Amsterdam is home to many interesting and historical art collections. One of Amsterdam’s neighborhoods (“Museum Quarter”) is dedicated to three of it’s most famous art museums: the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum. I was fortunate enough to visit two from this corner of the city during my stay.
Of all the art museums I’ve seen during my travels, the Rijksmuseum is by far my favorite. It not only holds some of the best art in the world, it also has a unique structure and an all-around welcoming ambiance. The museum dutifully credits the Dutch Masters including Vermeer, Rembrandt, Hals, and Steen while presenting the history of Holland through artwork. One level is dedicated to the Middle Ages before you ascend the floors admiring works of the Golden Age and beyond. Paintings, furniture, weapons, sculptures, model ships, and Cuypers Library are only some of the museum’s treasures. We spent two and a half hours in the museum before closing time and it was definitely not enough!
The Van Gogh Museum is a mere five minute walk from the Rijksmuseum. Even though Van Gogh is not my favorite artist, visiting the museum made me appreciate his work and creative development. The floors of the museum are organized to present his early studies and sketches, his inspiration of other artists, his relationship with his brother, and how his confidence in his work grew into the unique style we admire today. Some interesting facts I learned about Van Gogh include:
*He was a self-declared artist at 27
*He studied a number of styles and artists including Japanese art which he sometimes literally replicated
*The museum holds 700 of his letters he wrote to his family describing his latest artistic processes
*He loved studying peasant life and nature
*His sister-in-law is perhaps the sole person responsible for his fame today, as she was the one who made sure his works were published and shared with the world
Like the Rijksmuseum, I would recommend buying tickets online before arrival. This will save you time and energy that could be spent exploring the museums! You cannot take photos of the artwork in the Van Gogh museum, but here is an idea of what the museum looks like:
While these two art museums were a part of my latest itinerary, you can visit others such as The Stedelijk Museum for contemporary art and design, the Hermitage Amsterdam for a selection of the Hermitage collection in Russia (I visited this museum during my last trip to Amsterdam), or the Amsterdam Museum for a collection of art and household objects of times gone by. These few that I’ve mentioned are only a few of the museums Amsterdam has to offer. No matter which museum you may visit in Amsterdam, it will be an enriching, cultural experience.
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