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Top 12 Amsterdam museums by visitors in 2014

2014 was another bumper year for Amsterdam museums with visitor numbers up significantly from 2013. Not surprisingly, the new Rijksmuseum led the way with 2.5 million visitors ahead of the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House.

The following are the top 12 visited museums in Amsterdam last year – figure sources come from the museums themselves – either via press release or direct 6 amsterdam museums
1. Rijksmuseum (2.5 million) – record year with the re-opening of the Philips Wing giving a late boost to the figures. Significantly, over half of the visitors (55%) were Dutch residents.

2. Van Gogh Museum (1.6 million) – a good year for the Van Gogh with around 200,000 more visitors than 2013, despite ongoing renovation work at the Kurokawa wing. 17% of visitors were Dutch – the next most popular visitor nationalities were from Italy (12%), France (10%), USA (9%) and UK (8%).

3. Anne Frank House (1.227 million) – a record amount of visitors for the fifth consecutive year, the Anne Frank house is now firmly over the million mark thanks to its long opening hours. Has a very international visitor base with 16% from the USA, 13% from UK and 11% from the Netherlands.

4. Stedelijk (800,000) – also a record year for the expanded Stedelijk modern art museum. In 2014 it held a number of  special exhibitions (such as Marcel Wanders and Marlene Dumas) which attracted plenty of interest and boosted attendance.

5. NEMO (588,000) – the children’s science museum also celebrated record figures with an 8% increase from last year’s visitors.

6. Hermitage (375,000) – the Hermitage bucks the trend with visitor numbers slightly lower (1.5%) than last year.7. Maritime Museum (322,000) – the Scheepvaartmuseum also saw a small (2%) decrease in visitor admissions.

8. Jewish Cultural Quarter (282,000) – a record year for the Jewish Cultural Quarter which comprises the Jewish Historical Museum, Portuguese Synagogue and Hollandsche Schouwburg.

9. Rembrandt House (237,000) – approaching a quarter of a million visitors, a record year for the Rembrandt House which gets it into the top 10.

10. Amsterdam Museum (220,000) – figures do not include the nearly 600,000 people that passed through the freely accessible Schuttersgalerij (Civic Guards’ Gallery) at the museum nor the 55,000 that visited the Willet Holthuysen house – also run by Amsterdam Museum.

11. Nieuwe Kerk (203,000) – an excellent year for the New Church on Dam Square with visitor numbers breaking the 200,000 barrier.

12. FOAM (197,000) – the popular photography museum posted very good attendance figures, not quite surpassing the record year which was 208,000 in 2011.

Blokker NS train day ticket offer Jan 2015

Household retail store Blokker is offering a 1 day off-peak ticket (Dal Vrij Dagkaart) in conjunction with NS Dutch Railways for unlimited train travel in Netherlands for just €15.50. The previous offer in August 2014 was priced at €14.95.
blokker train ticket offer january 2015The day tickets are available to buy at Blokker stores in the Netherlands until 18th January 2015, subject to availability. Online purchase can also be made at with payment accepted by iDeal (Dutch internet banking), Mastercard or Visa. You can pick-up the ticket(s) for free at a specified Blokker store or get free delivery to a Dutch address for orders over €20. Foreign delivery is NOT possible.

This ticket (disposable OV-chip smart card) is valid for 1 day’s rail travel between 5th January and 15th March 2015. It is also valid on RET (Rotterdam public transport) and HTM trams/HTMbuzz buses in Den Haag. It is NOT valid for GVB public transport in Amsterdam.

You must check-in and check-out of each journey using an OV-chip card reader. This is a Dal Vrij” card (off-peak) – so during weekdays (Mon-Fri) you cannot check-in during the peak hours 0630-0900 or 1600-1830.

There are no use restrictions on Saturday and Sunday though do check for scheduled rail works often done at weekends. Domestic travel is also valid on Intercity Direct (Amsterdam-Breda) and ICE International trains (Amsterdam-Utrecht-Arnhem) as long as you buy the appropriate supplements. No travel is permitted on the Thalys trains.

There are a number of Blokker stores in Amsterdam including at:

Kalverstraat 41 (main shopping street)
Ferdinand Bolstraat 100
Kinkerstraat 260-262
Bilderdijkstraat 169
Jodenbreestraat 19
Haarlemmerdijk 72-74
Jan van Galenstraat 107A
Ceintuurbaan 302
Ceintuurbaan 109A
Spaarndammerstraat 99-105
2e Nassaustraat 25A-B
Mercatorplein 88

These tickets can offer excellent value, especially if heading on a day trip to some of the outlying cities in Netherlands such as Groningen, Middelburg or Maastricht. They are also very good for making multiple stops at different places during the day.

Markthal in Rotterdam

Following our post on Foodhallen, an indoor food market in Amsterdam we should also take a look at another new major food market in the Netherlands – the stunning Markthal in Rotterdam which was opened on 1st October 2014 by Queen Maxima.
markthal rotterdamThis unique €175m building was designed by Dutch architectural firm MVRDV and is helping to put Rotterdam firmly on the world map. Comprising of a large 40m high archway, it offers a covered market area the size of a large football pitch with around 100 food stalls. Each end is sealed by a glass façade to keep out the weather.

The building is 70m wide and 120m long and contains no less than 228 appartments (102 rentals and 126 for sale). Each has an outside terrace whilst half of the appartments also have triple-glazed windows overlooking the market. For those interested, appartments start at €240,000 going all the way up to €1.2million for the top-floor penthouses!markthal rotterdam interior
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the Markthal is the huge psychedelic artwork on the inner wall featuring colourful fruits, grains and vegetables. Called the Horn of Plenty, it was conceived by Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam and is made up of 4,000 separate tiles covering 11,000 m2.markthal rotterdam restaurants
The stallholders are a mix of local and national businesses with a focus on high-end food produce. The complex also contains a number of restaurants some with elevated seating; the level below has an Albert Heijn supermarket and Etos chemist; there is a large 4 storey underground car park with 1,200 spaces. Deliveries to the stalls and shops are also handled from underground.markthal stall
The Markthal is located in the east of the city centre in the Laurens district – being marketed as the ‘SoHO of Rotterdam’. It is just opposite Rotterdam Blaak station or a 15 minute walk from Rotterdam Central station. There is an outdoor market in the square outside and you will also find Rotterdam’s library and the Kubuswoningen (Cube houses) nearby.markthal rotterdam food
The Markthal is open daily between 1000 and 2000. We visited on a Saturday morning and the market was very busy attracting a lot of curious Dutch and international visitors. Rotterdam certainly has a different atmosphere to the other historic Randstad cities – its centre was destroyed in World War 2 so it has a more modern metropolis feel. Markthal is a good reason to give the city a visit.

Foodhallen in Amsterdam

Foodhallen is a new indoor food court located in a former tram depot in Amsterdam West, near the Ten Kate street market. Opened just recently (October 2014), it has been inspired by other international food markets such as London’s Borough Market or Madrid’s Mercado de San Miguel.foodhallen amsterdam
Foodhallen Amsterdam contains a central bar plus a number of different stands from local food businesses/entrepreneurs.  There are plenty of seats around to enjoy your food.

The flavour is both local and international – stalls include Viet View (Vietnamese street food), Green Brothers (vegetarian), Jabugo (authentic Spanish deli), Wild Moa Pies (pies from Down Under), Maza (Mediterranean food), Meneer Temaki (sushi), Bulls and Dogs (sausages), Entrecôte Mobiel (steak sandwiches), The Butcher (gourmet burgers) and Caulils Kaas (cheese including the popular toasted cheese sandwiches and raclettes). food hallen
food hallen stalls
The Hallen complex also contains Hotel De Hallen plus a number of restaurants – Brasserie Halte 3, Meat West and the hotel’s Remise47.

Foodhallen is a welcome addition to the Amsterdam food scene. If you are passionate about your food then it is certainly worth a visit.

However, one issue we have is that stall holders will only take card payments, no cash is accepted. This policy is seen in a number of other places around town including Marqt, Vlaamsch Broodhuys and EYE Film. Many international card providers charge hefty useage fees per transaction, making it uneconomic for foreign visitors to use such cards for small amounts. On the other hand, some people just prefer the old-fashioned anonymity of a cash transaction.

We understand the hygeine issue of handling cash so we would like to see an Asian-style central cash desk available for payments which would be more friendly to international customers.

Foodhallen is open daily 1100-2000 (Sun-Wed, bar closes 0000), 1100-2100 (Thu-Sat, bar closes 0030). The address is Bellamyplein 51 – it is also possible to enter De Hallen complex from the Ten Katestraat.

To reach Foodhallen you can either walk from the city centre (about 15-20 mins) or take tram 17 from Central Station or tram 7 from Leidseplein to the “Ten Katestraat” stop.