The 6 Best Museums to Visit in Rotterdam

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen | © Šarūnas Burdulis / Flickr
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen | © Šarūnas Burdulis / Flickr
Photo of Tom Coggins
26 May 2017

Discovering awesome cultural experiences in Rotterdam is rarely difficult, partly thanks to the high concentration of excellent museums and galleries within the city. Many of these museums feature items drawn from Rotterdam’s fascinating history or preserve other invaluable objects related to international culture or science. Read on to discover more.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Rotterdam’s largest art museum dates back to 1849 and originally housed Jacob Boijmans Van Beuningen’s vast collection of paintings. Although many of these items were destroyed by a fire in 1864, the museum continued to renew its collection and has since added an impressive number of modern artworks to its archives including work by Salvador Dalí, Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen | © K. Siereveld / WikiCommons


Unlike most museums, Rotterdam’s Kunsthal doesn’t actually possess a permanent collection and instead exclusively concentrates on temporary exhibitions in order to highlight contemporary developments within the art world or showcase under appreciated artwork. As the institute organises around 20 exhibitions per year, it is easily among the most active art museums in the world.

© Kunsthal


Although most of Rotterdam’s iconic cube houses are currently inhabited or owned by private citizens, one of their number is open to the public and contains a small museum that is dedicated to these architectural wonders’ design and legacy. Known as de Kijk-Kubus (the Show Cube) this museum allows visitors to experience living inside the cube houses and discover more about their purpose, layout and history.

© pixabay

Nederlands Fotomuseum

As its name suggests, Nederlands Fotomuseum is dedicated to the preservation of every aspect of Dutch and international photography. The museum owns over 5 million photographic objects and regularly organises temporary exhibitions in order to present its in-house collection. Over the past few decades, the museum has acquired many important artworks created by world famous photographers, including Ed van der Elsken, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Viviane Sassen.

Nederlands Fotomuseum | © Marco Zanferrari / Flickr

Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam

Rotterdam’s natural history museum was established in 1927 and moved to its current location on Museumpark in the late 1980s. Large parts of its collection were originally owned by a local zoologist Anton Boudewijn van Deinse, who bequeathed his specimens to the museum in 1965. Currently the museum houses around 400,0000 fossils, samples and other scientific objects, including a mounted Asian elephant skeleton, known as Ramon.

Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam | © G.Lanting / WikiCommons

Museum Rotterdam

This aptly titled museum collects and displays items that represent certain aspects of Rotterdam’s multifaceted history in order to preserve the city’s heritage, whilst honouring the many individuals and communities that have lived inside the city over the past millennium. The museum currently houses over 40,000 individual artefacts and regularly organises temporary exhibitions that focus on important periods, places and people from Rotterdam’s past.

Museum Rotterdam is part of the Timmerhuis complex | © Sandra Fauconnier / WikiCommons

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