Amsterdam

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Amsterdam’s museums rank among the best anywhere. The art ranges from classical to contemporary, but history, foreign cultures, bibles, and even sex and marijuana also have cultural spaces of their own: from the terrific to the tacky there’s a museum to suit every interest and taste in this city.

Amsterdam Museums

Amsterdam Historical Museum

This city center museum, situated in a 14th-century orphanage, showcases the history of the Amsterdam with a number of permanent exhibitions meant to bring the past into the present. Rotating exhibitions and a series of historical city walks add to the museum’s appeal, while the Civic Guard Gallery, one of the city's most unique alleyways, beckons those who might otherwise pass the museum altogether.

Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 357, 011-31-20-523-1822, www.ahm.nl
Tags: historic | culture | museum

EnergeticA

Think a museum of antique technology sounds dull? Hold on to your hat! You don’t just look at the gas lamps, electricity transformers, and elevators here; docents will fire them up for you in this former power station for the city’s trams.

Hoogte Kadijk 400, 011-31-20-422-1227
Tags: family | things to do | culture | history | museum

FOAM

Photographs from history’s most significant photographers are featured in rotating exhibitions mounted in this canal-side museum. The works of storied masters like Cartier-Bresson share the walls with the medium’s rising stars and lesser known, but equally notable artists.

Keizersgracht 609, 011-31-20-551-6500, www.foam.nl
Tags: museum | photography

Hermitage Amsterdam

Just in case Amsterdam didn’t already have enough art-themed attractions, the folks at St. Petersburg’s fabled Hermitage Museum have joined forces with the locals to mount rotating exhibitions of pieces culled from the parent museum’s vast collections.

Nieuwe Herengracht 14, 011-31-20-530-8755, www.hermitage.nl
Tags: art | museum

Museum Amstelkring

Under a strict Protestant regime (back when Amsterdam wasn’t so tolerant), Catholics were forced to worship in “clandestine” churches like this one.

Oudezijds Voorburgwal 40, 011-31-20-624-6604, www.museumamstelkring.nl
Tags: things to do | culture | architecture | history | museum

Rijksmuseum

The main building, a massive, gorgeous structure by Pierre Cuypers, recently underwent a major renovation and is now open to the public. In addition to visiting the main wing, be sure to visit the Philips Wing, which features a collection of some of the best Dutch art around – from masters like Rembrandt (whose paintings The Night Watch and The Jewish Bride hang here), Vermeer (The Kitchen Maid), Hals, and Steen.

Museumstraat 1, 011-31-20-674-7000, www.rijksmuseum.nl
Tags: art | things to do | culture | architecture | history | museum

Rotterdam

Though lacking Amsterdam’s charm and intimate scale, Europe’s busiest port boasts dazzling contemporary architecture, youthful energy, and wonderful museums of Dutch master paintings, photography and maritime life.

48 miles south of Amsterdam, www.vvv.rotterdam.nl/uk
Tags: art | architecture | day trip | museum

The Hague

Amsterdam shares the title of the capital of the Netherlands with the Hague, a stately city studded with waterways, 13th-century monuments, fine museums, and the World Court.

34 miles southwest of Amsterdam, www.vvvdenhaag.nl
Tags: editor pick | culture | architecture | day trip | museum

The Kröller-Müller Museum

This unique museum is located in the middle of a 21-square-mile wooded national park (free bicycles can be found at each of the park’s three entrances). The museum’s two sections – a building containing the world’s second largest Van Gogh collection, and a massive outdoor sculpture garden – are world class.

Houtkampweg 6 (in the center of Hoge Veluwe National Park), 011-31-318-591-241, www.kmm.nl
Tags: family | art | culture | day trip | museum | national park

Tropenmuseum

This unlikely museum celebrating foreign cultures provides an interesting and well-staged glimpse into the lives of the world’s non-Western peoples. Anthropology, history, and material culture make up the bulk of the exhibits, and a focus on interactive exhibits means children of all ages will be engaged and delighted. Surinam and Indonesia–both former Dutch colonies–receive extra attention, but the curators do well in presenting a broad, informative, and fun perspective.   

Linnaeusstraat 2, 011-31-20-568-8200, www.tropenmuseum.nl
Tags: history | museum

Van Gogh Museum

Some of the most famous works of this deeply troubled genius (including Sunflowers, The Bedroom, and Self Portrait with Felt Hat) are on display in these buildings (one by noted Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld). Special cultural events, many of which are aimed at the young at heart, take place on Friday nights. The main exhibit is divided into five chronological periods.

Paulus Potterstraat 7, 011-31-20-570-5200, www.vangoghmuseum.nl
Tags: editor pick | art | things to do | culture | history | museum

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