Although Amsterdam is mostly known abroad for other things, the city features many fantastic museums.
Only visit Van Gogh museum if you actually like his work. I personally prefer other museums like:
- Rijksmuseum reopened in 2013 after 10 years of renovations and turned out splendid. It contains works of the great historical masters (Rembrandt, Vermeer etc) and more. It’s most crowded on Fri-Sat-Sun between 11am and 3pm, so try to avoid those times if you can. Don’t miss the lovely tea garden at the foot of the museum. You can also take pictures with the big iamsterdam letters there.
And of course Anne Frank House is an important museum that I recommend visiting. TIP: get tickets in advance through the internet, that way you won’t need to queue. TIP 2: it’s open in the evenings. More about the queue, busiest times, ticket scalping, record numbers of visitors, and an excerpt of a documentary about visitors, here.
- If you can’t manage to visit Anne Frank House, the Verzetsmuseum / Dutch Resistance Museum is a very good alternative. Though very different, it tells you a lot about World War 2. It is very well set-up, and not as crowded.
- Stadsarchief = City Archives – temporary exhibitions, for example about Van Gogh’s time in Amsterdam; 400 years canal belt (UNESCO World Heritage); 100 year old photos, etc. Plus loads and loads of black and white photos in their digital systems.
- Scheepvaartmuseum (maritime museum)
- NEMO Science Museum (technology and science, lots of buttons, static instruments and other things to play with)
- Stedelijk Museum (modern art and photography)
- Even the Museum of Bags and Purses is fun and interesting! And in a beautiful canal house.
Museum Het Schip is interesting for architecture buffs. It’s inside a building in the shape of a huge steam ship, using the art deco related architectural style ‘Amsterdamse School’. You can visit examples of tinyworking class houses inside. Click for more about Amsterdamse School architecture in Amsterdam.
- I heard Electric Ladyland is also a cool museum, it features fluorescent art. I have yet to go see it.
- The Sex Museum on Damrak is actually quite funny and has some interesting historical items (but also a horrible bestiality room, luckily with warnings outside).