One of Amsterdam's best known attractions is the Van Gogh Museum on Museumplein located in the pleasant museum quarter of the city.
The museum houses the world's largest collection of paintings by infamous Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh who lived between 1853 and 1890 - which makes it a "must-see" for visitors to Amsterdam.
The Van Gogh Museum originally opened in 1973 having been designed by Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld, who actually died before it was built. Over 3 levels it contains a permanent collection of Van Gogh's paintings, drawings and letters. The collection is supplemented by works from some of van Gogh's 19th century contemporaries - such as Monet and Gaugin.
The Van Gogh paintings are divided in sections. From his darker early work in Netherlands including The Potato Eaters from 1885 and the Skull of a Skeleton with a Burning Cigarette 1886 to his move to Paris (1886-88) where he produced many of his iconic self-portraits.
Finally we see the more colourful South of France period including The Yellow House 1888 and Sunflowers 1889 leading up to his death in 1890.
The modern exhibition wing was added in 1999, designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. A spectacular new glass entrance hall on the Museumplein side was opened in September 2015.
Naturally, the Van Gogh Museum is very popular and there are always long queues to get in. Consider either obtaining a Museumkaart, Iamsterdam card, Museumplein ticket or pre-purchasing your ticket online - these will allow you to jump the queue and go straight in.
Multimedia tours (6 languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian) are available for €5 each. There are a number of activities for children: a "Treasure Hunt" activity sheet available for free at the information desk for those aged 6-12; children's workshops can also be organised which include a museum tour and creative art session.
Other facilities include a museum café (free WiFi available) and large shop on the ground floor.
On the last Friday of each month (1900 to 2200), the museum hosts Vincent On Friday, a multimedia party event aimed at a younger audience (18-30) with live music, DJs, films, artistic performances all inspired by the impact of Van Gogh's life. Only a standard entry ticket is required for admission.
With its magnificent collection of paintings, the Van Gogh museum is certainly one of the top things to do in Amsterdam. One drawback is the sheer number of visitors - the galleries can get crowded and you may require some patience to get up close to the paintings.
Van Gogh Museum Essential Info
Opening Times: 0900-1700 daily, Friday closes 2200.
Admission Prices (2016): Adults €17, FREE entry to children 0-17 / Iamsterdam card / Museumkaart holders.
Getting There: Museumplein is a 10 minute walk from Leidseplein. Trams 2, 3, 5 and 12 stop at Van Baerlestraat, just outside the museum; trams 16 and 24 stop at Museumplein. The Van Gogh museum is located between the Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk museum.
Our Rating: if it was less crowded we would give it 5 stars.
Gogh Museum, Museumplein 6, Amsterdam
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