Designed by Pierre Cuypers and opened in 1885, the Rijksmuseum holds the country’s largest collection of art and artefacts, including 22 Rembrandts and four Vermeers. The museum’s 80 galleries showcase 800 years of Dutch art and historic objects, as well as decorative and Asian art, which has its own pavilion. But the biggest draw is the collection of Golden Age jewels such as Rembrandt’s ‘Night Watch’ – currently undergoing major restoration – and Vermeer’s ‘The Milkmaid’ and ‘Woman Reading a Letter’, alongside other masterpieces by Frans Hals and Jan Steen.
If you’re only here for a short stay but want to catch the best of Amsterdam’s art scene, head straight for Museumplein. The city’s largest square is home to four museums showcasing more Dutch Masters than you can probably handle – plus a healthy dose of modern and contemporary art.
If you’ve got more time, however, you’ll appreciate the chance to discover art across all the city’s coolest neighbourhoods, from Russian treasures to movie posters to digital deep dives into the city’s past. Many of the best Amsterdam gallery and museum buildings are as fascinating as the art they contain, whether centuries old or cutting-edge examples of contemporary design. Where else can you catch a video art installation in a 15th-century church, then hop on a ferry to a film museum that looks like it belongs in a Bond movie?
As the Netherlands marks the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death in 2019, look out for events and exhibitions on his life and work taking place at Amsterdam museums throughout the year.
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