5 Best Museums in the Netherlands

View on the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam

Discover architectural and cultural marvels in the Netherlands with our list of the 5 Best Museums in this country. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply curious about the intersection of creativity and design, this article is your guide to the most captivating museums across the Netherlands.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Rotterdam)

The walls of this building contain an impressive collection of 151 thousand works from the Boijmans-van Beningen Museum, located next door. Usually, the museums’ vaults are closed from visitors, but here the architects did something different. This approach allows the museum to display its entire collection at once, while other museums can display no more than 20 percent of the collection at a time. 

MVRDV designed the bowl-shaped building, finished with mirrored glass panels, which features a birch and conifer garden on the roof. And inside, the building is divided into storage, restoration rooms, and galleries.

Officially, the new storage building, located in the city’s Museum Park, opened its doors on November 6, 2021, although construction was fully completed a year before that. The building now houses 63,000 paintings, photographs, films, and other objects, as well as 88,000 prints and drawings.

The heart of the interior is the atrium, which runs through the entire room. And it is as much as 35 meters high! The atrium is not only framed with glass but is also complemented by exhibition stands.

The interior solution links seven main levels and 20 storage departments. 14 of them are used by the museum, and 6 are rented to private collectors. The vaults also have five climatic zones, each with its own special temperature and humidity regime. Glass walls allow these zones to be seen from the atrium, allowing the interior to “breathe”.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam
Inside of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
paintings in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Read our big guide to Rotterdam.

Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

A tourist classic that fully deserves its popularity. Van Gogh is probably the most tragic hero of his era. He revolutionized painting, although his dreams only became reality after his death. A biography and his most important paintings (Sunflowers, Irises, Potato Eaters, and Wheatfield with Crows) are all here. Get ready for a strong emotional experience (there are even wooden cabinets on one floor, so you can climb in and recover a bit from what you’ve seen). You can also listen to lectures in the museum (for example, about analyzing paintings under a microscope).

In addition to Van Gogh’s works, there is a collection of works by his contemporaries—Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Signac.

Van Gogh Museum from the outside

Netherlands Open Air Museum

“Netherlands Under the Open Air” is an ethnographic museum where you can see how the daily life of the country was organized at different times. It is a whole city with dwellings, mills, churches, warehouses, a hospital and a school. There is even its own brewery, where several types of beer are brewed and tastings are held.

The buildings in the museum are authentic, having been brought from different parts of the Netherlands. Inside, all the rooms are detailed interiors. On the territory of the museum is quite lively and not boring: actors dressed in traditional clothes communicate with visitors and familiarize them with folk crafts. There are a lot of different activities for all ages. An interesting feature of the museum is a retro streetcar that takes guests around the territory.

How do I get there from Amsterdam? 

By train to Arnhem station. The journey takes about 1 hour; tickets start at €17.70. Then take bus number 3 or 8 to the Openluchtmuseum stop.

NEMO science museum (Amsterdam)

A science museum about the way the world works. A path through the universe, chemistry experiments, and geometry that look more like Lewis Carroll’s world than boring school lessons—naturally, all exhibits are interactive. Beware, there may be a lot of kids—if you want relative quiet, come straight to the opening.

According to the architect’s plan, you can see ventilation pipes, ceilings, and other functional elements in the museum—this is also part of understanding how things work in the world. The museum also has access to a rooftop overlooking the old city—don’t miss the opportunity to take unique photos.

Science Museum NEMO in Amsterdam

The Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven

The Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven is a dynamic hub of contemporary art that captivates visitors with its innovative exhibitions and thought-provoking installations. Established in 1936, the museum has continually evolved to push the boundaries of artistic expression, making it a pioneering institution in the realm of modern and contemporary art.

With a diverse collection of works from the 20th and 21st centuries, the Van Abbemuseum offers a unique perspective on the progression of artistic movements and societal change. Its commitment to engaging audiences and fostering dialogue through art makes it a vibrant cultural destination that reflects the ever-changing landscape of creativity.

Van Abbe Museum in Eindhoven
Inside of the Van Abbe Museum
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