One of Amsterdam’s best known attractions is the Van Gogh Museum on Museumplein located in the pleasant museum quarter of the city.
The museum houses the world’s largest collection of paintings by infamous Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh who lived between 1853 and 1890 – which makes it a “must-see” for visitors to Amsterdam.
Following the death of Van Gogh, his works were managed by his brother Theo and his wife Johanna. Their son Vincent Willem went on to found the Vincent van Gogh foundation in 1962. Just over a decade later the Van Gogh museum was built in Amsterdam to house the family collection.
The Van Gogh Museum opened in 1973 having been designed by Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld, who actually died before it was built. The modern exhibition wing by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa was added in 1999. A spectacular new glass entrance hall on the Museumplein side was opened in September 2015.
Over 3 levels, the Rietveld building contains a permanent collection of Van Gogh’s paintings, drawings and letters. The collection is supplemented by works from some of Van Gogh’s 19th century contemporaries – such as Monet and Gaugin.
In terms of numbers, the museum collection contains some 200 Van Gogh paintings, 500 of his drawings and 750 of his letters.
The Van Gogh paintings are divided in sections and charts his development in becoming one of the greatest artists in history. From his darker early work in the Netherlands (“Painter of Peasant Life”) including The Potato Eaters from 1885 to his move to Paris (1886-88) where he produced many of his iconic self-portraits.
Finally we see the more colourful South of France “Heyday” period including The Yellow House 1888, Sunflowers 1889 and Almond Blossom 1890 leading up to his death in July 1890.
A hand-held multimedia tour (€3 for adults, free for children) provides insight and is available in 11 languages: English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Chinese Mandarin, Japanese and Korean.
Alternatively, there are a couple of guided tours available which need to be booked in advance. The Van Gogh masterpieces tour (50 minutes, 1-4 people, €15 per person excluding entrance) and the family guided tour (50 minutes, 2-5 people of 1 household, €55 per group excluding entrance).
The Kurokawa wing hosts temporary exhibitions which are held a few times a year.
Other facilities include a museum café and a large shop in the entrance hall.
With its magnificent collection of paintings, the Van Gogh museum is certainly one of the top things to do in Amsterdam.
You must pre-book a time-slot ticket online even if you have a Museumkaart or Iamsterdam City Card which offer free entry. The busiest visiting hours are 1100-1500, so for slightly less crowding book earlier or later.
Van Gogh Museum Essential Info
|Opening Times||Daily 0900-1800. Note, open 1000-1700 (Mon-Fri) and 1000-1800 (Sat-Sun) between 13 Sep and 15 Oct 2021. Open since 5 June 2021.|
|Admission Prices (2021)||€19 for adults, FREE entry to children 0-17, Museumkaart or Iamsterdam City Card holders. It is obligatory to pre-book a time-slot ticket online.|
|Getting There||The Van Gogh Museum is a 10 minute walk from Leidseplein. From Amsterdam Central, trams 2 and 12 stop at the adjacent Rijksmuseum; or take metro line 52 to Vijzelgracht station which is about 5-7 mins walk away; from Amsterdam Zuid, take tram 5; from Amsterdam Sloterdijk take tram 19 to Spiegelgracht stop; from Schiphol airport, bus 397 also stops at the Rijksmuseum.|
Van Gogh Museum, Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam
T: +31(0)20 570 5200, vangoghmuseum.nl
Last updated 30 August 2021. This article was first published in 2008 and has been regularly updated.