Dutch culture is extremely diverse and fascinating. A pillar of Dutch cultural legacy is its plethora of museums, which happens to also be one of the reasons why studying in the Netherlands is awesome. The Netherlands has tons of museums and galleries and a lot of major Dutch cities are labelled as European cultural capitals. So, what better way to honor these titles than by visiting them? Every Dutch city boasts one or more museum or gallery, providing you with an endless sea of choice. However, we have compiled a list of the top 6 museums you should visit during your stay in the Netherlands. Here's to all art lovers out there...
1. Van Gogh Museum
Who doesn't know Vincent Van Gogh? You know, Starry Night, Sunflowers, or the ear he cut off... Nevertheless, Van Gogh is a Dutch artist that almost everyone around the world can recognize by name, if not by his impressionist painting style. In Amsterdam, you can visit a museum solely dedicated to Van Gogh's work. This museum has a permanent collection with which you can follow Van Gogh's artistic journey through the years. Additionally, the gallery hosts a number of rotating exhibitions based on specific themes in his work or works of other contemporaries. It's an impressive exhibition and a must-see when in Amsterdam!
2. Museum Boijmans van Beuningen
One of Rotterdam's largest and most extensive museums, the Boijmans van Beuningen museum houses art ranging from the Middle Ages to the most contemporary works of the 21st century. Here, you can see works by Dutch artists such as Rembrandt and Bosch, as well as surrealists like Magritte and Dalí, or minimalist sculptures by Robert Morris. The museum has a large permanent collection on view the whole year, and organizes lots of themed exhibitions. This museum has a cool mixture of old and new, historic and conceptual works. A must-see for any art-lover!
3. The Escher Museum
In the Hague, you can visit the Escher Museum. This gallery is home to works by the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher. Escher was known for his mathematical approach to art, exploring infinity, geometry and perspective in his work in the 40s and 50s. You might know one of his most famous lithographs, Relativity. That's the one where the stairs don't end and you don't know where anything begins (i.e. The Headache). This museum is a really fun experience, even if you're not the biggest art geek, because of all the optical illusions.
4. Anne Frank House
This is probably one of the most famous attractions in Amsterdam, if not in the whole of the Netherlands. At the Anne Frank House, you can visit, as the name suggests, where Anne Frank spent her last years in hiding. If you don't know who Anne Frank is, she was a German-born Jewish girl and victim of the Holocaust. The house in Amsterdam was Anne and her family's hiding place and is a complex of concrete rooms concealed behind a bookcase. Tragically, she and her family were found and send to the concentration camp in Auschwitz. In the House, you can see the hiding place of Anne and her family, as well as read about her life and the history of Jewish persecution. This is a really interesting place to visit if you are into history and want to learn more about Anne herself!
The Rijksmuseum is one of the most-visited museums in Amsterdam. Here, you can find art works and cultural objects relating to the history of Holland. This is probably the best opportunity you'll get to learn more about Dutch history and culture. Every international student should put this national museum on the top of their Dutch-Bucket-List! The Rijksmuseum has a total of 1 million objects, 80,000 of which are on permanent display. There are even masterpieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer, since the museum has over 2,000 Golden Age paintings. If you are an avid reader, you can also visit the Research Library, which is the best and largest public art history library in the Netherlands.
Holland: a paradise of museums
These are just 6 out of countless museums all over Holland. You can see art of all ages, delve into history, and learn a little something about the country you're studying in. You can also find plenty of natural history museums, galleries, and other cultural places to visit on the weekends. Now go look at some art!
What are your top museum recommendations? Join the discussion!