There is no question Amsterdam is the cultural capital of the area with an amazing 50 plus museums in an area that is just 84 square miles.
The highlights, of course, are the museums featuring Rembrandts, Van Goghs and Vermeers, but the area has so much more to offer and since it’s not like you have to drive hundreds of miles to find them — here’s a sampling of what you can visit for some diverse cultural vibes. GetAway Travel can help you tailor your visit with your interests in mind.
Hermitage Amsterdam — The art of shipbuilding links the Netherlands to Russia. Tsar Peter the Great honed his shipbuilding craft in the Netherlands. So, it makes sense a branch of St. Petersburg State Hermitage Museum is in Amsterdam. The museum houses rotating exhibits from the “home” Hermitage Museum. There’s a cafe and restaurant on site.
NEMO Science Museum — Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the slant-roofed building is nearly surrounded by water. The rooftop has great views as well as water and wind hands-on exhibits. Inside, you can make bubbles, build something, work a pulley system, fracture light into colors and watch a chain reaction.
Tropenmuseum — The lovely arched three-story gallery space has artifacts from all over the world highlighting cultures from all over the world from the past to the present. The permanent collection is “Things that Matter” and it concentrates on themes that connect people throughout the world. It is set up in an imaginative and insightful way with interesting multi-media presentations. There’s a great gift shop and cafe at the museum.
Museum Willet-Holthuysen — This canal house (canal houses are high, narrow and deep) was built in the 1600s and remodeled in 1739. Louisa Willet-Holthuysen inherited the home from her wealthy father and she lived a lavish lifestyle reflected in the home. One of the displays includes the family’s 275-piece Meissen table service. The French-style garden is another highlight.
Het Scheepvaartmuseum — This waterfront museum houses a state-of-the-art presentation of maritime memorabilia. Displays include Golden age maps, an audiovisual presentation of a sea voyage and a full-scale replica of the Amsterdam, one of the largest ships in the Dutch East India Co. fleet.
Joods Historisch Museum — A superb complex of four Ashkenazic synagogues which showcase the history of Jews in the Netherlands and their role in the Dutch economy. There is a small children’s museum with activities on site.
EYE Film Institute — Seemingly precariously balanced on the banks of the IJ River, the institute screens movies, but also has exhibitions of costumes and digital art. There’s a nice restaurant with a view of the river and the gift shop sells vintage movie posters and books for movie lovers.
Amsterdam Tulip Museum — Exhibits, movies (in English) and timelines show how the tulip became the country’s favorite flower. You’ll learn about present-day growing and harvesting and the gift shop is a floral souvenir paradise.
Hash, Marijuana & Hemp Museum — View an impressive pipe collection, exhibits covering cannabis and religion, hemp art and you can create an e-postcard of yourself in a marijuana field. You can also view the Sensi Seeds Co. grow operation in an adjacent building.
We’ve touched on just a few museum options, but there are also museums devoted to archeological finds, purses, trams, boats, diamonds, fashion, sex, cats, gin, wax figures, torture, cheese, chocolate and photography.
Some are free, some offer food samples, some have interactive exhibits and some can be accessed with a museum card that GetAway Travel can help you with. Interested? Contact a travel advisor at (262) 538-2140, e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
We loved Amsterdam!