Amsterdam 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.
Opened in 1975, Amsterdam Museum is housed in a fine 16th century building which was originally a convent and then an orphanage.
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.
[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 this wealth came at the so-called 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!]
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.
The Little Orphanage (Het Kleine Weeshuis) is an exhibition which offers adults and children to experience life in a 17th century Amsterdam orphanage.
There is the Civic Guards’ Gallery 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 on the Kalverstraat side with outside terrace in the summer. There is also a museum shop next door.
Note, Amsterdam Museum was closed between 13 March and 31 May 2020 due to coronavirus measures. Since reopening on 1 June it is mandatory to pre-book a ticket and timeslot in order to maintain 1.5m social distancing. There are a limited number of visitors allowed and one-way walking routes are in effect.
Amsterdam Museum Essential Info
|Opening Times||Daily 1000-1700.|
|Admission Prices (2020)||€15 for adults, FREE entry to children 0-17, Museumkaart or Iamsterdam City Card holders. You can pre-book tickets online here|
|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, 14 or 24 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