A Little Tip…Visiting Museums in Amsterdam

I’ve been lucky enough to score a sweet house-sitting gig in Amsterdam for two weeks and was able to spend a lot of time exploring what this city has to offer – check out my advice for how to rent a bike in Amsterdam if you haven’t yet and stay tuned throughout the rest of the week for more tips!

Museum of Film DisplayMuseums and Tourist Sites in Amsterdam

There are roughly 26 museums and/or places of interest in the city (and there’s a great free-map of them all at the tourist office/museum information desk). Another score for the house-sitting hookup was a museum card to use to my heart’s content.

I visited quite a few of the museums and really, the two most obvious were clearly the best, the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. The Anne Frank House is also worth a visit. I did the Flimmusem and the Theatre museum and thought them largely skip-able – in fact, wholly skip-able unless you’re in the city for weeks like me.

The Van Gogh Museum though is worth every penny of a visit so don’t scrimp and skip it. Seriously, don’t. I was actually here about four years ago and also paid a visit; the museum is larger now and has a whole other exhibit with works of art and masterpieces from Van Gogh’s contemporaries at the time. The works chronicle Van Gogh’s life and I thought that the works from Paul Gauguin and Emile Bernard were just as neat and interesting.I amsterdam

There is also an interactive portion on one of the upper floors for those wanting to get in touch with their inner geek (read: me) and learn more about the restoration process and about how they even know that some of these paintings are actually authentic Van Goghs.

And I cannot leave out the Rijksmuseum- also well worth a visit and has some amazing silver work the likes of which I have never seen in addition to a whole lot of china and various objects d’arte…a different experience than the V.G.M. where it’s all about looking at the paintings.

And here is the supremo piece of advice I can offer you about the various museums…you don’t have to like it all. And! you certainly don’t have to stand in front of every painting.

In my most humble opinion, unless you are an art-buff, it is perfectly acceptable (and much more enjoyable) to gently stroll through the museums and stop at something that catches your eye. Every single thing and piece of art is just not that interesting. It just isn’t. I much prefer to spend 10 minutes each staring at several paintings that I like/find intriguing than two minutes rushing around to see them all.

Skipping some and focusing on what catches your eye truly takes some of the chore out of visiting and cuts down on burnout. Just give yourself a free pass and say “hey, I don’t have to like/get this, I think I will walk onward.”

What are your favorite museums and things to do in Amsterdam? Any tips?

Other tips and things to do in this “Amsterdam Like a Local” series:

Rent a Bike and Ride Around Amsterdam Like a Local

Shopping the Local Markets

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4 Responses to A Little Tip…Visiting Museums in Amsterdam

  1. Amy @ The Q Family September 3, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    I have no guilt because I have kids. :) They can probably stay focus for 10 seconds top. With that being said, Art museum with kids is one of the fun activity that a family can do. There are so much more than just looking at the art pieces. And sometimes, my kids surprised me in their appreciation in art. :)

    • Shannon September 5, 2009 at 12:13 pm #

      Kids are a nice out :-) lol, but I think I might hold off on getting my own for now! ;-)

  2. Anil August 29, 2009 at 6:49 am #

    I got over the guilt of skimming most museums a while ago. Nothing wrong with stopping only at your favorites.

    • Shannon August 31, 2009 at 8:29 am #

      Sadly for a while I was racked with guilt over it thinking it made me a horrible person who couldn’t appreciate art…I got over that now! :-)

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