It can be easy to get swept away in Amsterdam with the party life. Its reputation for legalising things that you couldn’t do elsewhere in Europe or the rest of the world brings a crowd that is only there for one thing. But what if that’s not the life for you?
Amsterdam has some of the most beautiful art collections in the world. It would be an absolute shame to visit and not at least take a look. Even if you aren’t into art, you still know one mister Vincent Van Gogh.
I want to shine a light on the art, and not to let the other side of Amsterdam get all the spotlight.
Where to start? If your going for the first time and really want to get a good history of all the art Amsterdam has, you’d do well to pick up a city “iAmsterdam” pass (around €70- €100 depending on the length of time- expensive, I know, but I’m getting to that!), which not only gives you access to the museums, but also travel to get around the city.
To start, you can do worse than the museum quarter (no surprises there) where all the big hitters are. You will find the Rijks and Van Gogh there, as well as many others. Some I didn’t even know existed and stumled into, one even had a lichenstien!
Nothing can prepare you for walking up to the Rijks. The building is as beautiful as it is massive. The imposing building was meant to impress, and it certainly did for me. I think that somewhere that houses such beautiful art has to have something special itself. Too often the buildings get overlooked, but I cant help but be inspired by this architecture. I think he would be proud to know his art was now living here!
A walkway through them centre of the building will take you through to the famous courtyard that used to house the famous iAmsterdam sign. As with any tourist destination you should prepare for the crowds if you want to get that perfect photo.
A short walk across the courtyard will take you to perhaps the most famous museum there, the Van Gogh.
When I was there, they had a special exhibition about his mental health and subsequent deterioration. It was profoundly moving to see and read the details of what his life was like, where his inspiration for his art came from. They even had the gun believed to have been the one he used to end his life. Needless to say, it was not and easy exhibit to go through, but one which I am glad I did.
Stepping off the plane, we saw a sign for a Banksy and Warhol museum, which first, how did I not know about this and thank you advertising, and second, whose mind thought to put those two together? I like you and your mind. Your doing great sweetie. But in all seriousness, they both had commentary on society, albeit different aspects, but they both work well together. And yes, you could exit through the gift shop. Banksy fans know what’s up with that.
None of these are cheap. Unlike London where most museums are free with a few paid exhibitions, the tickets to walk in to both of the Rijks and the Van Gogh are €20 a piece. You should be prepared for the cost, else it can be quite a shock, especially if you are a family. Amsterdam know what they are doing and are betting people will pay. Well, they’re right.
I can appreciate paying for art, in fact I encourage it for future generations to admire, but that high of a price to walk in seems a little to steep for me, and it can put people off not only tourists but locals as well who don’t have money to burn.
Apart from this, the experience you get from these places is wonderful. They inspired me so much I want to go back again!
There are of course numerous other museums that you can visit, both as part of the iAmsterdam pass and as an extra. I really recomend you check it out, because it may be worth it, or it may not. But what I can say is if you want to visit the museums, you won’t be disapointed!
Here are some cool art sculptures from where we stayed- the art really is everywhere!