THE recipe for a great day or amazing weekend in Amsterdam: settle down at a cosy restaurant, a bit of sightseeing and a visit to a museum! We even have a whole square dedicated to it. The Museumplein is home to most of Amsterdam’s well-known museums, but did you know we have many more? 

We get started quickly and give you 10 tips for the very best museums in our capital.

The big names

Stedelijk Museum  

Without mentioning all the infamous titles on Museumplein, we still want to bring up the Stedelijk Museum in this list. While several Stedelijke Musea (municipal museums) around the Netherlands dedicate their collection to the story of their city, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam does so to modern and contemporary art. In fact, the works and objects in this remarkable building are one of the most important collections in the modern art genre in Europe. Gaze at the controversial temporary exhibitions or wander around the permanent collection of contemporary works.

NEMO Science Museum

Immersing yourself, experimenting and really understand your senses: that’s a visit to NEMO. This museum, by now, is inseparable from the sight of Amsterdam. You literally drive into the green colossus when you enter or leave the city. The NEMO Science Museum may seem aimed at children, but nothing is less true. After all, don’t you want to understand the science behind sound? And discover what tomorrow’s world will really look like? An active, playful and educational day guaranteed.

Eye Film Museum

On the Amsterdam IJ river you will find the Eye. Amsterdam’s film museum with as many as 54,000 films on display. From blockbusters and classics to surprising cult films. You won’t only learn all about the art of film, but you can also just enjoy a movie in one of the four theatres. The extraordinary design of the building seems to move when looking at it and is a work of art in itself. Check out countless film photos and books, archives and posters. From the pioneering times in 1896 to today.

Eye Film Museum

Digital museums in Amsterdam

NXT Museum

The very first media art museum in the Netherlands. That’s NXT Museum. A glimpse into the future when you walk over the threshold. At NXT, they believe that art reflects the spirit of the times, and media cannot be missing from that picture. They use technologies of today, but you’ll also discover digital developments you didn’t know yet. Contemplate the speed of media and get carried away by all the movements, colours and stimulations in the former production house in Amsterdam North.

Fabrique des Lumières

See art come to life at this French light factory. You don’t have to drive all the way, though, as you’ll find the light museum in Amsterdam’s Westerpark. Fabrique des Lumières has only been around since April 2022 and is the little sister of Atelier des Lumières in Paris – where you can see and experience works by Monet, Van Gogh and Klimt. At the Amsterdam location, you will not only see the work of classical and modern artists, but also those of contemporary artists. Everything lights up, moves and amazes. A unique sensory experience for everyone, even if you are not a great museum lover.

Fabrique des Lumières
Picture by Culturespaces / Eric Spiller

Somewhat different from others

Houseboat Museum

Don’t fancy a mega building or an ultra-famous name? Then head to the Houseboat Museum on Prinsengracht in Amsterdam city centre. Vincent is the initiator and resident of this museum. He noticed that people were interested in what it is like to live on a houseboat. How do you get there and what about electricity, for instance? Vincent turned his home into a museum!

Red Light Secrets

In the middle of the Red Light District (the Wallen), you can learn more about the world’s oldest profession. At Red Light Secrets, the doors to the red-lit rooms will open and you can experience what it is like to be watched from the street. A surprising place where it is not all about porn, but where you will hear all the secrets and stories about working in prostitution. Because why does someone choose this profession, what type of clients pass by and what happens when the curtains close? No more secrets for you after a visit to Amsterdam’s prostitution museum.

Museum van de Geest

Roughly translated ‘Museum of the Mind’. This museum has a location in Haarlem, but also on the Amstel river in Amsterdam. Museum van de Geest shows unpolished art made by people with special backgrounds. They call the works all together ‘Outsider Art’. An art form where the artists work so wildly, they might call it ‘maniacal’. Unexpected, raw, contrarian and unconventional. You automatically look at the collection through different eyes. 

Museum van de Geest Outsider Art
Picture by Janiek Dam

Museums about biology

Artis Micropia

Discover the invisible world at this science museum in the centre of Amsterdam. Next to the entrance of the famous Amsterdam zoo you will find the entrance to Micropia. A museum about bacteria, mould and everything else invisible around us. Ask your questions to the museum’s lab technicians and change your view on bacteria. After all, they are not just ‘dirty’, but help us develop medicines and food. Life-enhancing, microscopic creatures.

Katten Kabinet

OK, it’s not exactly pure biology. But you do need biology to create these little creatures. At the Cat Cabinet, you see cats everywhere. Sculptures, photos, paintings, and posters starring these fluffy creatures. The museum on the Herengracht in Amsterdam was founded in memory of John Pierpont Morgan, the red male cat AND quirky companion of Bob Meijer, the founder of the Cat Cabinet. Every five years, John was surprised with a special gift: a personal portrait, immortalisation in a bronze statue, and a book starring.. him of course. Go and experience it! 

Amsterdam is tremendously rich in museums. Handy, because that way there is something to see for everyone. Worn out and done? Nothing like sinking into a soft chair at our restaurant EAST after a day of artistic impressions. Have lunch and choose your favourite coffee or tea to go with it. The perfect end to your museum visit in Amsterdam!


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