The Museumkaart (museum card) is an annual membership card which gives unlimited free entry into around 400 museums in the Netherlands - including 35 museums in Amsterdam.
Whilst the card offers excellent value, unfortunately for visitors and non-residents the Museumkaart membership rules (as of 2016) have been significantly tightened up. When buying over-the-counter you now only get a temporary card which is valid for 31 days. Only Dutch residents can officially register the card (photo required) to upgrade to the full annual validity.
The Museumkaart card program (also known as the Museumjaarkaart or MJK) has been running since 1981 and now has over 1 million card holders. It has always been aimed at the local Dutch market and never been promoted for use by foreign tourists. Visitors are offered the Iamsterdam City Card which is valid 1-4 days and includes museum admission, public transport and some other bonuses and discounts.
However, anyone can buy a temporary (tijdelijk) Museumkaart over-the-counter at various museums which are listed below. The 31 day Museumkaart still offers very good value if you plan to visit a number of major museums on your trip.
The following purchase prices are valid up to 30 June 2016:
Adult Museumkaart €59.90
Child (age 0-18) Museumkaart €32.45
Before using it for admission the first time, the museum needs to activate your card. You should fill in the details required on the card itself - the holder's name (naam), date of birth (geboortedatum) plus the card's purchase date (aankoopdatum). Once activated the temporary card will automatically expire after 31 days.
If you already have an old style Museumkaart purchased in 2015, the card will remain valid until its annual expiry date.
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 I 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), Hermitage, 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.
Can I buy a Museumkaart at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport?
No, unfortunatley it is not possible to purchase a Museumkaart at Schiphol. You need to head into the city and visit one of the above museums to buy the card.
Can I buy/register a Museumkaart online?
Not if you are a non-resident. The museumkaart.nl website is available in Dutch only! Online purchase and delivery is only available to residents of Netherlands who can pay by Dutch internet banking (iDeal).
Registering a temporary Museumkaart requires a Dutch address, the uploading of a passport-style photo (age 13 or older) and setting up of a direct debit with a Dutch bank account for membership renewal.
Which other museums in Amsterdam offer free entry with the Museumkaart?
Appel Arts Centre
Note, Museumkaart uses the Dutch names for the museums; we have
noted the English names in brackets where applicable.
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, Stedelijk and Maritime Museum you just get your museum card scanned at the main gallery entrance - no need to queue at the sales desk.
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 price includes a €4.95 admin fee which is waved for renewal.
The Museumkaart still remains 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 and Stedelijk; plus the €17.50 to enter the Rijksmuseum - means the card quickly pays for itself after just 4 visits.
For expats and residents it can offer fantastic 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.