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13 Best Museums in the Netherlands

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The Netherlands, a small yet culturally rich country, boasts an impressive array of museums and heritage sites that cater to various interests and disciplines. Whatever your interests are, the Netherlands has a museum for them.

When traveling through this beautiful country, you can immerse yourself in history, science, and world-famous artworks by visiting some of the finest institutions of their kind in the world.

These Dutch museums house a treasure trove of exceptional collections and knowledge, ranging from internationally renowned masterpieces to unique, local artifacts that provide insight into the Dutch way of life or even how the universe works!

TL;DR

Rank Museum Location Type of Museum
1 Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Art and History
2 Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam Art
3 Anne Frank House Amsterdam Historical
4 Kröller-Müller Museum Otterlo Art
5 Mauritshuis The Hague Art

Best Museums in the Netherlands

1. Teylers Museum

Exterior of Teylers Museum in Haarlem, Netherlands
dudlajzov / Adobe Stock

Address: Spaarne 16, 2011 CH Haarlem, Netherlands

The underrated Teylers Museum in Haarlem should be at the top of your list if you’re looking for a day trip from Amsterdam. Established in 1784, it holds the distinction of being the first and oldest museum in the Netherlands. This remarkable institution was founded by Pieter Teyler, a wealthy banker and philanthropist whose vision was to create a space for art and science to be accessible to the public.

The museum’s diverse collection includes fossils, minerals, and scientific instruments, as well as drawings, prints, and paintings. Among these paintings is an interesting and extensive gallery of Dutch landscape paintings showcasing the beauty of the Netherlands and its artistic heritage.

The building is pretty easy on the eye, both inside and out. I was captivated by the stunning Oval Room, virtually unchanged since its inauguration in the 18th century. For all these reasons, it’s no surprise that this is one of our favorite museums in Haarlem.

See Related: Best Hotels in Haarlem, the Netherlands

2. Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam

Van Gogh Museum from Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Van Gogh Museum is a can’t-miss destination for all art enthusiasts and the most popular museum in Amsterdam. It’s the most visited museum in the country! This internationally renowned museum houses the world’s largest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s artwork, including masterpieces like Sunflowers, Almond Blossom, and The Potato Eaters.

My favorite pieces are Wheatfield with Crows and The Yellow House. These works offer a glimpse into the brilliant yet troubled mind of the legendary artist, showcasing his vibrant color palette and innovative techniques.Along with van Gogh’s works, the museum also features paintings by some of his contemporaries.

Works by Paul Gauguin and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec are among the enormous collection of modern and contemporary art. You’ll also find artworks by Claude Monet and other Impressionist painters, providing a broader context for van Gogh’s artistic development and legacy. Many of these pieces are on loan, but depending on when you visit, you might catch a temporary exhibition.

The Van Gogh Museum is thoughtfully designed to ensure an immersive experience for all visitors. With abundant information presented alongside the artwork, you’ll better understand the painter’s life, trials, inspirations, and unique artistic style that inspires artists today.

3. Kröller-Müller Museum

Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, Netherlands
Kröller-Müller Museum / Kröller-Müller Museum

Address: Houtkampweg 6, 6731 AW Otterlo, Netherlands

The Kröller-Müller Museum is essential for art enthusiasts and is located in the picturesque setting of the Hoge Veluwe National Park. This museum and sculpture garden houses an impressive modern and contemporary art collection and over 160 sculptures.

Here, you’ll discover numerous works by some of history’s most celebrated artists, such as Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and Vincent van Gogh. Notable pieces in the museum include Monet’s Waterloo Bridge and van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night.

It’s also worth noting that the Kröller-Müller Museum is home to the world’s second-largest collection of van Gogh’s artworks, right after the Van Gogh Museum. This makes it an essential destination for lovers of his work or any serious art buff.

Be sure to venture outdoors and explore the expansive 75-acre sculpture garden. The garden features sculptures from renowned artists like Auguste Rodin and Jean Dubuffet, making for a lovely walk. If you want to thoroughly enjoy the vast collection of art at the Kröller-Müller Museum and the sculpture garden, be prepared to carve out a few hours.

Frankly, you can easily spend a whole day here, especially during spring or summer. Make a full-day trip of it, and explore Hoge Veluwe National Park in the morning before heading to the museum. Remember to wear comfortable shoes to make the most of your visit!

4. Mauritshuis

Front of Mauritshuis, The Hague
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Plein 29, 2511 CS Den Haag, Netherlands

Located in Den Haag (The Hague), a town well-known for its excellent museums and galleries, the “Maurice House” museum houses a world-renowned collection of artwork, including works by Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer. This beautiful 17th-century residence and hotel was once a place to stay for high-ranking visitors to the city.

Today, the Mauritshuis is one of the Netherlands’ most celebrated art museums, with a collection exceeding 800, including tons of famous Dutch paintings and other works by Dutch and Flemish masters of the Dutch Golden Age. This impressive museum houses a unique collection of iconic artworks, including Vermeer’s famous Girl With The Pearl Earring.

This Dutch Golden Age art collection further extends to masterpieces by Jan Steen, like Moses and Pharoe’s Crown and Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp.

See Related: Best Hotels in the Hague

5. Museum Panorama Mesdag

Small section of the giant cylindrical painting by the painter Mesdag
Henk Vrieselaar / Shutterstock.com

Address: Zeestraat 65, 2518 AA Den Haag, Netherlands

The Museum Panorama Mesdag is a must-see attraction, also located in The Hague. What sets this unique museum apart from all the others on this list is that it houses a 360-degree cylindrical painting created by the renowned Dutch artist Hendrik Willem Mesdag in 1881.

It’s the largest circular painting in Europe, measuring 14 meters in height and 120 meters in circumference. This is one of the most incredible works of art I’ve ever seen. The actual Panorama Mesdag (from where the museum gets its name) perfectly captures life in the seaside village of Scheveningen during the 1880s.

Having this 360 panorama around you is sort of uncanny but nothing short of enchanting. Don’t miss the chance to learn about the construction of the Rotonde, which houses the Panorama Mesdag.

In addition to the main panorama painting, the Museum Panorama Mesdag plays host to much of Mesdag’s other paintings, focusing predominantly on marine and coastal scenes. The museum’s permanent collection also includes works by other prominent Dutch artists of the time, such as Jacob Maris and Anton Mauve.

6. Nederlands Openluchtmuseum

Architecture in Netherlands Open Air Museum or Nederlands Openluchtmuseum
Sergey / Adobe Stock

Address: Hoeferlaan 4, 6816 SG Arnhem, Netherlands

While most tourists visit Arnhem for its fascinating Second World War history, the Nederlands Openluchtmuseum (Netherlands Open Air Museum) is one of the most popular attractions in town. Founded in 1912, this unique destination is one of Europe’s oldest open-air museums, offering an immersive experience of regional history and regional customs.

Sounds pretty mid-range, right? Well, no, it’s actually a fantastic learning experience. You’ll witness firsthand how the Dutch people have adapted their ways of life through the centuries, thrived in the Low Countries, preserved heritage while embracing modernity by harnessing wind and water power, and innovated in agriculture—and it’s fun.

This unique museum comprises authentic historical Dutch buildings, like farmhouses, windmills, barns, and workshops, all brought here from different parts of the Netherlands. Each building tells a story of Dutch life, from rural traditions and crafts to urban housing and commerce.

Reenactors and demonstrations frequently man these unique exhibits at the Dutch Open Air Museum. You’ll enjoy engaging exhibits and demonstrations where skilled craftspeople perform traditional trades like blacksmithing and weaving. At the same time, actors in period costumes assume the roles of villagers and townsfolk from various eras.

7. Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands

A first-timer’s trip to the Netherlands isn’t complete without visiting the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The country’s national museum (and largest museum) is home to an impressive collection of Dutch art and artifacts that span the nation’s story and its rich art history, most notably from the Golden Age.

You can find this awesome house of knowledge at the Museumplein (aka Museum Square), the Vincent van Gogh Museum, and the Stedelijk Museum. You’ll be amazed by the museum’s architecture (everyone is), but you might be interested to know that this late 19th-century palace devoted to arts, craftsmanship, culture, and science is the third home of the Rijksmuseum. You’ll find many historical artifacts, sculptures, and famous paintings of renowned Dutch masters like Rembrandt van Rijn.

Here, you can find Rembrandt’s masterpiece, The Night Watch, one of the most famous works from the Dutch Golden Age. Rembrandt’s Night Watch aside, there’s a ton to see here. While exploring the Rijksmuseum, you’ll discover fascinating exhibits on modern art, Dutch culture, and history.

Some highlights include intricate Delftware pottery, ornate ship models, and a remarkable library containing rare books and manuscripts. To enhance your experience at the Rijksmuseum, use their digital resources, such as guides and smartphone apps. You should also give yourself plenty of time to hunt for souvenirs at the gift shop and check out the superb onsite restaurant if you’re peckish.

See Related: Best Tours in Amsterdam for This Year

8. Madurodam

Entrance to Madurodam, The Hague
Björn Wylezich / Adobe Stock

Address: George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag, Netherlands

The miniature city of Madurodam in The Hague shows that you really can pack a lot into a relatively small country (chortle). This is easily one of the best museums in the Netherlands for families with kids and great for some Instagramming.

Established in 1952, this beloved family attraction represents the country’s most famous regions and attractions. The meticulous craftsmanship behind the 1:25-scale models of famous Dutch cities, monuments, working railways, and landscapes is truly something. I get a kick out of miniature town attractions, but this one helps tell a story about this country.

Not only can you admire the exquisite replicas of Amsterdam’s picturesque canals, the Dom Tower of Utrecht, and Rotterdam’s modern architecture, but you’ll also better appreciate how the Dutch harnessed the power of water through their canals, windmills, and innovative water management systems to turn this small country into an international powerhouse.

Aside from the genuinely astounding miniatures, this park offers interactive experiences that keep you engaged and entertained, such as witnessing the bustling harbor of Rotterdam come alive through working cranes and ships. It’s the coolest train set in The Hague.

9. muZIEum

Front of muZIEum in Netherlands
muZIEum / Facebook

Address: Ziekerstraat 6B, 6511 LH Nijmegen, Netherlands

This next museum is a bit much for some, but one of the most life-changing experiences I’ve ever had. The muZIEum (or muSEEum in English) in Nijmegen is a truly unique, immersive experience that will open your eyes to the world of visual impairments. This interactive museum focuses on the experience of living with blindness.

It provides educational, entertaining activities that provide valuable insights into the world of hundreds of thousands of visually impaired Dutch people. You’ll be guided by visual impairment experts through a range of themes and activities, with your vision impaired to the point of legal blindness through VR headsets.

You’ll learn about and quickly appreciate the daily challenges those with visual impairments face. One of the highlights is the Darkness Experiences, where you’re led through a pitch-black environment to experience daily tasks and adventures while relying solely on your other senses. I found it pretty humbling, but my tour guide made sure there were some laughs along the way.

Another engaging activity is engaging in small-group discussions with visually impaired guides (our group was in English), allowing you to ask questions and learn from their personal experiences. The muZIEum also hosts various temporary exhibitions and events centered around visual impairments.

This unforgettable visit changed how I see the world – literally. By visiting the muZIEum, you better understand the visually impaired community and contribute to a vital institution in the Netherlands that focuses on raising awareness and fostering compassion for this oft-maligned community.

10. Royal Delft Museum

Items inside the Royal Delft Museum, Netherlands
Torval Mork – stock.adobe.com

Address: Rotterdamseweg 196, 2628 AR Delft, Netherlands

You won’t want to miss the Royal Delft Museum in Delft. Established in 1653 as a pottery factory, this historical gem is the last remaining Delftware factory from the 17th century and holds an extensive collection of authentic Dutch earthenware.

During your visit, you’ll be immersed in the fascinating world of Delftware production. Watch the process as skilled potters and painters use time-honored techniques to create stunning Royal Delft Blue pottery. You just can’t help but appreciate the dedication and skill evident in every piece.

The museum showcases various unique artifacts, from the beloved blue-and-white ceramics to captivating tile tableaus and intricate figurines. The Royal Delft Museum hosts an impressive collection of other art and historical objects, illustrating the rich story of the Netherlands throughout the centuries.

The museum’s collection of paintings and sculptures reflects the Dutch Golden Age’s cultural and artistic wealth. There are also several displays of culturally valuable documents and relics of national significance, including the Royal Collection of Delft Blue pottery.

11. The Mondriaan House

Exterior of Mondriaan House, Netherlands
Mondriaan House / Facebook

Address: Kortegracht 11, 3811 KG Amersfoort, Netherlands

The Mondriaan House, located in Amersfoort, is another must-visit museum for any true art fanatic. This is actually the birthplace of world-renowned modern artist Pieter Mondriaan (aka Piet Mondrian), and the private museum here is dedicated to preserving his life and work. Here, you can learn how Mondrian progressed from his early naturalistic work to find the signature abstract style he’s loved for.

Another fascinating part of the museum is the recreation of Mondrian’s Paris studio. This room is organized in the same geometric and color-coded structure as his late abstract art. It offers a rare glimpse into the mind of a creative genius and his working environment.

The visit isn’t complete without observing Mondrian’s final masterpiece, the Victory Boogie Woogie, in multimedia form. Although the painting remains unfinished, it still perfectly represents the joy and energy Mondrian saw in New York. And like the painting, the New York Room celebrates New York City, characterized by dynamic colors and patterns.

As a budding travel enthusiast and an art lover, I had to add The Mondrian House to my itinerary when I first visited the Netherlands all those years ago. Such fond memories. I’ve since taken my daughter, and the look of wonder on her face in the New York Room took me right back to that first time.

12. NEMO Science Museum

Architecture of Nemo Science Museum
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Oosterdok 2, 1011 VX Amsterdam, Netherlands

Speaking of places my daughter loves, the NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam should be at the top of your list if you also have a child-like curiosity about how the world works, if you’ve got kids in town, or both. Plus, it’s just a stone’s throw from IJ-Hallen in Amsterdam Noord, so make a day of it!

Home to fun interactive exhibits, fascinating architecture (and a great view!), this museum offers an engaging and educational experience in a distinctive green, ship-like building designed by architect Renzo Piano.

At NEMO, you’ve got five floors of hands-on exhibits that bring science to life. Discover the world of science by generating electricity, following the path of water through a city, and learning about the smallest particles in the universe and space travel.

NEMO is created with children in mind, and exhibits are designed to be entertaining and informative without patronizing. I’m a grown-ish man and didn’t feel like I was being talked down to once. Not only does NEMO offer fun exhibits, but it also hosts workshops and demonstrations to delve deeper into these topics.

The museum aims to facilitate a dialogue about emerging research and innovation, challenging visitors to think critically and reflect on current scientific topics. When you need a break from exploring the fabric of the universe, head to the rooftop terrace for a stunning view of Amsterdam. The terrace also features the open-air Energetica exhibit, focused on sustainable energy solutions and urban innovations in the city.

With its wealth of engaging interactive exhibits and experiences, the NEMO Science Museum is a top destination for uncovering the wonders of science and technology. It might be my favorite museum in the country, and I don’t say that lightly. So, plan your trip now and prepare to dive into the fascinating universe of science!

See Related: Your Guide to Cheap Trips to Amsterdam

13. Louwman Museum

Exterior of Louwman Museum, Netherlands
JPwebsites / Adobe Stock

Address: Leidsestraatweg 57, 2594 BB Den Haag, Netherlands

The Louwman Museum in The Hague is a top stop for automobile enthusiasts, not just because it’s the world’s oldest private collection of historic cars. It’s gearhead heaven with over 270 rare and historic cars that take you on an interesting journey through Dutch automotive engineering and design evolution.

The Louwman Museum also features coaches, motorcycles, and vehicles from around Europe and the world from various periods and milestones in the auto industry.

You’ll find super-early models from the late 19th century, such as the Benz Patent-Motorwagen from 1886, to innovative race cars and sports cars from the 21st century. There’s a little bit of everything here, and it’s one of those places where anyone can find something interesting even if they couldn’t give a fig for cars.

Be on the lookout for royal cars and carriages, classic sports cars from across the ages, and powerful engines of iconic automobile brands like Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Lamborghini, not to mention a few World War II vehicles and artifacts on display.

Along with the huge automobile collection, the museum also houses a world-class automotive library, a stunning art museum, and a café with a beautiful terrace overlooking the museum’s pond. Don’t miss the Swan Car!

FAQs

What are the top art museums in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is a major artistic hub, home to several world-class art museums that showcase works from world-renowned collections of Dutch artists and international talents:
– The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is a must-visit, housing works by masters like Rembrandt, Vermeer, and van Gogh.
– If you’re a fan of Vincent van Gogh, you can’t miss the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, just across from the Rijksmuseum.
– Still hungry for van Gogh? Check out the Kröller-Müller Museum.
– The Frans Hals Museum features a world-renowned collection of Dutch Golden Age paintings.
– The Mauritshuis in The Hague is another top destination, where you can marvel at Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and other masterpieces.

Which Dutch museums are best for families and interactive experiences?

If you seek family-friendly, interactive museums, the Netherlands has plenty to offer:
– NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam has numerous hands-on exhibits encouraging learning and exploration for all ages.
– The Rotterdam-based National Maritime Museum provides insights into the city’s seafaring history with interactive displays and an open-air harbor museum.
-Teylers Museum in Haarlem combines science, art, and natural history in a unique setting, offering an environment where visitors of all ages can learn and discover.
– I’d also argue that the Anne Frank House is an important museum for families to visit. Not only does it tell the story of families in hiding, but it also teaches empathy and tolerance.

What are the best open-air museums in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is home to several open-air museums that showcase the country’s rich history and culture. Here are a few top open-air attractions:
– The Netherlands Open-Air Museum in Arnhem is a repository of historic buildings from various periods of Dutch history.
– Madurodam brings the Netherlands to life in miniature form and is great for families with kids.
– The Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen replicates life in a traditional fishing village with shipyards, fisherman’s cottages, and an authentic Dutch harbor.
– The National Maritime Museum in Rotterdam is both an indoor and outdoor museum.
– As is the Spoorwegmuseum, aka The Railway Museum, in Utrecht.
– Don’t forget the Sculpture Garden at the Kröller-Müller Museum.
– While not a museum, the Keukenhof Gardens, known as the “Garden of Europe,” feature over 7 million bulbs in spring, making it a must-visit open-air destination.

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