Let me begin by saying that Amsterdam is every art lovers dream. This culture-rich city is filled with countless small galleries, is home to several of the world’s greatest museums and masterpieces, and also has an extremely widespread street art scene. Are you art lovers drooling yet? Today I am very excited to share my guide to Amsterdam’s art culture scene with you. Click through to read more, and I hope you find it helpful!
Translated as “museum plain” in English, this area in Southern Amsterdam is a must-see for any art lover. It houses Amsterdam’s three “power museums”: the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and the Stedelijkmuseum. I had enough time to visit the first two, and was frankly blown away. Having originally hoped to knock both out in 3 hours, I ended up spending that entire time at the Rijksmuseum, first taking in the classic works of Rembrandt, and then heading to the lower levels to check out cool contemporary exhibits (such as an Ancient Warfare one, another one focusing on Victorian Era wedding dresses, and yet another filled completely with modern art). My personal favorite was the old library; something about books is just so magical. Added perk if you are 19 and under: free entrance! The next day I headed to the Van Gogh Museum. I pre-bought my tickets through the free New Amsterdam Walking Tour on my first day, saving me a two hour wait (and costing me the exact same 15 Euros). This museum took about 1 1/2-2 hours, and included a wonderful portion which gave details about Van Gogh’s life and artwork.
2. Anne Frank Museum
Now, I was really unsure if I should include this museum under “art”, but I do think it falls under “culture”, which is why it’s going in. The museum was such an incredible experience that it was completely worth the two hour wait in freezing temperatures before. I felt that this museum was something I had to see first hand, and I am so glad I did. While without furniture, each room behind the bookcase was still intact, down to the pictures Anne had taped up on the wall. Do it if you are ever there.
Want to fill your afternoon visiting smaller art spaces? Head over to Joordan, the neighborhood that became my personal favorite during the trip. Wander up and down the little side streets, and you will find dozens of little galleries. These are run and owned either by the artists themselves, or people who like to collect and display/sell. Don’t be shy, just open the door and walk in! Because they’re small as well, you have a really good chance of learning lots about the pieces you will be looking at. Just ask! And while you’re wandering around outside, it’ll be impossible to miss the street art put up on nearly every wall. My personal favorite it the ET re-creation you’ll see below.
4. NDSM Werf
This is truly a place beyond belief. Located about a 10 minute ferry ride from Amsterdam, this now former shipyard now dedicated solely to creating art. Honestly, the whole experience was so strange for me, because, this was simply a place I could not figure out! There are restaurants sporadically scattered around, with building projects happening all around. I spent a good twenty minutes trying to figure out if a towering crane was a hotel or not, followed by questioning if the VW buses parked around were permanent homes. Huge concrete walls are covered completely in street art, and the old towering halls (used formerly for manufacturing steel and boat supplies) have been converted into artist workshops. On the other side of the wharf there was a more modern area, with lots of business people walking around. Simply a place beyond belief, but it provides for incredible photos and is not to be missed.
The one art place I didn’t have the chance to visit was FOAM, the Amsterdam photography museum. I guess that’s what next time is for, right? 😀
Some extra photos + descriptions below:
Hope you all have found this helpful, and please (as always), please feel free to comment below with any questions!