rembrandt’s House, which is a biographical museum.

Rijksmuseum Research Library - Amsterdam museums

Rijksmuseum Research Library – Amsterdam museums

Interestingly, the building also houses the Rijksmuseum Research Library, which is also the largest public art and history research library in the Netherlands.

  • Location: Museumplein (Museum Square)
  • Category: Art & Biographical
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

3) Anne Frank House & Museum

Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam

Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam – cc0 via Pixabay

Most people have hard of Anne Frank from “the Diary of a Young Girl”, also known as “the Diary of Ann Frank” – one of the most widely known books in the world. She was a German born Jewish diarist who wrote about the war while she was hiding with her family from the Nazis. She did not survive the war, but her story will be told forever through her book and a museum that’s dedicated to her.

Anne Frank House & Museum was designed as a writer’s house and biographical museum.  The museum preserves the hiding place of the Frank family from the Nazi army when they were in Central Amsterdam. It displays not only the life of Anne Frank and her family but also the Academy Award that Shelly Winters won as she depicted Anne Frank in the Diary of Anne Frank movie.

Entry to the Ann Frank Museum is not possible through I Amsterdam Card because it is privately owned.

Anne Frank House and Museum is the third most visited museum in the Netherlands, right after Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum.

  • Location: Prinsengracht in Central Amsterdam
  • Category: Biographical
  • NOT included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

4) The Rembrandt House Museum

The Rembrandt House Museum is another biographical museum and it is also an art museum.  This one is dedicated to Rembrandt, painter, and the collection showcases etchings as well as paintings. Although you will find a massive collection of his work in Rijksmuseum, we recommend visiting the Rembrandt House Museum.

The Rembrandt House museum was built in his historic house that dates from the 17th century, which makes it quite impressive to visit too. Rembrandt lived and worked in this house from 1639 to 1656. This is where he lived right before he went bankrupt in 1656 and his belongings were auctioned off.

The Rembrandt House Museum is not in the Museum Square but in Jodenbreestraat.

  • Location: Jodenbreestraat
  • Category: Art & Biographical
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

5) The Royal Palace of Amsterdam

Royal Palace of Amsterdam - Museums in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Royal Palace of Amsterdam – Museums in Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is located right in the city center. It’s one of the three palaces in the Netherlands that’s with the Dutch monarchs. It dates from the 17th century and is the ONLY palace in the Netherlands that is being used actively and is available for the public to visit.

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is one of the most famous historical buildings of the country. It is actually the largest building from the Dutch Golden Age. The Amsterdam Royal Palace was actually built as a city hall, which opened in 1655 but later became the royal palace of King Louis Napoleon.

Don’t you want to know what this spectacular palace looks from the inside? Not only can you see the magnificent interiors, but you can also discover collections of art pieces as well as old furniture.

  • Location: Dam Square
  • Category: Historical
  • Not Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

6) Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum (Maritime Museum)

Maritime Museum Amsterdam - Best Museums in Amsterdam

Maritime Museum Amsterdam – Best Museums in Amsterdam – CCO via Pixabay

Amsterdam was one of the most important ports during the 17th century and a visit to the National Maritime Museum is important to appreciate the history. Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum is a maritime museum where you can learn about the maritime history.

The Maritime Museum has many interactive activities for children. There is also a free virtual reality tour. If you follow the order, it can take around 2 – 3 hours to see everything inside.

You can find a collection that features items related to shipping and sailing in a naval storehouse decor. You can expect to see paintings, scale models, weapons and world maps. There are things to see both inside and outside. This museum also has impressive replica of a Dutch East Indiaman ship, named the ‘Amsterdam’.

  • Location: Kattenburgerplein, near the city old harbor
  • Category: Historical and Educational
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

7) Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam

Foam Fotographiemuseum Amsterdam is a cool photography museum that photography lovers will enjoy visiting. At any single time, there are four different exhibitions to showcase different types of photography (documentary, art, fashion, etc.)

Foam is a small museum but at times it may take you more than one hour to look at all the photographs that are on display. The exhibitions change regularly, so it is one of those places that you can visit more than once. You can also find photographs from popular photographers as well as the ones by upcoming and lesser-known photographers.

  • Location: Keizersgracht
  • Category: Photography
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

8) Stedelijk Museum

There are many art museums in Amsterdam but the Stedelijk Museum is a little different. The name basically means Municipal Museum. The focus is on modern art as well as contemporary art and design.

This museum is modern (especially the entrance) and you can expect to find art coming from the 20th century up to the 21st century. The good thing is that the Stedelijk Museum doesn’t tend to get crowded as the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum.

If you’re a fan of Vincent van Gogh, you will be interested to know that this is the first place where his paintings were displayed, as initiated by his brother’s wife (but in the old location). You can still find his work here and also many other modern and contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol, Gilbert & George, etc.

  • Location: Museumplein (Museum Square)
  • Category: Modern Art
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

9) EYE Film Institute Netherlands

EYE Film Institute Netherlands - Cinema Museum in Amsterdam

EYE Film Institute Netherlands – Cinema Museum in Amsterdam

EYE Film Institute Netherlands is basically an archive and museum that keeps all the films screened in the country. The building is futuristic and has a big exhibition space inside.

The EYE film museum has a permanent exhibit about the history of cinema, a few interesting shows and many interactive and multimedia art installations inside. You can take a movie quiz, or shoot your own video against the green screen with their sample video in the background. There are also four small cinemas that project classic films.

The EYE Film Institute presents Dutch and foreign movies as well as posters, photographs and books. The EYE Bar and Restaurant here has amazing views.

  • Location: IJ River Banks, next to Amsterdam Centraal
  • Category: Cinema
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

10) NEMO Science Museum

NEMO Science Museum Amsterdam

NEMO Science Museum Amsterdam

NEMO Science Museum is the largest science museum in the Netherlands. It is basically a science center with five floors of science exhibitions. The architecture of the building is pretty impressive and it stands out.

The first floor of NEMO is reserved for DNA and chain reactions. The second floor has a ball factory including circuits. Apart from this, there are displays on buildings, metals and the water cycle. This floor also has science performance shows.

The third floor is a giant science lab where you can try experiments. The fourth floor is all about the human mind. It also has interactive tests on memory and senses. Finally, the fifth floor is a playground for children.

Considering the interactive exhibitions, visiting the NEMO Science museum is one of the best things to do in Amsterdam with kids.

  • Location: Oosterdokseiland, Amsterdam-Centrum
  • Category: Science
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

11) Hermitage Amsterdam

Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam

Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam – CC0 via Pixabay

Hermitage Amsterdam is a smaller branch of one of the most visited museums in the world – the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg in Russia. It is not as visited as the other art museums in Amsterdam because it is not in the Museum Quarter.

Inside the Hermitage Museum, there is a portrait gallery and a sculpture gallery. The exhibitions change every six months. You can learn a lot about the Netherlands-Russia relations as well as the story of people behind the portraits.

This museum is housed in a charming old building dating from 1682, that was once a retirement home for women.

  • Location: Amstel 51
  • Category: Art
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card (You Need to Book a Time Slot Before Going)

 

12) Joods Historisch Museum in Joods Cultureel Kwartier

Joods Cultureel Kwartier is also known as the Hollandsche Schouwburg, which basically translates to Dutch Theatre. It used to be a Jewish theatre back in 1941 but during the Nazi occupancy it later became a deportation centre.  The Jewish Historical Museum is a part of it and is dedicated to Jewish history and culture.

This museum will give you in insight into the history of Jews in the Netherlands using photos, films and artifacts. It is a must visit for learning the impacts of the holocaust on the Jewish population – a sad but defining moment in the history.

  • Location: Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1, near Waterlooplein
  • Category: History and Culture
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

13) Moco Museum

Girl with the Red Balloon by Banksy

Girl with the Red Balloon by Banksy

If you’re not into historical art but love seeing contemporary paintings that are of rebellious nature, you’re going to love Moco Museum. This museum features the super famous British artist – Banksy, who is known for his satirical street art. His work grew out of the Bristol Underground Scene. He also created a documentary called Exit Through the Gift Shop and was nominated for an Academy award.

Moco Museum – visiting Museumplein on my rented bicycle

Moco also features the Iranian brothers Icy & Sot, who are often called the Banksy of Iran. You can also find features of other incredible and extremely famous artists like Salvador Dali and Roy Lichtenstein from time to time.

Moco Museum features artists that have their own vision for a different art experience. The exhibitions change so please check before going.

  • Location: Museumplein (Museum Square)
  • Category: Modern, Contemporary and Street Art
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

Sinful (Sex, Drugs, Alcohol and more!)

14) The Sexmuseum or the Temple of Venus

Marilyn Monroe figure Inside Sexmuseum Amsterdam Venustempel

Marilyn Monroe figure Inside Sexmuseum Amsterdam Venustempel

The Sexmuseum, also known as the Temple of Venus, is one of the most visited museums in the Netherlands. It can give you a lot of giggles, especially if you have just visited a coffeeshop in Amsterdam right before it. It is open till 11:30 pm.

This sex museum explains the evolution of human sexuality through a collection of paintings, pictures, recordings, and artifacts. You can actually click some funny pictures with some of the things on display. It may come as a shock to you to learn how open some of the prim and proper civilizations were!

Please note that Amsterdam has a Sex Museum and an attraction in the Red Light District called “Erotic Museum”. They are both different so please don’t get confused. 

Amsterdam is often called the City of Sins and the openness about sex is an important part of it. Learning about the history of sex is an interesting angle when it comes to the evolution of man.

  • Location: Centrum
  • Category: Sex
  • Not included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

15) Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum

Wooden Weed Crushers - Amsterdam Coffeeshops

Wooden Weed Crushers – Amsterdam Museums

The Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum is quite original. This museum focuses on cannabis and its use not just as an intoxicant, but also medicinally and spiritually. It provides information about the historical and more modern uses of cannabis.

The museum also shows the uses of Hemp as a resource for clothing, cosmetics and even agriculture and industry. There is a cannabis garden inside the museum where the visitors can see the different stages of growth. You also have the opportunity to inhale cannabis through a vaporizer here for free if you want. But hey, it is too mild here to have an effect.

At the end of your visit, you can also visit the Sensi Seed Bank where you can find products and items made from hemp fiber. Visiting this museum is one of the things to do in Amsterdam at night because it closes at 10 pm. As per Time Out Magazine, a visit to this museum is one of the top ten things to do in Amsterdam.

  • Location: Red Light District
  • Category: Marijuana
  • Not included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

16) Amsterdam Pipe Museum – Pijpenkabinet

The Amsterdam Pipe Museum is dedicated to tobacco and smoking pipes. Quite unusual, but surely interesting, you will find an exhibition that features over 2000 items used around the world for smoking. These items have been used over the past 25 centuries.

Pijpenkabinet shows many different kinds of smoking pipes, and some of them are a work of art. You can see some beautiful hand painted porcelain pipe bowls, meerschaum pipes with highly artistic carvings and even pipes that were discovered in archeological excavation.

The pipes displayed in the Amsterdam Pipe Museum aren’t just tobacco pipes, but also opium pipes from China. There is also a collection of indigenous pipes from Africa, Asia and America. You can then learn about the smoking culture history from different continents.

  • Location: Prinsengracht
  • Category: Smoking
  • Included in I Amsterdam City Card

 

17) The Heineken Experience

The Heineken Experience - top museums in Amsterdam

The Heineken Experience – top museums in Amsterdam – CC0 via Pixabay

The Heineken Experience is a fun way to discover Heineken’s history in the old defunct brewery in Amsterdam. It is more than just a beer museum and there is a section with amusement gallery too.

You will also learn about the world of Heineken, the brewing process and the evolution of the bottle styles. You can enjoy one beer during the tour and two beers at the end of the tour.

The locals of course suggest other breweries but somehow the Heineken Experience has emerged as one of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam.

  • Location: Stadhouderskade
  • Category: Beer
  • 25% Discount with I Amsterdam Card

 

Get an Amsterdam City Card to Save Money

As already mentioned earlier, if you’re visiting multiple museums in Amsterdam, the most economical way to do so is by buying the I Amsterdam city card. This card INCLUDES the entry to most of the museums on this list as well as the local transport PLUS a canal ride. The card costs €59 for 1 day, €74 for 2 days, €87 for 3 days and €98 for 4 days.

A canal ride can cost anywhere from €20 to €30 per person, most of the famous museums are generally priced at €17 per entry and public transport is €7.50 per person for a day. If you’re visiting 3 attractions in a day and using the public transport, then you’re saving money with this card.

If the card seems expensive then you should know that Amsterdam is not a cheap destination but buying a City card is a good way to save money.

Disclosure: Drifter Planet received complimentary I Amsterdam Cards from the Amsterdam Tourism Board but all silliness and thoughts expressed in this article are totally our own.

PS: Drifter Planet contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will earn a little commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us reduce the costs of keeping this site active. Thanks for reading!

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