Nestled south of Leidseplein is the plush 19th century Museum quarter (Museumplein). Unashamedly, Museum quarter is the pinnacle of sophistication and home to the three major and most important museums in Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art and the Van Gogh Museum makes this an art lover’s paradise par excellence. Without doubt, any culture vulture will be in their element in this recently renovated quarter.
The Rijksmuseum is one of Amsterdam’s grandest museums and it showed off its new (and old) look in April 2013, following 10 years of extensive restoration and renovation. Designed by renowned Dutch architect P.J.H. Cuypers, construction of the monumental building began in 1876 and it finally opened in 1885 as the largest museum in the Netherlands.
The Rijksmuseum's internationally revered collection features some of the nation’s most famous works, including historic art by Vermeer, Frans Hals, and perhaps most notably Rembrandt’s ‘The Night Watch’, which takes pride of place in a beautifully lit hall allowing visitors to enjoy every tiny detail.
However, visitors can expect much more than just paintings by Dutch Masters from the Golden Age. The Rijksmuseum’s expansive, evocative collection also includes Delftware, sculptures, archaeological artefacts, clothing, Asian art, prints, items from Dutch maritime history and many other culturally signific
Vincent Van Gogh might just be the Netherlands’ best-known contribution to the art world. Drawing tens of thousands of visitors each year, everyone from avid art historians to casual enthusiasts consider the Van Gogh Museum one of Amsterdam’s ‘must-see’ attractions.
The Van Gogh Museum collection
Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum houses the largest collection of pieces by Vincent van Gogh in the world. In total, the permanent collection includes 200 paintings, 500 drawings and more than 700 letters, plus his collection of Japanese prints. In addition to the works of Van Gogh, the museum has a rich and varied collection of 19th-century art. The artists represented include Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, artists who inspired Vincent or drew inspiration from him, as well as his friends and contemporaries.
After a brief renovation, the Van Gogh Museum recently reopened to the public on 1 May 2013.
In September 2012, the Stedelijk Museum, dedicated to modern and contemporary art and design, reopened following extensive renovations. The development was particularly dramatic, as it not only saw the museum’s original red brick home (dating from 1895) internally modernised, but also the addition of a futuristic-looking construction by Benthem Crouwel Architects, which has since been nicknamed ‘The Bathtub’ by locals.
With a notable collection that’s comparable in style to The Museum of Modern Art in New York and Chicago’s Art Institute, the Stedelijk is undoubtedly an ambitious museum. Thanks to its refurbishment, many highlights from Malevich, Edward Kienholz, Willem de Kooning and Andy Warhol once again have fantastic permanent spots on its walls. What’s more, the new building provides more spacious halls, allowing it to showcase larger objects, installations and exhibitions than ever before.
Anne Frank is one of Amsterdam’s most well known former residents. The Anne Frank House at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam is where she lived in hiding with her family for more than two years during World War II. Now converted into a museum it contains a sobering exhibition about the persecution of the Jews during the war, as well as discrimination in general.
The doorway to the annex was concealed behind a specially constructed moveable bookcase. On 4 August 1944, their hiding place was betrayed. The people in hiding were deported to various concentration camps. Only Otto Frank survived the war. Anne’s diary from the period was published and became a bestseller worldwide.
The rooms at the Anne Frank House still portray the atmosphere of the period spent in hiding. Historical documents, photographs, film images and original objects that belonged to those in hiding and those who assisted them help illustrate the events that took place.
Foam is an internationally renowned museum that exhibits all genres of photography in a beautiful canal-side setting. As well as displaying a wide variety of works, it acts as a creative hub where photographers can meet and participate in forums and symposiums.
Big names and new talents
In recent years Foam has showcased some of the biggest names in photography, including Diane Arbus, Helen Levitt, Anton Corbijn, Alex Prager and Cy Twombly. Alongside these large-scale events, the brightly lit, white rooms of this revamped canal-house are filled with work from upcoming talents.
The Hermitage Amsterdam is the Dutch branch of the world-famous Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Located on the banks of the Amstel River, the Hermitage Amsterdam is an exhibition space and cultural education centre with a focus on Russian history and culture.
Hermitage Amsterdam displays rotating selections of pieces from the Hermitage collection in Russia. These include paintings, graphic works, sculptures, applied art and archaeological discoveries. Hermitage Amsterdam has a special children’s section and regularly holds workshops focused on fun and creativity.
Tsar Peter had a special relationship with Amsterdam, having lived in the city for several years. He founded the very first public museum in Russia, and some of the exhibits at the original Hermitage were items he acquired in the Netherlands. Back then, the museum offered visitors a free shot of vodka to entice them inside.
Stop by the Frozen Yoghurt Company for a mouth-watering scoop of organic Dutch frozen yoghurt. At the toppings bar you can decorate your dessert with a choice of nuts, candy, fruit and more. Besides yoghurt, you can treat yourself to a fresh, hot waffle – delicious plain, but even better drizzled with chocolate sauce.
Located just a short walk from Amsterdam Central Station, this international restaurant consists of the 2 Michelin-starred &samhoud places and &samhoud places streetfood.
The globally inspired dishes at this double Michelin-starred restaurant transport diners to the Riviera, tropics, or nearby Bloemendaal depending on which ingredients capture chef Moshik Roth’s fancy. Enter Roth’s inspired world and enjoy his latest culinary creations while taking in spectacular views of historic Amsterdam.
The second part of &samhoud lowers the dining threshold without skimping on flavour! Guests are invited to embark on a gastronomical journey past markets and roadside stalls all over the world as they sample international street food dishes with a Michelin-starred twist.
Sea Palace is the first floating restaurant in Europe. Situated in the Centre of Amsterdam near the Central Station, this Chinese pagoda-style restaurant will grasp you by surprise. The oriental interior of Sea Palace has dazzled many guests before you. It is an unique experience to be submerged by the mystical exotic surroundings and at the same time marvelling the excellent view overlooking Amsterdam.
The tables are set with all kinds of different glassware, cutlery and crockery. The walls are decorated with a large number of paintings of mothers. Moeders is characterised by an informal atmosphere and friendly service.