Arty Amsterdam: 5 Must-See Museums

May 08, 2016
What To See in Amsterdam : Five Museums you Can't Miss including Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Museum Van Loon, Venustempel Sex Museum, and Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution.
SWOOP IN ON THESE FIVE AMSTERDAM MUSEUMS YOU CAN'T MISS

The four things you must do in Amsterdam is to tiptoe through the tulips at Keukenhof, check in at the uber-hip new W Hotel, enjoy these unexpected and luxurious culinary experiences, and of course soak in the best of Dutch art, design, and culture. From classic to contemporary to downright raunchy, here is my pick of the 5 Must See Museums in Amsterdam. You can easily, like I did, cover all of these in two days. Entry to some of these museums are free or discounted with the I Amsterdam City Card which also offers free unlimited public transport - but with a city this scenic, why not explore on foot?


What To See in Amsterdam : Five Museums you Can't Miss including Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Museum Van Loon, Venustempel Sex Museum, and Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution.
What To See in Amsterdam : Five Museums you Can't Miss including Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Museum Van Loon, Venustempel Sex Museum, and Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution.
AN ARISTOCRATIC HOUSE CALL
If you've ever wanted to see how the other (Dutch) half live, visit Museum Van Loon - the small but impressive Amsterdam house still privately owned by the noble Van Loon family. Some of the house remains private - you may very well catch a glimpse of their friends and family slipping through the museum to get to the closed rooms - but for the most part, Museum Van Loon opened to the public 30 years ago. The gorgeous garden, beautiful reception rooms, and kitchen among others are presented in an intimate, almost voyeuristic way - giving you the impression that you've popped in for a house call but missed the Van Loons who've just left for a walk. Museum Van Loon is a fine specimen of a traditional Dutch canal house whose 17th century decor has been restored in a manner most authentic and sensitive to its heritage.



Nearby attractions: Photography buffs will enjoy FOAM and cat lovers will find KattenKabinet just purr-fect.


What To See in Amsterdam : Five Museums you Can't Miss including Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Museum Van Loon, Venustempel Sex Museum, and Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution.
What To See in Amsterdam : Five Museums you Can't Miss including Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Museum Van Loon, Venustempel Sex Museum, and Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution.
CONTEMPORARY COOL
The Stedelijk is unmissable - its futuristic new wing, lovingly dubbed 'The Bathtub' by Amsterdammers is parked like a futuristic spaceship among the traditional red bricked-neighbourhood of Museumplein, inviting visitors to board a journey through the last 150 years of art. It's the largest Dutch museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art with 90,000 pieces dating from 1870 to iconic works by Koons, Picasso, Pollock, and Warhol. Representing major contemporary art movements such as Bauhaus, the Amsterdam School, and pop art The Stedelijk perfectly complements its next door neighbour - the old school Rijksmuseum. The most 'Instagrammable' feature of this contemporary wonder is the hall, above left, which is a juxtaposition of pastel neon and stark white classical architecture (the most gorgeous backdrop to the colourful splashes of the museum's exhibits).






What To See in Amsterdam : Five Museums you Can't Miss including Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Museum Van Loon, Venustempel Sex Museum, and Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution.
What To See in Amsterdam : Five Museums you Can't Miss including Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Museum Van Loon, Venustempel Sex Museum, and Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution.
THE BIG DADDY OF DUTCH ART
The Rijksmuseum is to Amsterdam what the Louvre is to Paris: a must-visit national icon and a vast, jaw-dropping collection of the country's greatest artists. Don't be daunted by the crowds around the 'I Amsterdam' letters outside the museum nor the huge queues lining up for tickets. Simply stroll right in with your I Amsterdam City Card then lose yourself for hours among the Rembrandts and Van Goghs. To say The Rijksmuseum is a powerhouse is an understatement: the museum's expansive collection is a 800 year presentation of Dutch history through archaeological artefacts, clothing, art, and objects from Dutch maritime history among many others. Highlights include larger than life paintings The Night Watch and The Battle of Waterloo, the gorgeous Harry Potter-esque library, the building's magnificent facade and the tunnel-like pathway leading to the entrance which lend the most beautiful acoustics to the buskers outside the museum.

SKIP THE QUEUES: BOOK ONLINE FOR €17.50, OR GO FOR FREE WITH I AMSTERDAM CITY CARD



Nearby attractions: Personally, I'd give Van Gogh Museum a miss unless you're a die hard fan of the man.


What To See in Amsterdam : Five Museums you Can't Miss including Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Museum Van Loon, Venustempel Sex Museum, and Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution.

SEX MUSEUM
NAUGHTY, NAUGHTY!
Venustempel Sex Museum is rather amusingly smack bang on a busy high street in the middle of central Amsterdam. It's unabashed location sums up the spirit of the exhibits which range from tasteful nudes to almost gruesome puppets designed entirely for shock value. Sex Museum is the world's first and oldest sex museum. Beyond the crass, there is a respectable display at the many aspects of sensual love through the ages with statues of courtesans (including the infamous spy Mata Hari), erotic paintings, photographs, artefacts, and then some. Worth dropping in for a giggle or two.

€4 AT THE DOOR



Nearby attractions: For a just-as-outrageous alternative, why not head to Erotic Museum and see what pops up?
What To See in Amsterdam : Five Museums you Can't Miss including Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Museum Van Loon, Venustempel Sex Museum, and Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution.


What To See in Amsterdam : Five Museums you Can't Miss including Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Museum Van Loon, Venustempel Sex Museum, and Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution.
What To See in Amsterdam : Five Museums you Can't Miss including Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Museum Van Loon, Venustempel Sex Museum, and Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution.
What To See in Amsterdam : Five Museums you Can't Miss including Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Museum Van Loon, Venustempel Sex Museum, and Red Light Secrets: Museum of Prostitution.
JOURNEY INTO THE UNDERWORLD
In the heart of Amsterdam's infamous Red Light District is this sobering and educational museum dedicated to the world's oldest profession. Red Light Secrets: The Museum of Prostitution is not simply a kinky kettle of fish but rather an invitation for you to go behind the scenes of the culture of paid sex. The museum gives a voice to its women in the windows with its detailed reconstructions of working girls' rooms and their confessionals: you hear their dreams, desires, and disappointments which adds an intimate depth and better understanding of this neighbourhood of legalised vice. The museum's highlight - a window looking out onto the Red Light District for you to perch, bathed in red light and see Amsterdam through the eyes of her working girls as you are exhibited to the throngs in the street - is as much a souvenir snapshot opportunity as it is a disconcerting moment of empathy.

BOOK ONLINE FOR A DISCOUNTED PRICE OF €8 





Further reading: my Amsterdam series

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