HIT #9: My top 3 favorite museums in the Netherlands
‘Hang In There’ is a weekly series hosted by our Marketing & Communication intern: Hang Vu. After 2 years of studying in the Netherlands, Hang wants to share her most honest experiences with other internationals who are also living in the Netherlands generally and in Eindhoven specifically.
With an enormous number of more than 430 museums across the country, the Netherlands is a perfect heaven for museum lovers like me. From art to technology and science, visitors can easily find at least one museum that suits their interests.
Personally, if I have to pick ten names for the best museums that I have visited in my life, these 3 Dutch museums will definitely be on the list. They have widened and enriched my knowledge about the history and art of the Netherlands and Europe.
Tip: To save up money for my museum tour, I purchased a ‘magic pass’ called Museumkaart (Museum card) from the first place, thanks to my friend’s advice. Since an adult museum ticket in the Netherlands is quite expensive (around €10-€20 per ticket), a Museumkaart is definitely a lifesaver for your wallet. For only €32,45 for the Kids and Youth (under 19 years old) card, and €64,90 for the Adult one, you can experience nearly all museums in the Netherlands for free in one year. If you love visiting museums during your free time, you will thank me a lot in the future for this investment.
1. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
This is the very first museum that I visited in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. My Vietnamese friend, born in the Netherlands, was so determined when she said this was a must-visit museum that no one should miss, just like Louvre Museum in Paris. After having visited it, I must say that she has her point.
Founded in 1798, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam is the largest national museum in the Netherlands, where thousands of works of art are displayed. Since the Rijksmuseum owns the world's largest Rembrandt collection, some people might think this is Rembrandt Museum. However, it is not true. At Rijksmuseum, besides masterpieces of Dutch artists like Rembrandt or Van Gogh, you can also find sophisticated Italian sculptures and paintings. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam is like a time machine taking visitors back to the Middle Ages and Neoclassicism period, and that is one of the main reasons why I am so in love with this museum.
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam - a pride of the Dutch.
It took me almost a day to walk through the museum and read thoroughly every single detail about each artwork. Therefore, my tip is to reserve a whole free day for Rijksmuseum and remember to take an instruction map to make sure that you don’t miss any masterpiece on the way.
2. Van Gogh Museum
Close to Rijksmuseum is the museum dedicated to the one and only Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. The museum was opened in 1973 by Vincent Willem van Gogh - his nephew, nearly 100 years after the death of the talented artist. It is home to many of his paintings, including a version of his world-famous ‘Sunflowers’ series. At Van Gogh Museum, stories around each phase of his life from 1853 to 1890 are well-explained, giving visitors a clear understanding of his masterpieces.
Since Van Gogh’s reputation has gone over the boundaries, it is not a surprise that most visitors come to Van Gogh Museum after visiting Rijksmuseum Amsterdam or vice versa. From my experience, I suggest that you should plan ahead a little bit if you want to visit Van Gogh Museum, especially during the weekend. Back in 2019, when I was in Amsterdam, I could not reserve a time slot at Van Gogh Museum, since it was fully booked for the whole month!
3. Rijksmuseum Muiderslot
Around 30 minutes by bus from Amsterdam Amstel station, I was so amazed by the architecture of “the best-preserved medieval castle in the Netherlands”. More than just a display museum, Muiderslot will take you back to the Middle Ages and the 17th century (sometimes, you will have the chance to see some ‘medieval knights’ practicing behind the castle). Rijksmuseum Muiderslot also revealed some remarks about the life of Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft - a Dutch poet and historian, who was the owner of this castle for 39 years in the 16th century.
Amsterdam Muiderslot through my lens on a sunny day in 2020. Unfortunately, my amateur photography skill could not capture 100% of its beauty.
I was lucky to visit Muiderslot twice, and each of them was amazing in its way. If the first time I was simply a visitor during the day with friends, my second time was a wonderful night with my colleagues at Holland2Stay during a company event. We had dinner inside the Knight’s Hall like the lords of the castle, and all fresh ingredients from the garden of Muiderslot were used for our dishes. It was an experience that I will never forget!