Amsterdam Museum is located in the heart of the city centre and gives an insight into the history and development of Amsterdam from a small fishing village into one of Europe’s great cities. The museum has a broad collection of around 100,000 objects spanning the entire history of the city.
Opened in 1975, Amsterdam Museum is housed in a 16th century building which was originally used as a convent and orphanage. The museum itself is rather a labyrinth experience with galleries connected by numerous passageways and staircases.
The museum is closed and is undergoing a much-needed major renovation and expansion between 2022-2025.
The new museum will offer a more logical and accessible route for visitors, increased exhibition space and a rooftop area.
The following describes the museum as it was before closing:
Amsterdam DNA is a permanent 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)
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (1795-1815)
Towards a Modern City (1870-1940)
Second World War (1940-1945)
Capital of Freedom (1945-present)
A single item is highlighted in each chapter around which a story is told, projected onto large glass screens.
The Amsterdam DNA can be explored in under an hour and has been designed to give visitors a solid introduction to the city.
Alternatively, the Amsterdam DNA Family Tour is suitable for children aged 4 and above.
A special audio tour for the entire museum is available in 10 languages – Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese.
Other Exhibitions @AmsterdamMusuem
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.
World – City is another part of the permanent exhibition which looks at the relationship between Amsterdam and the rest of the world.
The Little Orphanage (Het Kleine Weeshuis) is an exhibition which offers adults and children to experience life in a 17th century Amsterdam orphanage.
City Lab is an interactive workshop area for younger groups.
Finally, there is the Amsterdam Gallery (formerly Civic Guards Gallery) which now hosts part of the Golden Coach exhibit – it is effectively a covered street and used to be freely open to the public, but is currently only open to ticket holders.
Note, in September 2019 the museum decided to completely remove the term ‘Golden Age’. This widely-used phrase defines the period during the 17th century when the Dutch republic prospered – although some consider this wealth to have come at the expense of other groups. Whether you feel this policy is a well-intentioned drive to make history more inclusive or this is an Orwellian use of vocabulary restriction, you be the judge!
The museum cafe Mokum is located in the old courtyard on the Kalverstraat side with outside terrace in the summer. There is also a museum shop next door.
Amsterdam Museum also runs the Willet-Holthuysen Museum.
Amsterdam Museum Essential Info
|Opening Times||Closed for renovation 2022-2025.|
|Getting There||Amsterdam Museum is a short walk from both Dam Square and Spui. From Amsterdam Central take trams 2, 11 or 12 to Spui or trams 4 or 14 to Rokin; or take Metro 52 to Rokin station. The museum can be accessed from the shopping street Kalverstraat into side street Sint Luciënsteeg.|
Amsterdam Museum, Kalverstraat 92, Amsterdam
T: +31(0)20 523 1822, amsterdammuseum.nl
Last updated 18 March 2022. This article was first published in 2010 and has been regularly updated.