Museums in Amsterdam: The Top 25

There are many museums in Amsterdam - per square mile, no other city in the world is said to have more museums than Amsterdam. On our other page about Amsterdam museums, you can read which ones we believe should be on the shortlist of any first-time visitor.

This page has an overview of the 25 museums in Amsterdam that receive more than 25,000 visitors annually. If you're unsure where to go, just follow the masses...

Almost all these museums have English sections on their web sites, but you'll have to look sometimes for the well hidden "English" button on their homepages.

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Van Gogh Museum

1. Van Gogh Museum (1,675,000 visitors/year)
Focuses on works by Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh, one the of the most important painters of the 19 century, and his contemporaries like Monet and Gauguin. Located a few hundred meters from the Rijksmuseum.

2. Rijksmuseum (National Museum) (1,163,000)
The Netherlands' national museum, which focuses on 'Dutch Masters' (paintings) from the Golden Age, the 17th century, with a few 16th and 18th century works as well. Only partly opened due to renovations, but you will see all the highlights.

3. Anne Frank House (1,003,000)
The house where Anne Frank, the Jewish girl who wrote the world famous diaries, and her family went into hiding for two years before being they were betrayed and died in a concentration camp. Clearly among the most impressive museums in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Sexmuseum

4. Sex Museum 'Venus Temple' (552,000)
The first museum world-wide (founded 1985) on everything related to sex, the role of sex in ancient cultures, prostitution etc. Contrary to the Erotic Museum, it's seen as a serious museum, giving quite some food for thought.

5. Stedelijk Museum (223,000)
The leading modern art museum of the Netherlands, with a strong international reputation when it comes to works by e.g. Mondriaan and CoBrA artists. It's own building is closed due to renovations, but the museum has exhibitions at various other locations in Amsterdam. Check their site for this.

6. Tropenmuseum (Tropical Museum) (210,000)
One of the leading museums in Amsterdam, it deals with non-Western peoples and cultures (basically the developing countries), displaying art, objects, photographs, film and music. It's housed in a beautiful old building. The name of the museum literally means "tropical museum".

Rembrandt House, Amsterdam

Rembrandt House

7. Rembrandt House (204,000)
The former home of the most famous Dutch Golden Age painter, Rembrandt van Rijn (maker of the 'Night Watch'). It has been restored in the original state and is a fascinating look into life of a well-to-do citizen of the Dutch Republic at the height of it's wealth and power. It's among my favorite museums in Amsterdam.

8. Amsterdam Historical Museum (203,000)
This museum tells the story of 7 centuries of city history, from the tiny village in 1250 AD and the center of the world economy in 1600 AD to the international multicultural city it is today.

9. Jewish Historical Museum (174,000)
Amsterdam had a large Jewish community until World War II, when it was decimated. Several Dutch words, including the nickname for Amsterdam ('Mokum') stem from Yiddish. This museum shows the history of the Dutch Jews.

Old Church

Old Church (13th century)

10. Old Church (Oude Kerk) (124,000)
Amsterdam's oldest church (built around 1250 AD) which, paradoxically, is now located in the middle of the Red Light District. Many famous Amsterdammers are buried inside the church. It now houses exhibitions, but the church is certainly worth your visit by itself.

11. FOAM Fotografiemuseum (117,000)
This renowned museum is about all things photography: documentary, art, historical, applied photography. It also exhibits work by both famous photographers and emerging young talent.

12. Informatiecentrum De Zuiderkerk (96,000)
Amsterdam is perhaps the most planned city in Europe, and this museum shows everything about Amsterdam city planning in the past, present and near future. It's operated by the city administration and especially targeted at Amsterdam citizens, but anyone who's interested is welcome of course.

Hash Museum, Amsterdam

Hash Museum

13. Hash Marihuana Hemp Museum (96,000)
It's not one of the most sophisticated museums in Amsterdam, but the cannabis phenomenon (of which hash and marihuana are derived) is a side of Amsterdam that's unique in the world. This museum informs you about all sides of this, in their words, useful and salutary product of cannabis.

14. Filmmuseum (95,000)
A museum for cinematography, having a collection of 46,000 movies, 35,000 movie posters and 450,000 pictures. However, most Amsterdammers know it as a reputable movie theatre with café and terrace in the Vondelpark.

15. Hermitage (90,000)
The Amsterdam satellite of the famous Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg (Russia), stressing the strong historic relationship between the two cities. It houses excellent exhibitions on e.g. Russian art and culture. It's only partly opened now, and expect visitor numbers to shoot up when the new Hermitage opens mid 2009.

16. Museum Ons' Lieve Heer Op Solder (Our Lord in the Attic) (82,000)
A former secret Catholic church from the 17th century (since Catholicism was banned during the Dutch Reformation). It's largely kept in the original state and it's now hosting interesting art and religious exhibitions.

17. Stadsarchief Amsterdam (75,000)
This historic center of documentation of Amsterdam is a mix between archive and museum. Besides records of deceased inhabitants, documents, maps, drawings, the museum also has a large library and photo, audio and film collection.

18. Verzetsmuseum (Resistance Museum) (52,000)
A museum showing the history of the Dutch Resistance during World War II through posters, photos, movies, documents and objects. It also has attention for the colonial past of the Netherlands (e.g. in Indonesia), when the Dutch were the occupiers instead of the occupied.

19. Museum Willet-Holthuysen (47,000)
Is the canal house of a Golden Age 'patrician' (well-to-do Amsterdam citizen from the 17th century) that's kept in the original state. It shows a collection of plates, silverware, books and art from the Dutch Golden Age.

20. Museum Van Loon (45,000)
A double canal house that belonged for many ages to the patrician Van Loon family. Family members were VOC (East India Company) founders and Amsterdam mayors. The collection largely focuses on family history, portraits etc. One of the most charming museums in Amsterdam.

21. Allard Pierson Museum (39,000)
The archeological museum of the University of Amsterdam. It has a collection on ancient Egypt, the Roman empire, Greece, the Middle East, Etruria, etc.

22. House Boat Museum (38,000)
Located in an actual house boat - a ship with a fixed place in a canal that's used as a home - it shows what living in a house boat is like.

23. Biblical Museum (Bijbels Museum) (35,000)
Has a collection focusing on Judeo-Christian history with e.g. temple models, the oldest bibles ever printed in the Netherlands, but also artefacts from ancient Egypt.

24. Nederlands Theatermuseum (Theatre Museum) (34,000)
It's premises at the Herengracht have been closed, since it was decided to turn the museum into a travelling exhibition. It focuses on the history of theatre in the Netherlands.

25. Huis Marseille (29,000)
A photography museum that's the small (tiny) sister of the large FOAM. Located in a 17th century canal house.

The Stedelijk Museum building is closed for renovations, but the museum still has exhibitions on several locations in Amsterdam. It's rather unfortunate that several key museums in Amsterdam had to be renovated at the same time...

Related Pages: