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The Ultimate Guide for Visiting the Rijksmuseum

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Are you visiting Amsterdam? Make sure to include a stop at the Rijksmuseum (pronounced ‘rikes museum’), one of Europe’s top art museums, at Museum Square in Amsterdam’s city center.

The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, is the Dutch national museum housing an extensive collection of artistic masterpieces and artifacts from the Middle Ages through the present day. It focuses on masterpieces from Dutch history, such as Rembrandt van Rijn’s The Night Watch, as well as various works by Vincent van Gogh, Johannes Vermeer, and other artists from the Dutch Golden Age.

Opened over 100 years ago, the Rijksmuseum has become one of Europe’s leading cultural institutions and one of the most visited Amsterdam museums. The gallery features a vast collection of art by the world’s greatest painters and other important cultural works that must be witnessed in person if presented with the opportunity.

The Rijksmuseum is a national treasure and should be on everyone’s list when visiting the Dutch capital. To help you get started on your planning, we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know before visiting the gallery. Keep reading to find out our top tips in this Rijksmuseum travel guide.

If you’re already on your way, pick up this skip-the-line ticket for a semi-private Rijksmuseum tour showcasing the iconic gallery. You’ll learn so much from the knowledgeable docents and guides.

Key Things to Know Before Visiting The Rijksmuseum

Location Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands
Hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round, last entry at 4:30 p.m.
How To Get There Line 52 subway or Line 2 tram (link to public transport city card), drive, or bicycle
Tickets Timed entry: order online ahead of time. Alternately, purchase a skip-the-line tour ticket.

Rijksmuseum History

Enchanting Dutch architecture at Rijksmuseum Garden, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Construction of the museum as it stands today began in 1876 and was completed in 1885. The Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers designed it to house an extensive collection of artifacts that were formerly kept in the National Art Gallery. Since then, it has become an icon of Amsterdam and a major tourist attraction, drawing more than 2 million tourists annually.

See Related: Best Time to Visit Amsterdam

Navigating the Rijksmuseum

Paintings in Rijksmuseum
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

If you want to dodge the crowds while seeing and learning about the museum’s best pieces, you must know how to navigate it. Remember that the Rijksmuseum still uses one-way markers in tight hallways to direct traffic flow. You can get stuck in one corner and return to the entrance to see another exhibit.

The institution is home to an impressive array of art and artifacts, not just limited to Dutch art. Of course, paintings by Dutch masters are a heavy feature, but you can also enjoy other styles, like decorative Asian art featuring beautiful porcelain, sculptures, and paintings.

Here’s a breakdown of the periods of art by the floor of the museum:

Floor Time Period
3 1900–1950
2 1850–1900
1 1800–1850
0 1700–1800
0 1600–1700

Rijksmuseum Key Highlights

Floor Room Time Period Notable Works & Artists
0 0.4 1100–1600 Suchtelen, Jan van Scorel, Beuckelaer
0 0.6 1100–1600 Van Oostsanen, Joachim Beuckelaer
0 0.13 1700–1800 Scheepsmodellen
0 0.12 1700–1800 Wapens
0 0.9 1700–1800 Model van Walvis
1 1.1 1600–1650 Cornelis Troost
1 1.3 1600–1650 Vanmour
1 1.12 1650–1700 Waterloo
1 1.13 1650–1700 Francisco de Goya
1 1.17 1650–1700 Diorama
1 1.8 1700–1800 G.H. Breitner
1 1.16 1700–1800 Vincent van Gogh
2 2.1 1600–1650 Willem van Oranje, Hugo de Groot
2 2.5 1600–1650 Rembrandt, Nachtwacht
2 2.15 1650–1700 William Rex
2 2.20 1800–1900 Poppenhuizen
2 2.22 1800–1900 Delfts Blauw
2 2.27 1800–1900 Gerrit Adriaensz. Berckheyde

Asian Pavilion

Gilded Armor Exhibit in  Rijksmuseum
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Asian Pavilion features a variety of Asian art, including pieces from China, Vietnam, Japan, and more across the continent. The pieces here range from 2,000 B.C. to 2,000 A.D.! The space is surrounded by water, making it a serene place to sit and admire art.

The Philips Wing is another space dedicated to temporary exhibitions. Many of the pieces here come from the museum’s collection and are on loan from high-profile artists worldwide.

Gallery of Honour

Night Watch Painting by Rembrandt in Rijksmuseum
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Gallery of Honour is perhaps the museum’s focal point. Visitors can walk through this hall of 17th-century masterpieces, passing alcoves full of classic Dutch art. At the end of the hall, you’ll gravitate to the Night Watch Gallery, featuring the infamous painting of the same name.

Additionally, the museum contains an extensive library and various archives. This makes it an important center for research.

Cuypers Library

Cuypers Library Interior
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The famous Cuypers Library is aesthetically pleasing and home to the world’s largest collection of art history resources. Visitors can admire the optical illusions of the large library or even hit the books and study.

See Related: Travel Tips for Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum Collections

Old Rembrandt Self-Portrait in Rijksmuseum
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Rijksmuseum is home to some of the world’s most famous masterpieces and artifacts. It houses a vast and impressive collection of masterpiece paintings from the Dutch Golden Age, which are on display on the second floor of the Gallery of Honour.

Milkmaid Painting by Johannes Vermeer in Rijksmuseum
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

At the Rijksmuseum, you can enjoy works from famous artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn. But also other notable Dutch masters like Jan Steen, Frans Hals, Jan van Goyen, and Albert Cuyp

Notable works in the Rijksmuseum collection include The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer, The Threatened Swan by Jan Asselijn, and Oopjen Coppit by Rembrandt. The Rijksmuseum contains countless other masterpieces painted by these artists and far too many more to list here.

Young Rembrandt Self-Portrait in Rijksmuseum
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The institution also has a variety of modern works by artists such as Karel Appel, Piet Mondrian, and Willem de Kooning.

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Dining At The Rijksmuseum

Did all of this art make you hungry? There are two dining options inside! The Cafe is the perfect place to stop and grab a quick bite. It’s located in the Atrium just above the museum’s gift shop.

In addition to coffee and pastries, the menu features several lunch options and a variety of light snacks like bread and cheese pairings, fruit, and soup. There’s also a kids’ menu with the Burger for the Little Visitor and pancakes.

RIJKS

Food from RIJKS Restaurant, Amsterdam
Loved dining at RIJKS (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

For a more fine-dining experience, RIJKS is tucked away in the museum’s Philips Wing. This restaurant received a Michelin Star in 2016 and frequently ranks among the best in Amsterdam and the Netherlands.

Executive Chef Joris Bijdendijk has been with RIJKS since the fine-dining restaurant opened in 2014. His cooking style embraces Dutch ingredients while finding inspiration in global cuisines and food cultures.

In keeping with the spirit of a world-leading art museum, the restaurant routinely loans out its culinary talent and invites innovative chefs worldwide to show their skills in its kitchen. Book your table as RIJKS books up far in advance.

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Features & Amenities

Not only is the museum home to some world-class art, but the institution offers some other amenities that will make a truly all-around great experience. One of the best parts about visiting the Rijksmuseum is being able to take part in this historic museum home with you.

Their gift shop features countless curiosities, art pieces, and wonders perfect for guests of all ages. You’ll find decor, books, and toys for the kids that fit into the museum’s theme.

If you aren’t in the mood to shop after exploring, you can always order your gifts online after you get home.

Rijksmuseum App

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam App

Before you visit, you need to download the Rijksmuseum app, which is available for both Android and iOS devices. The app lets you buy tickets and check museum information, but it also does much more!

The best feature of the Rijksmuseum app has to be the customized app for self-guided tours. Are you looking to see every seaside piece of art, or maybe you want a tour that shows you all the depictions of cats in the museum? With the Rijksmuseum app, you can create a custom tour showing everything.

The Rijksmuseum app also features tours made by other museum-goers. The app will ask you a few quick questions and then generate a tour to follow based on your interests and those of others made by like-minded guests. The app works best with Wi-Fi enabled, so it’s good to have free Wi-Fi throughout the building!

In addition, they designed their app with kids in mind. You can find child-friendly tours around themes like Animals, Crazy Things, and the World! Don’t let the Rijksmuseum’s historic nature fool you; this is the perfect place to bring the kids!

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Lockers & Storage

There is a free cloakroom and lockers on site, so you can stash the non-essentials rather than haul them around a museum all day.

Other Features & Accessibility

The Rijksmuseum makes significant efforts to make the museum accessible to all. It’s wheelchair accessible, features lifts on every floor and welcomes guide dogs.

Moreover, there are talks in international sign language and ‘touch-and-feel’ style guided tours for the visually impaired. The calendar also includes sensory-friendly evenings for a less overly stimulating and overwhelming visit.

There is also a breastfeeding room where parents can care for their children discreetly. All you need to do is reach out to a member of the Rijksmuseum staff, and they will escort you to a private family room.

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Rijksmuseum Virtual Tour

Rijksmuseum Virtual Tour from Home

The museum’s website offers a virtual tour to explore its masterpieces. The digital collection on the official website is home to over 130,000 pieces of art. The Rijksmuseum actively encourages people to download images and play around with the artwork on the website.

The website also has a new feature that allows you to curate your own Rijksstudio using items from their digital gallery!

The online collection at the Rijksmuseum features an impressive search feature that lets you sort and browse through their entire catalog—even pieces that are not on display! This search function is excellent for quickly finding everything you want to see at this museum before you head out!

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How to Get to the Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum View from Amsterdam Canal
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Rijksmuseum is in Amsterdam’s historic Museum Quarter, close to the Van Gogh Museum. The exact address is Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands.

This neighborhood is located in the city’s heart and is easily accessible by car and public transportation. If you’re driving, you can find plenty of nearby parking, including the Q-Park Museumplein parking garage at Van Baerlestraat 33b.

Public transit offers the best way to get to the Rijksmuseum. You can take a bus or taxi, hop off a bus tour, or take the Line 52 subway or Line 2 tram.

The subway and tram each have a stop that’s a 10-minute walk from the Rijksmuseum. Grab a public transport city card when visiting Amsterdam to make meandering around this beautiful city a breeze!

But if you’re feeling adventurous, why not rent a bicycle to visit the Rijksmuseum? Amsterdam is known worldwide for being one of the most bicycle-friendly cities!

See Related: Best Bike Tours In Amsterdam

Hours of Operation

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Rijksmuseum is open year-round, but the best time to visit depends on your interests. The museum is busiest during the summer months and national holidays. If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, visiting during the off-season is best.

Every museum has various times of day when they tend to be a bit busier and have slower hours that are ideal for families and people looking to take it easy. The Rijksmuseum is at its most active between 11 am and 3 pm. Those looking to dodge the crowds can slip in before or after these times.

Remember that the museum admits its final entries of the day at 4:30 p.m. Please don’t be late, or they might not let you in! Early birds can enjoy the quietest time at the museum by arriving just before the doors open at 9 a.m. to beat the crowds!

A Windmill on a Polder Waterway by Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriel
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

You could also purposely visit the museum between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to experience the Rijksmuseum during peak hours. This is an excellent way to people-watch and mingle with fellow art fans!

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Tickets & Prices

Entrance Ticket Access in Rijksmuseum
GetYourGuide Tours & Tickets GmbH / GetYourGuide

To enter the museum, you’ll need a Rijksmuseum ticket. Though tickets can be purchased on-site, we recommend buying them in advance and booking online, as they can quickly sell out.

Tickets have timed entry only. This means you must order online in advance and pick the day and time you want to visit. If you’re going to beat the crowds, you must get tickets for a skip-the-line tour.

Also, for those traveling with children, admission is free up to 18 years of age! For even more savings, museums worldwide offer memberships that provide access to discounted tickets and invites to members-only events. You can become a friend of the Rijksmuseum to discover new ways to explore this museum.

Friends of the Rijksmuseum also get access to secret events. Friends-only events are scheduled throughout the year, giving you behind-the-scenes access to all the secrets this Dutch national museum offers.

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Best Rijksmuseum Tours

Rijksmuseum Small-Group Guided Tour
360 Amsterdam Tours / Viator

The Rijksmuseum offers private guided tours if you’re looking for a more intimate experience. These tours are led by qualified guides specializing in Dutch and international art. They will take you through the museum’s most famous works of art and give you an up-close look at some of the gallery’s hidden treasures.

Don’t want to wait in line? You can cut through the hassle and go on this skip-the-line tour at the Rijksmuseum that does more than let you bypass the long lines and even longer wait times.

This ticket includes a semi-private tour of the museum’s most iconic works of art. The tour gives you behind-the-scenes information on the museum’s most precious works, like The Night Watch.

The museum is always open to group visits and tours. From big family trips to business outings, your group can get a unique experience.

You can even register as a tour guide at the gallery! This gives you access to special informational sessions, early announcements for upcoming exhibits, and other Rijksmuseum news.

For larger groups, such as school or other outings, you must register your trip in advance so the museum can accommodate your entire party.

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FAQs

Why is the Rijksmuseum so famous?

Around two million yearly visitors enjoy close to 8,000 paintings, sculptures, and other historical objects across 1.5km of galleries within the famous Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. As one of the most popular attractions in Amsterdam, the building itself is just as much a masterpiece as the many works it displays inside.

The Rijksmuseum is not only one of the best Amsterdam museums to visit but is also recognized as one of the best art museums in the world. It houses works from notably famous Dutch artists, like Rembrandt and Van Gogh, but visitors can also enjoy works from across the water with their Asian art pieces.

What is the most famous thing at the Rijksmuseum?

The most famous thing at the Rijksmuseum is the ‘Night Watch’ by Rembrandt. But this world-class art museum doesn’t stop there.

Other fine pieces of Dutch art, such as Rembrandt’s self-portrait and ‘The Milkmaid, ‘ are called home in this museum. Moreover, the Cuypers Library is a booklover’s paradise, and ‘the passage’ running through the two halves of the atrium is a hit with street performers.

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