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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 The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn, as well as various works by Vincent van Gogh and 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 tour of the Rijksmuseum that showcases the iconic gallery. You’ll learn so much from the knowledgable docents and guides.
- TL;DR What You Need To Know About Visiting The Rijksmuseum
- Rijksmuseum History
- Navigating the Rijksmuseum
- Rijksmuseum Collections
- Dining At The Rijksmuseum
- Rijksmuseum Features & Amenities
- Rijksmuseum App
- Lockers & Storage
- Other Features & Accessibility
- Rijksmuseum Virtual Tour
- How to Get to the Rijksmuseum
- Rijksmuseum Opening Hours
- Rijksmuseum Tickets & Prices
- Best Rijksmuseum Tours
- Why is the Rijksmuseum so famous?
- What is the most famous thing at the Rijksmuseum?
TL;DR What You Need To Know About 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.|
Construction of the museum as it stands today began in 1876 and was completed in 1885. It was designed by the Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers 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.
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If you want to dodge the crowds while seeing and learning about the museum’s best pieces, you must know how to navigate the museum. Remember that the Rijksmuseum still uses one-way markers in tight hallways to direct traffic flow. You can get stuck in one corner of the Rijksmuseum 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.
In the Asian Pavilion, a variety of Asian art takes pride of place, such as pieces from China, Vietnam, Japan, and more across the continent. 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 hosting temporary exhibitions. Many of the pieces here come from both the museum’s collection and on loan from high-profile artists worldwide.
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.
The famous Cuypers Library is not just aesthetically pleasing but also 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.
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The Rijksmuseum is home to some of the world’s most famous masterpieces and artifacts. The museum houses a vast and impressive collection of masterpiece paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. You’ll find such works in the Gallery of Honour on the second floor.
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.
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
All of this art got 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.
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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 as one of 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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Rijksmuseum 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 be able to find decor, books, and toys for the kids that all fit into the theme of this museum.
If you aren’t in the mood to shop after exploring, you can always order your gifts online after you get home.
Before you visit, you need to download the Rijksmuseum app! The Rijksmuseum app is available for both Android and iOS devices. The app lets you buy tickets and check museum info, 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 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 kept kids in mind when they designed their app. You can find child-friendly tours around themes like Animals, Crazy Things, and the World! Don’t let the historic nature of the Rijksmuseum fool you; this is the perfect place to bring the kids!
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Lockers & Storage
A free cloakroom and lockers are onsite, 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. You can also find sensory-friendly evenings in the calendar 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
The museum has a virtual tour on its website 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
The Rijksmuseum location 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. When visiting Amsterdam, grab a public transport city card to make meandering around this beautiful city a breeze!
But if you’re feeling adventurous, why not visit the Rijksmuseum by renting a bicycle? Amsterdam is known worldwide for being one of the most bicycle-friendly cities!
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Rijksmuseum Opening Hours
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. So, if you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, it’s best to visit during the off-season.
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!
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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Rijksmuseum Tickets & Prices
To get into the museum, you’ll need a Rijksmuseum ticket. Though they 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, you’ll be pleased to know that admission is completely 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 open up 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 has to offer.
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Best Rijksmuseum Tours
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 comes with a semi-private tour that takes you through the museum’s most iconic works of art. This tour gives you behind-the-scenes information on the museum’s most precious works of art, 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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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 to visit while in Amsterdam, the building itself is just as much a masterpiece as many of the works it displays inside.
The Rijksmuseum is not only one of the best Amsterdam museums to visit, but it’s 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 like Rembrandt’s self-portrait and ‘The Milkmaid’ call this museum home. 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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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.