Museums Of Amsterdam

I love stories and have always loved to visit and immerse myself in the history of the place that I am visiting.

What better way to witness the history of a town than to visit the best museums?

So, I searched online beforehand for the best museums in Amsterdam. I came across a number of them and read about all my options to choose the ones that I was interested in the most.

I found out that Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum were the two best options I would be interested in, I had a day spared for history, and these two were also relatively close, both situated in the museum square, so that was also a plus point.

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Library at Rijksmuseum

Tickets: I always try to book "skip the line" tickets beforehand as you never know if you are going to encounter a big tourist or school group in the line. Many times you may have to wait for an hour or more to enter if you do not have such a ticket.

Unless you don't live there, I feel that waiting in lines is a waste of time as your focus should be on exploring and enjoying as much as you can. Keeping in line with that, I booked a full day pass for Rijksmuseum, which could be used for one entry until the end of the year. That was pretty great as that leads to a lot of flexibility.

But for the Van Gogh museum, the tickets are timed, and you have to book a slot. They do give you a 15-minute (plus and minus) window to show up. I would highly recommend you spend 2-3 hours at every museum if you want to understand everything they have to offer. I scheduled both of them one after the other on my travel itinerary.

I did want to visit other museums. Anne Frank House is said to be an experience of a lifetime as well. Due to time constraints, I could not visit it but it does come highly recommended for everyone.


Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Rijksmuseum (@theranoosharma)

To my surprise, the coat/bag deposit line, as well as the ticket entry line, was short as I was one of the first people in, around 9 am. But remember, when I did leave after 2 hours, there wasn't a place to even breathe. It seemed like all the tourists and school groups in the city had the grand idea of visiting the museum that day (just like me).

I took an audiovisual museum Bluetooth enabled guide (a small tab with headphones) for about 5 dollars, which connected to the museum's Wifi and tracked your location to let you know about the nearest pieces in detail. You can also take a particular tour and go along the route that the tab suggests. I tried selecting one of the tour options (tried to follow for about 40 minutes) but honestly just got lost and kept it aside. Of course, the museum has spectacular pieces, paintings, and exhibits. I enjoyed the big beautiful windows and the stories that went along with the pieces.

You can find more pictures of my tour on my Instagram page @theranoosharma and @theplatinumgirl.

When it came to taking pictures, the museum had way too many people and school groups rushing about. I came across the night watch that people were talking about but honestly didn't understand anything, large groups of people with guided tours flocked the area, and I couldn't get in or make sense of what was going on. I would recommend having a personal guide with you else you won't be able to understand it plus have 3-5 hours set aside if you want to get a sense of the whole place and learn about the majority of the pieces. If you have small kids, are college buddies, in a bachelor/bachelorette party or a couple on a honeymoon or something like that, skip this attraction else you'll get bored, only for serious history buffs.

After a much-needed coffee break. I made my way to the next museum.

Van Gogh museum

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (@theranoosharma)

Scratch that, I ran to make it in time as I did not gauge the amount of time Rijksmuseum would take. Anyway, I made it five minutes later, and they didn't mind as the upper cap is 15 minutes.

The ticket is timed, so be on time (within 15 minutes of your chosen time)! The line to keep your coats and backpacks (you can't take them in) were long and tiring, but free.

This museum had some audiovisual presentations/ gallery statement pieces that I liked. Face to face with Van Gogh was spectacular. You would find everything about Van Gogh and his life and times, which was interesting to learn about.

My issue here was the same as above. There were way too many people, a lot of BIG bored tour groups lingered about. I may sound a bit angry but I am trying to give you the most honest opinion rather than gush about and put a filter on my blog. This is what you should expect. It kind of hampers your experience as you are pushed away from the exhibit you are trying to see. I would suggest having a set number of people at a time for an hour or so. I visited in October, and you can imagine what happens in June-July, the peak tourist seasons. The line to get your belongings back was long, too, again can be optimized by allowing only a small number of people at a time. I thought it would be the case as the ticket was timed, but guess not.

Also, try to visit the balconies (stairs), they have a stunning view of the outside, and I had a fantastic photo session there as there was nobody out there.

Both the museums were grand and worth the money. I learned a ton of new stuff and saw things I had never seen before. The only issue I faced was the crowd. I went to the Harvard Art Museum in Boston, and there were so few people there that you could sit down and contemplate a piece and go around at your pace. I missed that peace in these museums but nevertheless, visiting these museums is bound to be entertaining. 


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