The Museumkaart (museum card) is an annual membership card which gives unlimited free entry into almost 400 museums in Netherlands - including 35 museums in Amsterdam.
The card will literally pay for itself after only a few visits, particularly when used at major museums such as Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh and Maritime - so it's well worth the investment and highly recommended.
The card is also known as the Museumjaarkaart or MJK and has been running since 1981. With over 1 million card holders, the scheme is aimed more at Dutch residents and not heavily promoted for tourist use - unlike the Iamsterdam City Card which is valid 1-3 days and includes museum admission, public transport and some other bonuses and discounts.
However, anyone can buy a Museumkaart over-the-counter at participating museums which are listed below. The following purchase prices are valid 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015 and include a €4.95 admin fee:
Adult Museumkaart costs €59.90 for 1 year
Child Museumkaart for ages 0-18 costs €32.45 for 1 year
Note that online purchase and delivery is only available to residents of Netherlands and the museumkaart.nl website is in Dutch only.
When buying at a museum, the card comes with an optional form to "join" the organisation. However for non-resident visitors there is no obligation and probably not much point in filling in this form. Most Dutch residents do fill in the form so their card is insured against loss and they can set up an automatic direct debit to renew the card, thus avoiding the admin fee. If you do want to fill in the form you can either send it away by post or hand it back to the museum.
The museum then needs to "activate" your card - you do have to fill in the small sticker that comes with the main form. Write the holder's name (naam), gender (M/V) and date of birth (geb. datum) plus the card's expiry date (vervaldatum kaart) and then stick it onto the card. No ID or photograph is required to buy a Museumkaart, however the card should not officially be used by someone else.
You can also buy an unactivated card which can be activated on the first day of use.
When visiting a museum you simply present your card at the admission counter and they will scan the barcode on the back. Some museums will give you a printed ticket, others will just let you in.
In which Amsterdam museums can you buy a Museumkaart over-the-counter?
The card can also be bought at the COBRA Modern Art Museum in Amstelveen.
All the above museums give standard free entry with the Museumkaart although note that the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), Rembrandt House and Stedelijk often require a small supplement during special exhibitions.
We would probably recommend buying the Museumkaart at one of the quieter museums (such as Willet-Holthuysen Museum on Herengracht, open daily or Allard Pierson Museum near Spui/Dam Square, closed Mondays) as you are unlikely to encounter long queues.
Which other museums in Amsterdam offer free entry with the Museumkaart?
De Appel Arts Centre
Can I jump the queue with a Museumkaart?
Normally you just queue up as usual and present your museum card at the ticket desk. Only the Van Gogh Museum has a fast-lane entry for Museumkaart holders. For the Rijksmuseum and Maritime Museum you just get your museum card scanned at the main gallery entrance - no need to queue at the sales desk. The Hermitage has self-scan machines for museum cards in the foyer, although these are sometimes out of action.
Can I jump the queue at the Anne Frank house?
If you wish to visit the Anne Frank House and avoid the long queues then you should pre-book your ticket online which gives you a specific entry time. Museumkaart holders get free entry and only need to pay a €0.50 fee during the online booking process. You only need to show the card when you arrive at the museum.
If you are planning to buy a Museumkaart when you arrive in the Netherlands you can still book your Anne Frank ticket in advance - just as long as you have the card in hand on the day you visit the museum.
Can I visit a museum more than once?
Yes, the card gives unlimited entry to participating museums.
Which major museums of note in Netherlands offer free entry to Museumkaart holders?
Het Loo (Apeldoorn)
Plus around 400 museums in total in the Netherlands - each major town and city should have a museum where the card is valid.
the price of the Museumkaart go up in the future?
The price of the museum card is normally increased slightly on 1st July every year.
The Museumkaart is a no-brainer if you wish to visit a number of museums during your stay in Amsterdam and/or Netherlands. Considering the €15 current entry fee to get into each of the Van Gogh Museum, Hermitage, Maritime Museum, NEMO, Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk - means the card quickly pays for itself after just 4 visits.
For expats and residents it can offer excellent value over the whole year. The card is great for the ability to just pop into a museum for 30 minutes and visit a new exhibition - and you won't feel the pressure to see everything.