Art in Amsterdam

Best art galleries in Amsterdam

Art in Amsterdam

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Amsterdam’s best art galleries, The Netherlands

An art gallery is one of those places that should be quiet. You walk slowly, looking at the works on the walls, occasionally stopping front of one that takes your interest for a closer examination.

An art gallery is not the sort of place where you expect someone dressed as a security guard to come up to you and ask for your view on the market economy.

“If you are happy to talk with me and some other visitors about the market economy, I will give you 3 euro,” the man offers. It’s an interesting proposition and the cash would buy me a coffee. I agree.

Best art galleries in Amsterdam

I’m on the second floor of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Although the whole museum is focused on modern art, this section is highlighting some of the most contemporary works. I think I have just become a part of one.

The organiser of our discussion ropes in a few more people. One man says he would prefer not to do it. I suggest that this is a good example of the market economy working well – the money being offered wasn’t worth his time and he was able to choose to walk away.

Best art galleries in Amsterdam

Our little group grows and I’m joined by tourists from all around the world. They’re Dutch, British, American, Spanish, Australian. The conversation flows organically and the very literal examination of market economy turns to politics, then to the influence multinationals have in the political system, then to museums and whether they are democratic or the perfect example of the negatives of a market economy.

For the record, I argue that art galleries are actually not representative of a strict market economy because they allow everyone to see the same works for the same price and prevent the most valuable masterpieces being locked away in private homes for just the wealthy elite who can afford them. A Dutch woman disagrees with me, saying that the act of curating art and choosing who should be displayed and given prominence is a form of market in itself and doesn’t facilitate true representation.

Best art galleries in Amsterdam

Best art galleries in Amsterdam

I’m not sure who is right (although I probably still think I am) but it’s an interesting idea to ponder. And it’s very appropriate because I am here in Amsterdam with the specific aim to explore art.

To be more exact, I am here in the Netherlands for the 125th anniversary of the death of Vincent Van Gogh, one of the most famous Dutch artists of all time. It’s all part of a campaign being run by Expedia UK to commemorate the anniversary. As part of it, UK residents can win a trip to the Netherlands for themselves by using the #vangogh2015 hashtag on twitter (all the details are here).

Best art galleries in Amsterdam

I have been to Amsterdam before but not for any great length of time. And what I have never done before is look at the art scene here in any great depth. When I began to do that, though, I was amazed to find out how much there is on offer in the city. It would be easy to spend days and days visiting museums and galleries full of a range of different artworks in various media and from so many different eras.

Best art galleries in Amsterdam

To help you get an idea of what you could see for yourself on an art trip to Amsterdam, I’ve put together a list of some of the highlights in the city. There is certainly a lot more than this – but it’s a good start!

Van Gogh Museum

Considering my mission in the Netherlands this time is to learn about Vincent Van Gogh, I have to put the Van Gogh Museum at the top of this list. It is an incredible collection of the Dutch artist’s work with more than 200 paintings and 400 drawings. The museum is well organised into sections that illustrate the different periods of his artistic life and show the other artists who influenced him. There are three floors and the highlights of his career are given prominent displays. Some of his letters are also shown within the museum and there is a lot of information about his career and personal life.

Best art galleries in Amsterdam

Where is the Van Gogh Museum?

The Van Gogh Museum is located at:
Paulus Potterstraat 7, 1071 CX, Amsterdam, Netherlands
You can see it on a map here.
When is the Van Gogh Museum open?
The Van Gogh Museum is open at the following times:
Saturday – Thursday: 0900 – 1800
Friday: 0900 – 2200

How much does it cost to visit the Van Gogh Museum?

Entry to the Van Gogh Museum costs:
Adult: €15
Under 18: free

Official website

Stedelijk Museum

Next door to the Van Gogh Museum is the Stedelijk Museum and it’s worth doing both galleries at the same time. This modern art gallery features works from famous artists like Van Gogh, Matisse, Pollock, and Warhol. Most of them are on the ground floor, as is a large section for industrial design over the decades. In my view, the real highlight is the 20th century collection on the second floor. There are hundreds of works of different sizes and media, representing every major art movement of the time. As I mentioned in the introduction, there are even some surprising performance art pieces happening in these rooms.

Best art galleries in Amsterdam

Where is the Stedelijk Museum?

The Stedelijk Museum is located at:
Museumplein 10, 1071 CX, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
You can see it on a map here.
When is the Stedelijk Museum open?
The Stedelijk Museum is open at the following times:
Friday – Wednesday: 1000 – 1800
Thursday: 1000 – 2200

How much does it cost to visit the Stedelijk Museum?

Entry to the Stedelijk Museum costs:
Adult: €15
Students: €7.50
Under 18: free

Official website

Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is the most popular museum in the Netherlands and is just a few minutes away from the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum. It has a huge collection of about a million objects and normally displays about 8,000 of them at any one time. For visitors interested in art, the main attraction is the 2,000 paintings from the Dutch Golden Age including many from Rembrandt. There is also a small but fascinating collection of Asian artworks. The building is incredible in itself and only reopened in 2013 after a ten year renovation.

Best art galleries in Amsterdam

Where is the Rijksmuseum?

The Rijksmuseum is located at:
Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
You can see it on a map here.
When is the Rijksmuseum open?
The Rijksmuseum is open at the following times:
Daily: 0900 – 1700

How much does it cost to visit the Rijksmuseum?

Entry to the Rijksmuseum costs:
Adult: €17.50
Under 18: free

Official website

Hermitage Amsterdam

The Hermitage Amsterdam is an offshoot of the famous Russian museum of the same name. It hosts several temporary exhibitions at any one time (although each exhibition often runs for more than a year). At the moment, it has an incredible collection of enormous portraits from Amsterdam in the 17th century. They show the different guilds and social groups that controlled the city during the economic height of European maritime trade. The main room with 35 large portraits is a beautiful sight and a real highlight.

Best art galleries in Amsterdam

Where is the Hermitage Amsterdam?

The Hermitage Amsterdam is located at:
Amstel 51, 1018 EJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
You can see it on a map here.
When is the Hermitage Amsterdam open?
The Hermitage Amsterdam is open at the following times:
Daily: 1000 – 1700

How much does it cost to visit the Hermitage Amsterdam?

Entry to the Hermitage Amsterdam costs:
Adult: €15
Aged 6 – 16: €5
Children under 6: free

Official website

FOAM Photography Museum

There are several photography museums in Amsterdam but FOAM is the best known of them all. It changes its exhibitions regularly to showcase photographers from around the world. The building is an old grand house and so the layout takes you through different rooms and levels, creating an interesting way to explore various themes from a single artist. In a smaller part of the building, some works from local and upcoming photographers are on display and available for purchase.

Best art galleries in Amsterdam

Where is the FOAM Photography Museum?

The FOAM Photography Museum is located at:
Keizersgracht 609, 1017 DS, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
You can see it on a map here.
When is the FOAM Photography Museum open?
The FOAM Photography Museum is open at the following times:
Saturday – Wednesday: 1000 – 1800
Thursday – Friday: 1000 – 2100

How much does it cost to visit the FOAM Photography Museum?

Entry to the FOAM Photography Museum costs:
Adult: €11.50
Student: €9

Official website

Even more art museums:

If all of those museums aren’t enough for you (and they would take about two days to see properly), here are a few more to consider. These are a bit smaller and offer some more niche displays. I would definitely recommend trying to go to one of two of them so you can see the full range of art that Amsterdam has to offer.

Best art galleries in Amsterdam

Museum het Rembrandthuis

A house where Rembrandt lived and worked for several years. It has a reasonable collection of his paintings and etchings.
You can find out more information here about the Museum het Rembrandthuis

 

The Cobra Museum

Works and information about the Cobra art movement in the 1940s and 1950s, which had creative freedom and social engagement at the heart of its values.
You can find out more information here about the Cobra Museum

 

EYE film museum

The building is a stunning piece of modern architecture on the waterfront but is slightly tricky to get to because it is on the other side to most of the tourist sites. It hosts temporary exhibitions about Dutch film and visual arts.
You can find out more information here about EYE film museum

 

Huis Marseille

A photography museum that has 13 different spaces, each with their own character. It places an emphasis on the visual quality of the images and less on the idea of photography as a mass medium.
You can find out more information here about Huis Marseille

Time Travel Turtle was supported by Expedia UK but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.

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