Top museums in Amsterdam

The Holland Pass city card offers entrance with high discounts to a lot of popular things to do in Amsterdam, including museum visits! Amsterdam is a world-class city and there are over a thousand fun things to do during your stay. So what are the absolute must-see museums in Amsterdam? Of course, there are a lot of tourists who immediately think of the Van Gogh Museum or Rijksmuseum when visiting Amsterdam. But Amsterdam has so much more museums to offer. Amsterdam is one of the few cities in Europe with such a wide range of museums to choose out of. So whether you are really into (art)history or you just want to see some cool creative artworks, keep on reading this blog and find out which Amsterdam museums are an absolute must-see during your stay and which Amsterdam museums fit your personal interests best.

Must-see Museums in Amsterdam

Van Gogh Museum

Although we started this blog stating the fact that Amsterdam has so much more to offer than just the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, these two are the most popular museums in Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands and have definitely earned their spot at the top of the Amsterdam Museums list.

Vincent van Gogh is probably one of the most famous painters in the entire world. He was born on March 30th in 1853 and died on July 29th in 1890, he was only 37 years old.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is dedicated to his works and that of his contemporaries. It comprises 200 paintings, 400 drawings and 700 letters by Vincent Van Gogh. Famous artworks such as the Self-portrait (1888) and the Sunflowers (1189) are exhibited here.

The museum is located at the famous Museumplein (Museum Square). As the name already reveals, this is the square to visit in Amsterdam when interested in (Dutch) museums.


Also located at the famous Museumplein (Museum Square) is the Rijksmuseum.

The Rijksmuseum is one of the Dutch national museums and most valued treasures of the country. Although a lot of foreign visitors don’t leave the coffee shops during their stay in Amsterdam, a trip to Amsterdam is not complete without having visited the impressive Rijksmuseum.

This Amsterdam museum is dedicated to the arts and history of the Netherlands and was founded in The Hague in 1800. The museum moved to Amsterdam in 1808, where it was first located in the Royal Palace. The current building that has the honor to accommodate this Amsterdam museum opened its doors in 1885. On April 2013, after a 10-year renovation which cost over € 375 million, the main building was reopened.

Famous artworks such as Rembrandt’s Nightwatch and Vermeer’s Het Melkmeisje (The Milkmaid) are exhibited in what is considered Holland’s and Amsterdam’s most treasured museum.

Jewish Cultural Quarter

Amsterdam has a quarter, the Jewish Cultural Quarter, dedicated to the Jewish community, their history & culture. The tragedy that took place during World War 2 is shown in the form of events and exhibitions. The Jewish Cultural Quarter exists of:

  • Jewish Historical Museum
  • Portuguese Synagogue
  • National Holocaust Memorial
  • Jewish Historical Museum for children

In this district you will learn everything there is to know about Jew people, their experience during the Holocaust and their legacy.

Although the Anne Frank House is not included in the Holland Pass, it's worth mentioning in this blog post. This museum is a writer’s house and biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. The Anne Frank House is one of the most original Amsterdam museums. It has a unique setting not only for an Amsterdam museum but for a museum in general. During WO 'll a young Jewish girl kept a diary, describing the daily horrors she and her family had to endure. Unfortunately, this young girl did not survive the war and died during the Holocaust. Her words, thoughts, and courage, however, inspire millions all over the world till this very day.

This Amsterdam museum opened its doors on May 3rd, 1960. It preserves the hiding place, has a permanent exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, and has an exhibition space about all forms of persecution and discrimination. In 2013 and 2014, the Amsterdam museum had 1.2 million visitors and was the 3rd most visited museum in the Netherlands, after the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum.

Stedelijk Museum

Now that we’ve covered the most popular museums in Amsterdam, it is now time to cover some interesting Amsterdam museums that you may not have heard of before.

The Stedelijk Museum is a museum of modern and contemporary art, also located at the Museumplein (Museum Square). If you ever come across someone who has been to Amsterdam but has never heard about the Museum Square, you are probably dealing with someone who never left the coffee shop during their stay (we are not judging, though, Amsterdam is all about having fun in your own way).

This Amsterdam museum was opened on September 14th in 1895 as an initiative of the local authority and private individuals. The collection comprises modern and contemporary art and design from the early 20th century up to the 21st century. It features famous artist such as Vincent van Gogh, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kircher, Marlene Duman, and Andy Warhol.

So, if you are interested in more modern art then this is one of the Amsterdam museums to visit.


The Tropenmuseum is one of the largest museums in Amsterdam and has over 3 stories.

This museum is what they call an ethnographic museum, which means that its exhibition regards the systematic study of people and cultures. So, if you are interested in more than just the Dutch culture and history and would also like to learn more about other continents such as Africa, the Middle East, Asia etc., then this Amsterdam museum will not disappoint you!

Red Light Secrets

As stated above, The Tropenmuseum focuses more on exotic cultures. The Red Light Secrets, however, focuses on a very specific Amsterdam Topic; Prostitution in the Red Light District.

The Red Light Secrets, also known as the Whores Museum among locals, is a small museum in the middle of the Red Light District. This Amsterdam museum gives its visitors an informative tour about how the Amsterdam Red Light District came about and gives an honest glimpse into the real life of real prostitutes. Although it is a relatively small museum, it is a very important museum in Amsterdam. Because what a lot of visitors forget sometimes, is that prostitutes are people too.

BODY WORLDS: The Happiness Project

Are you looking for a unique museum in Amsterdam? Everything you see in the BODY WORLDS exhibition originates from real human bodies! It is amazing to see. These people gave their bodies to science after their death. BODY WORLDS tells you all kinds of amazing things about our bodies and the impact of happiness on our health. Over 200 anatomical specimens reveal the complexity, resilience, and vulnerability of the human body. The exhibition is highly educational, fascinating and even a little interactive! Some people may think this attraction isn’t appropriate to visit with kids, but the contrary has been proved. Due to its educational character, BODY WORLDS is a must-visit with kids! And they love it…

Maritime Museum

Het Scheepvaartmuseum, The National Maritime Museum, housed in the storehouse of the old admiralty, wants everyone to discover how the Netherlands is formed by the sea, with exhibits that clarify, excite and inspire. Traditionally the Netherlands is a country that engages in overcoming the sea. Sailing on high seas, looking for undiscovered countries and trade. Reclaiming land from the sea, winning sea battles and conducting trade with distant countries. Excitement, adventure and courage were key features of the sailors of the past and have all come together in The National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam.

In the National Maritime Museum, you will explore 500 years of the Dutch maritime history. Come aboard the ship replica Dutch East Indiaman Amsterdam or step into the Voyage at Sea and experience the sailor's life.

Erotic Museum Amsterdam

This museum is not included in Holland Pass, but still is a fun thing to do whilst in Amsterdam! What is Amsterdam famous for other than its canals? The Red Light District, of course! And apart from the Red Light Windows, there are artistic and cultural places here too! The Erotic Museum of Amsterdam is situated right in the Red Light District- so you can’t miss it. At the Erotic museum, you will discover that erotica is an art object and an indispensable part of the city’s history. Multiple posters, pictures, statues and objects are part of the provocative exhibition on 3 floors. Take a glimpse in the Sadomasochism room; get an insight into the most ancient profession; explore the history of erotica through the ages. Don’t miss the highlight of the Erotic museum –John Lennon’s erotic sketches. The souvenir store will offer you a great collection of funny souvenirs as a proof to your friends that you have truly explored the backstairs of Amsterdam!

Nemo Science Museum

This museum is not included in Holland Pass, but it is very cool to visit with kids! As the name already reveals, Nemo is a science-related museum, especially fun and informative for children between 4 and 12 years old. If you happen to travel to Amsterdam with children, be sure to visit this Amsterdam museum, they will absolutely love it!

The building of the Nemo Science Museum is quite impressive, not only because of its size but also because of its location and form. The Amsterdam museum was built on top of a tunnel near the Maritime Museum. Maybe this inspired the architect Renzo Piano to build the museum in the shape of a ship. There are over a hundred activities for young and old. Visit this Amsterdam museum and you might come to the conclusion that you are never too old to learn new things.