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Living Horse Museum in Amsterdam

Levend Paarden Museum at Hollandsche Manege

The Hollandsche Manege is the oldest riding school in the Netherlands which is set in an inconspicuous building near the Vondelpark in Amsterdam. It also houses the Living Horse Museum (Levend Paarden Museum) which gives a historical perspective on the location.

living horse museum amsterdam
Hollandsche Manege-Living Horse Museum building on Vondelstraat

The neoclassical listed building on Vondelstraat was constructed in 1882 and was partly inspired by the Spanish Riding School of Vienna. It was designed by Dutch architect A.L. van Gendt who also designed the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

The Hollandsche Manege riding school dates back even further to 1744 and has traditionally been a place where the wealthy Amsterdam set could practice their horsemanship skills.

The Manege is run by the Valk family and the Living Horse Museum was established in 2013. The building ownership was taken over in 2018 by conservation group Amsterdam Stadsherstel and the venue and museum underwent a significant renovation in 2019-20 including improvements to animal welfare standards.

hollandsche manege entrance
Hollandsche Manege-Living Horse Museum entrance

Today the restored building is open to visitors who can explore the museum and historic stables. You can get a map of the building at the ticket desk to find your way around.

living horse museum amsterdam entrance hall
Living Horse Museum Amsterdam – entrance hall

A visit starts at the main entrance hall which has 2 side rooms – the former Director’s Office, which includes period furniture and where the history of the riding school and building is presented.

living horse museum amsterdam director's office
Living Horse Museum Amsterdam – Former Director’s Office

On the opposite side the Ruiterkamer is the former Dressing Room which is dedicated to the elegant riders and their carousel performances. You can try sitting on one of the two buck saddles if you so wish.

living horse museum amsterdam dressing room
Living Horse Museum Amsterdam – Dressing Room

Continuing straight on through the doors you reach the impressive Riding Hall. Take a wander around the historic stables and drop by the Horsewomen’s Room (Amazone Kamer). Please bear in mind that horses and riders always have right of way!

living horse museum horsewomen's room and stables
Living Horse Museum Amsterdam – Horsewomen’s Room and Stables

Head on up the staircase (lift also available) where you get an elevated view of the Riding Hall from the balcony. Some of the architectural features are highlighted on the presentation board.

hollandsche manege amsterdam riding hall balcony
Hollandsche Manege-Living Horse Museum – Riding Hall from the balcony

You can have a drink or take a high tea at the elegant foyer cafe nextdoor.

living horse museum amsterdam foyer cafe
Living Horse Museum Amsterdam – Foyer Cafe

Carousel performances are held twice monthly for the public – generally every first and third Sunday of the month at 1330, lasting 30 minutes. The riders are dressed in traditional costume and the ladies ride side-saddle. On the other Sundays of the month at 1330 there are demonstrations performed by students.

Private tours can also be arranged for groups which costs €75 plus entrance (with 10% discount) per person. Individual riding lessons are also available for those aged 8+.

The Hollandsche Manege is one of the hidden gems of Amsterdam. If you have an interest in horses and/or enjoy historic buildings with a twist then a visit is recommended.

Hollandsche Manege/Living Horse Museum Essential Info

Opening Times1100-1700 daily.
Admission Prices (2024)€12.50 for adults, €8 for children 3-12, free for children 0-2 and Museumkaart holders.

There is a currently a small surcharge for the Norman Thelwell exhibition (11 Dec 2023 to 7 Feb 2024).

Carousel demonstrations (held twice monthly) cost €17.50 for adults, €12.50 for children 3-12.

Getting ThereThe Hollandsche Manege is located on Vondelstraat which is found between Vondelpark and the Overtoom street. From Amsterdam Central take tram 2/12 to Leidseplein which is 5-10 mins walk away.

Hollandsche Manege/Levend Paarden Museum, Vondelstraat 140, 1054 GT Amsterdam

Last updated 9 January 2024. This article was first published in January 2023.

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