The Museumkaart (museum card) is an annual membership card which gives unlimited free entry into over 400 museums in the Netherlands – including 40 museums in Amsterdam.
Whilst the card offers excellent value, unfortunately for visitors and non-residents the Museumkaart membership rules were significantly tightened up in 2016. When buying over-the-counter you now get a temporary card which is valid for 31 days and 5 museum visits.
Dutch and EU residents can officially register the temporary card (photo required) to upgrade to the full annual validity.
The Museumkaart card program (also known as the Museumjaarkaartor MJK) has been running since 1981 and now has around 1.4 million card holders. In 2018 there were 9.3 million visits made with the museum card, with each card holder making an average of 6.6 visits per year.
The Museumkaart has always been aimed at the local Dutch market and never really been promoted for use by foreign tourists.
Visitors are generally 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 value if you plan to visit 5 major museums on your trip.
The following purchase prices are valid:
Adult Museumkaart €64.90
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 – it is valid for a maximum of 5 museum visits only.
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.
Dutch Museumkaart FAQ
Where can I buy a Museumkaart over-the-counter?
The following 22 Amsterdam museums offer the card for sale:
Allard Pierson Museum
Anne Frank House
Bijbels Museum-Cromhouthuis (Bible Museum)
Grachtenhuis Museum (Museum of the Canals)
Joods Historisch Museum JHM (Jewish Historical Museum)
Museum Van Loon
National Holocaust Museum
NEMO Science Museum
Nieuwe Kerk (New Church)
Ons’ Lieve Heer Op Solder Museum (Our Lord in the Attic)
Rembrandthuis (Rembrandt House)
Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam (Maritime Museum)
Tassenmuseum Hendrikje (Bags and Purses Museum)
Van Gogh Museum
Verzetsmuseum (Dutch Resistance Museum)
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, unfortunately 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?
This is difficult 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 the Netherlands who can pay by Dutch internet banking (iDeal) or direct debit.
As of May 2018, registering a temporary Museumkaart is possible here with any EU address. You need to upload a passport-style profile photo and give a bank account (IBAN/BIC) number to pay a one-off €3.25 admin fee.
Which other museums in Amsterdam offer free entry with the Museumkaart?
Ambassade van de Vrije Geest (Embassy of the Free Mind)
Amsterdam Pipe Museum
De Appel Arts Centre
Diamant Museum (Diamond Museum)
EYE Film Museum
FOAM Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam (FOAM Photography Museum)
Hollandsche Schouwburg (National Holocaust Memorial)
JHM Kinder Museum (Jewish Historical Children’s Museum)
Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam (Royal Palace on Dam Square)
Micropia (Microbe museum)
Museum Het Schip (“The Ship” building of Amsterdam School style)
Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder (“Our Lord in the Attic” Museum)
Museum Tot Zover (Dutch Funeral Museum)
Oude Kerk (Old Church)
Stadsarchief Amsterdam (City Archives)
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. The Van Gogh Museum has a fast-lane entry for Museumkaart holders though pre-booking online is mandatory; the Maritime Museum has a special desk for Museum cards and pre-booked tickets; at the Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk 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 you now must pre-book your ticket online which gives you a specific entry time. Museumkaart holders get free entry but need to pay a €0.50 fee during the online booking process. You only need to show the card (with ticket) 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 full card gives unlimited entry to participating museums. The temporary card only allows 5 visits.
Which major museums of note in the Netherlands offer free entry to Museumkaart holders?
Paleis Het Loo (Apeldoorn)
Nederlands Openluchtmuseum (Open Air Museum, Arnhem)
Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein’ (Oosterbeek)
MOTI, Museum of the Image (Breda)
Mauritshuis (Den Haag) – includes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earing
Panorama Mesdag (Den Haag)
Groninger Museum (Groningen)
Frans Halsmuseum (Haarlem)
Teylers Museum (Haarlem)
Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (Leiden)
Zeeuws Museum (Middelburg)
Kröller-Müller Museum (Hoge Veluwe National Park, Otterlo)
Maritiem Museum (Maritime Museum, Rotterdam)
Feyenoord Museum (Rotterdam)
De Pont (Tilburg)
Rijksmuseum Muiderslot (Muiden)
Kasteel de Haar (De Haar Castle, Haarzuilens)
Centraal Museum (Utrecht)
Zaans Museum (Zaanse Schans)
Spoorwegmuseum (Dutch Railway Museum, Utrecht)
Plus over 400 museums in total in the Netherlands – each major town and city should have a museum where the card is valid.
Will the price of the Museumkaart go up in the future?
It’s possible, the price last went up (by 5 euros) on October 1st 2018 after remaining stable for some years. The purchase 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 the Netherlands. Considering the current entry fees (€16-25) to get into each of the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Hermitage, Maritime Museum, NEMO and Stedelijk – means the card would pay for itself after 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.