The Best Museums in the Netherlands

Inside the Rijksmuseum | © pixabay
Inside the Rijksmuseum | © pixabay
Photo of Tom Coggins
28 April 2017

Finding incredible cultural activities in the Netherlands is never difficult, partly thanks to the country’s impressive quota of world-class museums. Many of these institutes are well over 100 years old and have been protecting Dutch national treasures for generations.

The Rijksmuseum

As Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum houses over 1 million artefacts it is recognised as the largest museum in the Netherlands. Its collections includes many invaluable artworks such as Johannes Vermeer’s The Milkmaid, several revered Van Gogh paintings, and of course, Rembrandt’s magnum opus, The Night Watch. The Rijksmuseum itself is a veritable masterpiece and dates back to the height of Dutch Neo-Classicalism.

The Rijksmuseum | © pixabay

Kröller-Müller Museum

German art collector Helene Kröller-Müller was among the first figures to recognise the value of Vincent van Gogh’s artwork and amassed an enormous collection of his paintings during her lifetime. In 1934, she parted with her entire Van Gogh collection and established a museum in the artist’s honour in order to bequeath his work to the Dutch people. This institute now bears her name and has since acquired many other priceless artworks.

THe Kröller-Müller Museum has the largest Van Gogh collection outside the the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam | Vincent van Gogh: the Potato Eater, 1885


In 1822 the Royal Cabinet of Paintings was moved to Mauritshuis in Den Haag, where it has remained ever since. Over the years many important paintings have been added to the Cabinet’s already impressive catalogue of Dutch Golden Age artwork including Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring. Today, Mauritshuis is listed among the top heritage sites in the Netherlands and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors per year.

Mauritshuis | © Zairon / WikiCommons

Frans Hals Museum

Despite being somewhat overshadowed by Amsterdam, Haarlem has always been a major factor within the Dutch art world and has accommodated scores of famous artists. For example, famed master painter Frans Hals lived most of his life in Haarlem and painted his finest work whilst in the city. In order to honour his work Harleem’s municipality opened a museum under Frans Hals name in 1862, which has since grown into one of the most important cultural institutes in the Netherlands.

The Frans Hals Museum has a world-renowned collection of Dutch Golden Age paintings | Frans Hals: Regents of the Old Men’s Almshouse, 1664

The Van Gogh Museum

For the past 40 years the Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam has cared for the largest collection of Van Gogh painting in the world. This unrivalled, beautiful collection covers every stage of Van Gogh’s artistic career, from his early days in the Netherlands, until his untimely death in northern France. Besides these invaluable artworks, the Van Gogh Museum also houses thousands of paintings created by figures associated with Post-Impressionism such as Monet, Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec.

© Jan Kees Steenman / The Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Rotterdam’s Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen was established in 1849 in order to present Frans Jacob Otto Boijmans’s vast collection of artwork. Since then, the museum has made many important acquisitions and added several world famous artworks to its collection; including pieces by Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Hieronymus Bosch. Although the museum mainly focuses on historical Dutch artwork, from the Medieval period to contemporary times, it also houses work by major foreign figures such as Salvador Dalí and René Magritte.

© K. Siereveld / WikiCommons

Anne Frank Huis

During the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam, Anne Frank and her family hid from the German forces inside a small, secret apartment in de Jordaan, until they were eventually arrested by the SS and deported to concentration camps in 1944. In 1960, this building was converted into a memorial museum dedicated to Anne Frank, her family and other victims of the Holocaust.

© Jarrod Trainque / Flickr

Centraal Museum

Utrect’s Centraal Museum is divided between several locations throughout the city and includes Gerrit Rietveld’s architectural masterpiece the Rietveld Schröder House. Besides this UNESCO heritage site, the organisation also manages a museum dedicated to Miffy (and her creator Dick Bruna) and houses a huge collection of Medieval, Renaissance and Modern Dutch art at its main site on Agnietenstraat.

Rietveld Schröder House | © frm_tokyo / flickr

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