Museum Madness Netherlands

Best museums in Amsterdam

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Tropenmuseum: 52.362656, 4.922299
Rembrandt House Museum: 52.369369, 4.901235
Amsterdam Museum: 52.369983, 4.889972
National Maritime Museum: 52.371708, 4.914880
Van Gogh Museum: 52.358416, 4.881076
Houseboat Museum: 52.370139, 4.882600
Anne Frank Museum: 52.375218, 4.883977
Waterloopain Flea Market: 52.368078, 4.902281
Biblical Museum: 52.368540, 4.886285
Cat Cabinet: 52.365633, 4.891548
Museum of Bags & Purses: 52.365270, 4.896824
Diamant Museum: 52.359447, 4.882488

Best museums in Amsterdam

4 absolutely best museums in Amsterdam:

1) Tropenmuseum

Wow! Be careful! The visit in Tropenmuseum will make your crave for travel much stronger! I decided to visit Tropenmuseum because of the recommendation of my traveling friend and I must admit that she was so right about the place. It’s like traveling around the world without going out from one building, seriously. Please, don’t read the description, don’t waste time on the Tropenmuseum website online, just pack your bags and go. Do it. NOW! 🙂

2) Rembrandt House Museum (Museum Het Rembrandthuis)

Great. Lovely. Beautiful. But above all, extremely informative! Don’t forget to ask for free workshops & live presentations. I attended the drypoint (pointe sèche) technique workshop & live presentation about etching, but I’m sure there are many more attractions during holiday season. Below – an entry from my travel diary about the museum:

I’m at the Rembrandt house. The best museum so far. I just learned the process of production of the natural ink – from the mineral, through a colorful powder, to final paint. Painting was not so easy at the Rembrandt’s times. Did you know that mixing all colors was made possible by introducing synthetic colors? Modern, synthetic inks have the same chemical structure what make them easy to mix. Natural inks have different structures and that’s why they had to be laid on the painting one layer after another – apart from white ink made from lead oxide (BTW very toxic!) most of the colors didn’t mix. And why olive oil was never used as a medium? Because it never gets dry. Seems simple, but back then painting was really the Art and it required huge knowledge and experience.

3) Amsterdam Museum

Another pleasant surprise on the Amsterdam museum’s map. I didn’t believe that so many centuries of the city’s history may be presented in such interesting way! The whole idea of „Amsterdam DNA” exhibition is brilliant. Traditional methods of displaying mix perfectly with highly interactive presentations, movies & info-graphics. All that creates perfect conditions to become fascinated & memorize easily the history of this amazing place. Definitely worth going!

4) National Maritime Museum (Netherlands Scheepvaartmuseum)

That was really something! Dutch Navy & Dutch East India Company (VOC) – all the colonial & sailing traditions of the Netherlands in one place, symbols of the Golden Age of the city. It was a pity I got to the museum just before closing so I didn’t have much time to see all the exhibitions – and there’s a lot to see! I’d recommend to start sightseeing with the fill-size model of a Dutch East Indiaman behind the main building.

 

4 really nice places to visit:

1) Van Gogh Museum

Pricey, but worth spending some time in. Not because of the venue, partly because of the works presented, but mostly because of the Van Gogh himself and the history of his life (definitely not a happy one). You can run through the museum, make pictures of his most remarkable paintings and go out loaded down with souvenirs. But that’s nothing. That’s pointless. You will see, but you will not understand anything. What I recommend is to prepare for a visit. What I did was to read his biography. I also watched a movie about his paintings. Some of his works you can see in this online collection.  If you don’t have time for preparations – start sightseeing with the -1 floor, where the movie about his life is displayed. It WILL make the difference.

2) Houseboat Museum

The museum is a showcase of life aboard on Amsterdam houseboat. It’s small but sooooooo great! First of all I was surprised to get an illustrated guide in Polish (it’s still rather rare language, but on the board you can find guides available in twenty languages). Apart from interesting theme another things I can count in plus was: friendly service, cozy atmosphere, children play corner.

3) Anne Frank Museum (Anne Frank Huis)

I have really mixed feelings about this place. At first I placed the AF House in my top ten places to see. Unfortunately I changed my mind drastically after visiting the place. Don’t get me wrong – the subject of the museum – the Secret Annex, the Diary of Anne Frank, the history of Jews during the Second WW – this all makes the Museum really worth visiting. But it was the first time in my life I’ve seen the museum staff so slow-working & unfriendly. Have you ever seen a security lady following tours and shouting at visitors?! (as she explained later – she was pissed off because groups were not paying enough attention & respect to the sad story of Anne Frank). Well, what I respect about that lady – she was able to shout at French in French, at Dutch in Dutch and at British tourists in English. I didn’t know if she knows Polish too but really didn’t want to give her a chance to prove it…
Sightseeing in the atmosphere of terror. Literally.

4) Amsterdam flea markets, bazaars & antique centers

Bloemenmarkt, Waterloopain & Albert Cuypmarkt are three best-know places of many Amsterdam’s markets. I enjoyed my time most at Looier Kuns en Antiekcentrum making some really good purchases 😉

 

4 ‚don’t waste time there’ places:

1) Biblical Museum (Bijbels Museum)

I found the place to have very little to do with the name of the museum, it was really waste of time.

2) Cat Cabinet (Kattenkabinet)

 As I am cat-loving person, the Kattenkabinet seemed to be one of my must-see attractions in Amsterdam. Maybe my expectations were too high, but the place is smaller than it seems to be. I was disappointed both by the exhibits and the service (giving me a look like: ooooooook,  you can enter if you got here already, but in fact you’re disturbing my time for reading books…).

3) Museum of Bags & Purses (Tassenmuseum)

Bigger than I thought. Maybe there’s nothing wrong in the museum and I was simply not interested in the topic, but I found it overadvertised. There’s really nothing so much worth seeing that you could skip lunch for it. One positive thing I found in the museum was a cat-shaped purse which belonged to the Clinton family. Oh, and the service. Really nice.

4) Diamant Museum

I found it kind of boring, but again – I’m not a diamond-aholic. Explaining the process how diamonds are formed, how the diamond structure looks and so on is really basic knowledge & I don’t need to read about it. And the diamonds – first few minutes looking at the collections makes you „wow!”. But you will find diamonds on every floor, in every room, next room, previous room  and another one, and finally you walk out completely indifferent for this precious stones.

And you, which museums would you choose to visit?

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About

Z pochodzenia Sanoczanka, Japanofil, wolontariusz tęskniący za Afryką i etnograf-pasjonat. // Just a small town girl who always dreamed of travels and faraway places... Now Warsaw-based international relations analyst, travel blogger & folklore enthusiast, who cherishes nature, simple life & Irish traditional music. Japanophile. Addicted to haribo jellies & …red lipstick.

  1. Thanks for posting this ranking, I found it really useful.
    It seems your time in Amsterdam was intensive 😉

  2. Rijksmuseum – great! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Leave your heart in Norsk Folkemuseum

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