Amsterdam has a wealth of interesting museums and here we list the top 10 museums in Amsterdam by visitor numbers.
With tourist numbers booming, the top 10 Amsterdam museums attracted around 8.5 million visitors between them. It is not surprising that two of the most popular museums – Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank house – have recently gone over to an online tickets only system with pre-booked time slots.
The visitor data (2018 calendar year) has been sourced from the museums themselves, either via press releases or direct contact.
Note, this is a museums list and we have not included well-visited Amsterdam attractions such as Artis Zoo, Heineken Brewery etc in the top 10 list.
Top 10 Museums in Amsterdam – 2018 Visitor Numbers
1. Rijksmuseum (2.30 million)
The Rijksmuseum is the most important museum in the Netherlands. Its rich collection includes paintings from renowned Dutch masters Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals and Jan Steen. It has some 80 rooms displaying no less than 8,000 works of art and historical objects.
The highlight is Rembrandt’s world-famous Night Watch (Nachtwacht) painting, located at the end of the Gallery of Honour.
At well over 2 million annual visitors, it remains the most visited museum in Amsterdam. It is possible to pre-book your Rijksmuseum tickets online here which avoids the need to queue at the ticket counter.
2. Van Gogh Museum (2.17 million)
The Van Gogh Museum has the world’s largest collection of paintings from infamous Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890). It is very popular with visitors to Amsterdam and the museum has had to impose time-slot restrictions for those wishing to enter. You can no longer turn up and buy tickets at-the-door.
Highlights include The Potato Eaters (1885), The Yellow House (1888) and Sunflowers (1889).
The museum received 2.17 million visitors in 2018 which is nearly 6,000 per day. Bear in mind that the galleries remain very crowded. Book your ticket online here to get a time slot
3. Anne Frank House (1.20 million)
The Anne Frank House Museum is the house on Prinsengracht, Amsterdam in which the young girl Anne Frank (1929-1945) and seven others hid in a secret annex during the German occupation in WW2. It was here where Anne wrote her world-famous diary which was published after her death.
The Anne Frank House can only be visited with a pre-booked ticket and time-slot. This was imposed to stop the long queues commonly seen outside the museum.
The museum is at capacity with visitor numbers having levelled out to around 1.2 million over the last few years. In late 2018 the museum opened a new entrance on Westermarkt and a renewed presentation.
4. Stedelijk Museum (695,000)
The Stedelijk Museum is a Amsterdam’s modern and contemporary art museum. The permanent installation STEDELIJK BASE contains over 700 varied works from the museum collection – including pre-war works, avant-garde, De Stijl and pop-art.
Special exhibitions are held on a temporary basis.
Stedelijk has consistently ranked the 4th most visited Amsterdam museum over the last few years – with almost 700,000 visitors in 2018. Its record year was 2014 with around 800,000 visitors. You can book Stedelijk tickets online here
5. NEMO Science Museum (676,000)
The NEMO Science Museum is a very popular science/technology museum located in green ship hull-like building designed by Renzo Piano. It is primarily aimed at children and attracts a lot of school groups.
There are hands-on science-themed exhibitions over 4 floors with shows and demonstrations. There is a large roof terrace (free entry) which offers good views.
Visitor numbers have been increasing steadily over the last years and NEMO is closing in on the Stedelijk’s 4th position. Pre-book NEMO tickets online here
6. MOCO Museum (550,000)
The MOCO Museum is an independent contemporary art museum opened in 2016. It is best known for featuring works of art by UK street artist Banksy. MOCO is located in the Villa Alsberg townhouse on Museumplein, nextdoor to the Van Gogh Museum.
In a short time the MOCO has established itself as a popular Amsterdam visitor attraction and has reached an impressive 550,000 visitors in 2018.
7. Maritime Museum (360,000)
The Dutch National Maritime Museum (Scheepvaartmuseum) is found in the eastern docklands area of Amsterdam. This modern museum presents Dutch maritime history and includes the probably the world’s finest collection of atlases and globes.
The wings of the museum are connected by a courtyard with a beautiful glass roof.
In 2018 the museum received a healthy 360,000 visitors.
8. Amsterdam Museum (340,000)
Amsterdam Museum is focussed on the history of Amsterdam from a small fishing village to modern city. The main display is the multi-media exhibit Amsterdam DNA. It also hosts temporary exhibitions.
Visitor numbers have grown considerably over the last few years and are up to 340,000 for 2018. This does include around 150,000 people visiting the museum’s freely accessible Civic Guards’ Gallery (Schuttersgalerij) passageway.
9. Hermitage Amsterdam (320,000)*
The Hermitage Amsterdam is a satellite exhibition from the vast collection of the grand State Hermitage in St Petersburg, Russia. This museum is located in the Amstelhof building (a former old people’s home) on the river Amstel.
Special exhibitions are held and run for about 6 months.
*Unfortunately the Hermitage declined to answer our requests for visitor numbers so we estimate 2018 visitors to be around 320,000. We do know that the permanent exhibition Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age which is run in conjunction with Amsterdam Museum received 166,000 visitors in 2018.
10. Royal Palace Amsterdam (279,000)
The Royal Palace Amsterdam (Koninklijk Paleis) is the palace building on Dam Square which was built as Amsterdam Town Hall in the 17th century.
The palace is open to the public and its remarkable 30m high Citizen’s Hall (Burgerzaal) contains the largest maps in the world.
Despite being open 241 days out of 365 in 2018, the Royal Palace hosted 279,000 visitors.
Museums in Amsterdam – Just outside Top 10
11. Rembrandt House (262,000)
The Rembrandt House Museum is the house in Amsterdam where renowned Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) lived and worked.
It contains an excellent collection of Rembrandt etchings and holds temporary exhibitions of other Dutch artists from the Golden Age period.
The Rembrandt House has seen visitor numbers growing slowly over the last years, with a respectable 262,000 visitors in 2018. Pre-book your Rembrandt House tickets online here
12. Nieuwe Kerk (230,000)
The Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) is the main church in Amsterdam located on Dam Square in the heart of the city. It is used for state functions and is an exhibition space hosting a major exhibition in the autumn/winter as well as the annual World Press Photo in early summer.
In 2018 the Nieuwe Kerk received 230,000 visitors – just outside the top 10 – including a record 117,000 at World Press Photo 2018.
The year also included the exhibitions We Have a Dream: Gandhi, Luther-King, Mandela (2017-18) and The life of Buddha, the Path to the Present (2018-19).
13. Tropenmuseum (210,000)
The Tropenmuseum is an ethnographic museum with exhibits on many non-Western cultures around the world. Located to the east of Amsterdam (out of the centre), it is an under-rated museum that perhaps does not get the visitors it deserves.
Tropenmuseum had 210,000 visitors in 2018 putting it just outside the top 10.
Let’s also have a look at some other attractions (not museums) in Amsterdam which receive sufficient visitor numbers that would have made the listing.
The A’DAM Toren Lookout, the highest panoramic public viewpoint in Amsterdam on the north bank of the IJ had 675,000 visitors in 2018. This puts it on a par with 5th placed NEMO.
The Hortus Botanicus, Amsterdam’s botanical gardens got 224,000 visitors in 2018.