Amsterdam has a wealth of diverse museums. In this article we list the top 15 museums in Amsterdam by visitor numbers in 2020.
Not surprisingly, 2020 was a very difficult year indeed for the museum sector due to the stringent ‘coronavirus’ regulations. The Netherlands entered a lockdown on 13 March 2020 and all museums were closed to the public.
Museums were reopened in June but with visitor numbers restricted and depending on the size of the location. All museums had to implement an online booking reservation system to manage visitor time-slots. Prior to March 2020 only the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum required mandatory reservations.
Museums were closed down again in December 2020 and remained closed until June 2021.
amsterdam&partners reported an average year-on-year drop of 68% in museum visitors for the year 2020. On a quarterly basis, visitors to museums in Amsterdam in 2020 was broken down as follows, compared with the 2019 figures:
|Q1 2020||Q2 2020||Q3 2020||Q4 2020|
|– 26%||– 91%||– 64%||– 83%|
This drop in visitor numbers has resulted in a huge loss of income for all museums. The private Museum of Bags and Purses (Tassenmuseum Hendrikje) on Herengracht had to close its doors shortly after the first lockdown. The Biblical Museum at the Cromhouthuis was also shut down.
Top 15 Museums in Amsterdam – 2020 Visitor Numbers
The visitor data below is for the 2020 calendar year and has been sourced from the museums themselves, either via press releases or direct contact plus the official attraction visitor list published by Respons. Historical data also comes from statistics published by the Amsterdam city council.
1. Rijksmuseum – 675,000 (2,678,393 in 2019) [-75%]
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. The painting is currently undergoing an open renovation project called Operation Nightwatch.
Following the record 2.678 million visitors in 2019, the Rijksmuseum saw its lowest visitor figures since 1964 with just 675,000. Netherlands-based visitors accounted for 64% of the total whilst 135,000 (20%) of the visitors were children (aged 0-18) who get free entry.
Rijksmuseum remains the most visited museum in Amsterdam. It is possible to pre-book your Rijksmuseum tickets online here
2. Van Gogh Museum – 516,990 (2,134,778 in 2019) [-76%]
The Van Gogh Museum has the world’s largest collection of paintings from infamous Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890).
Highlights include The Potato Eaters (1885), The Yellow House (1888) and Sunflowers (1889).
The museum received just over half a million visitors in 2020, down significantly from the 2.135 million visitors in 2019. Its all-time record year was 2017 with 2.243 million visitors.
Dutch-based visitors made up 40% of the total compared with 16% in 2019. Other visitors included those from Germany (12%), France (11%), Italy (8%) and UK (5%). Book your Van Gogh Museum ticket online here
3. Anne Frank House – 396,448 (1,304,793 in 2019) [-70%]
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.
In 2020 the Anne Frank House had its lowest visitor turnover since 1981 at just under 400,000. Prior to this the museum had been almost at full capacity with the 2019 figures being the record year.
4. Stedelijk Museum – 277,338 (670,000 in 2019) [-59%]
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.
Stedelijk has consistently ranked the 4th most visited Amsterdam museum over the last few years. 2020 saw a drop of nearly 60% of visitors compared to 2019 – of these 87% were Netherlands-based visitors. Its record year was back in 2014 with around 811,000 visitors. You can book Stedelijk tickets online here
5. MOCO Museum – 253,695 (638,289 in 2019) [-60%]
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 enters the top 5 for the first time. Its visitor numbers dropped 60% in 2020 following the 2019 record year.
6. NEMO Science Museum – 232,547 (664,879 in 2019) [-65%]
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 of Amsterdam.
Visitor numbers were down almost two-thirds in 2020 following the 2019 record of 665,000 visitors. Pre-book NEMO tickets online here
7. Amsterdam Museum – 160,000 (460,000 in 2019) [-65%]
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 various temporary exhibitions and the free Amsterdam Gallery.
In 2020 the Amsterdam Museum received 93,000 visitors at its main Kalverstraat location. Amsterdam Museum also manages the Portrait Gallery of the 17th Century at the Hermitage which received 62,000 visits in 2020.
It also runs the Willet-Holthuysen Museum which had 5,000 visitors. This makes a total of 160,000 visitors for 2020 – down significantly from the record 2019 year.
8. Hermitage Amsterdam – 140,000 (400,000 in 2019) [-65%]
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.
Visitor numbers were down 65% in 2020 to 140,000. It is someway off the record 650,000 visits in 2010.
9. Nieuwe Kerk – 136,000 (275,000 in 2019) [-51%]
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.
The Great Suriname Exhibition attracted around 79,000 visitors in 2020 (and 183,000 in total during its 2019-20 run). World Press Photo 2020 had 57,000 visitors. Therefore we calculate 136,000 visitors in total in 2020, down from the 2019 record year of 275,000 visitors.
10. Maritime Museum – 111,435 (310,609 in 2019) [-64%]
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 2020 the museum received 111,435 visitors and comes back into the top 10. It’s record year was 2012 with 419,000 visitors.
11. Tropenmuseum – 94,638 (210,560 in 2019) [-55%]
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 underrated museum that perhaps does not get the visitors it deserves.
Tropenmuseum dropped just below 100,000 visitors, down 55% on the previous year. Its all-time record year was 2016 with 212,000 visitors.
12. FOAM – 84,213 (193,000 in 2019) [-56%]
FOAM is a well-known photography museum in Amsterdam located on the Keizersgracht canal and runs multiple temporary exhibitions over the course of the year.
FOAM received 84,213 visitors in 2020, down just over half from the 2019 figures. Over the previous 10 years (2011-2020) FOAM averaged 201,000 visitors with the record 244,000 visitors coming in 2016.
13. Royal Palace Amsterdam – 80,477 (314,833 in 2019) [-74%]
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.
The Palace was open 136 days in 2020 and received 80,477 visitors. Of these 51.5% were Netherlands-based visitors. The record year was 2019 with 315,000 visitors.
14. Jewish Cultural Quarter – 67,173 (358,771 in 2019) [-81%]
The Jewish Cultural Quarter (JCK) reported a total of 67,173 visitors in 2020. This was made up of the Jewish Historical Museum (34,926 visitors), JHM Children’s Museum (10,871) and Hollandsche Schouwburg (21,376). The JCK did not have figures for the Portuguese Synagogue.
In 2020 both the Holocaust Museum and Hollandsche Schouwburg were closed down for a long-term renovation.
The record year for the Jewish Cultural Quarter was 2018 with 373,000 visitors.
15. Rembrandt House – 66,829 (280,628 in 2019) [-76%]
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.
At 66,829, the Rembrandt House lost over three-quarters of visitors in 2020 compared to the record 280,000 visitors in 2019. Pre-book your Rembrandt House tickets online here
Top Amsterdam Museums Visitor Summary (2020)
1. Rijksmuseum 675,000
2. Van Gogh Museum 516,990
3. Anne Frank House 396,448
4. Stedelijk Museum 277,338
5. MOCO Museum 253,695
6. NEMO Science Museum 232,547
7. Amsterdam Museum 160,000
8. Hermitage Amsterdam 140,000
9. Nieuwe Kerk 136,000
10. Maritime Museum 111,435
11. Tropenmuseum 94,638
12. FOAM 84,213
13. Royal Palace 80,477
14. Jewish Cultural Quarter 67,173
15. Rembrandt House 66,829
Collated by AmsterdamTips.com, data sources: museum press offices and Respons(NL).
Other Amsterdam Attractions
Let’s also have a look at some other attractions in Amsterdam which receive sufficient visitor numbers that would have made the listing.
Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo+Micropia received 700,000 visitors combined in 2020 (1,400,000 in 2019) which would place it number 1 on our museums list. Being outdoors, zoos and animal park are allowed to cater for slightly more visitors.
Madame Tussauds Amsterdam on Dam Square had 252,878 visitors in 2020 (760,400 in 2019). This puts it just behind MOCO Museum in the listing.
The A’DAM Toren Lookout, the highest panoramic public viewpoint in Amsterdam on the north bank of the IJ had 251,500 visitors in 2020 (791,000 in 2019).
The Heineken Brewery received 242,978 visitors in 2020 (1,183,706 in 2019) which would also place it in the top 10.
Body Worlds had 118,990 visitors in 2020 (342,685 in 2019); Red Light Secrets (Museum of Prostitution) received 93,913 visitors in 2020 (334,831 in 2019).
Other Amsterdam Attractions Visitor Summary (2020)
1. ARTIS 700,000
2. Madame Tussauds Amsterdam 252,878
3. A’DAM Lookout 251,500
4. Heineken Brewery 242,978
5. Body Worlds 118,990
6. Red Light Secrets 93,913
Museum visitor numbers in 2021 will continue to be severely affected by the ‘coronavirus’ measures. All museums were closed until 5 June 2021. Visitor numbers are still capped by online booking. It is possible that further restrictions will be introduced in autumn/winter.
Last updated 15 June 2021.