Amsterdam Museum (previously called Amsterdam Historical Museum) is located in the centre of the city and gives an insight into the history and development of Amsterdam from a small fishing village into one of Europe's great cities.
It is well worth spending a couple of hours to learn some background on the city.
The Amsterdam Museum is housed in a fine 16th century building which was originally a convent and then an orphanage. Opened in 1975, the museum has recently been given a fresh rebranding - with a new section called Amsterdam DNA being added.
Amsterdam DNA is a fascinating multi-media display charting the city's history in 7 chapters: City on Piles (1000-1500); Revolt Against the Church (1550-1600); Centre of the World (1600-1700) - pictured below left; Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (1795-1815); Towards a Modern City (1870-1940); Second World War (1940-1945) and finally Capital of Freedom (1945-).
A single item is highlighted in each chapter around which a story is told, projected onto large glass screens. Visitors get a booklet in one of 10 languages and these can be scanned to activate the story in your language.
The Amsterdam DNA can be explored in under an hour and has been designed to give visitors a solid introduction to the city. The booklet also includes 4 walking tours - under the themes of enterprise, freedom of thought, creativity and civic virtue - with the routes starting from the museum. Special mobile phone apps have been created for the tours.
After Amsterdam DNA you can have a look around the rest of the collection which made up the old museum. On our visit we found that whilst the DNA section was quite busy, the remaining collection seemed sparsely visited.
Varied items on display in the collection include grand paintings depicting Amsterdam's rich naval and colonial history, children's shoes from medieval times and some archaeological finds from the city. There are also interesting exhibits on how the city's housing developed from the squalor of the 19th century to the social housing of the 20th century.
Other features include Amsterdam during German occupation, the protest movements of the 1960s and a look at Ajax football team in its 1970s heyday.
An audio tour is available for €4 in Dutch, English, German, French and Spanish.
There is the Civic Guards' Gallery (pictured below left) with a mix of old Masters and modern paintings, which is freely open to the public. The museum cafe Mokum is located in the old courtyard (below right) on the Kalverstraat side with outside terrace in the summer. There is also a museum shop next door.
Amsterdam Museum Essential Info
Opening Times: Daily 1000-1700.
Admission Prices (2016): Adults €12.50, children 5-18 €6.50. FREE entry to children 0-4 / Iamsterdam card / Museumcard holders. Guided tours (€70+admission) are available for groups of max 15 people, book at least 2 weeks ahead.
Getting There: The museum is a short walk from both Dam Square and Spui. Trams 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 14, 16 and 24 stop at Spui. Access is from shopping street Kalverstraat into side street Sint Luciënsteeg.
Museum, Kalverstraat 92
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