Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam: A Must-Visit Art Experience

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Van Gogh Museum from Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is an essential experience for art devotees and curious tourists alike. Located near the famous Rijksmuseum, this remarkable museum is home to the world’s most extensive collection of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings, drawings, and letters.

Established in 1973, the museum now attracts millions of visitors every year, eager to delve into the artistic world of this celebrated Dutch artist.

My small family and I recently moved from Minneapolis to Amsterdam simply due to my fondness for the city. We frequently visit iconic Dutch museums as proud museum card (or Museumkaart) holders.

The Van Gogh Museum has become one of our young daughter’s favorite experiences in Amsterdam. Our time spent in the Amsterdam museum scene allows us to recognize this beloved cultural institution’s unique features and offerings.

If you don’t have a Museumkaart, you can book a skip-the-line ticket with a private tour of the Van Gogh Museum. It’s the best way to see the museum; if you’re just in town to visit, you’ll be sure you have the full experience.

The impressive glass entrance, designed by Hans van Heeswijk Architects, welcomes visitors into van Gogh’s artistry, where you can explore his famous masterpieces and lesser-known works.

With my love and appreciation for art, my family truly values the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the rich history and creative genius of Vincent van Gogh while living in the enchanting city of Amsterdam.

Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam

History

Van Gogh Potato Eaters
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Van Gogh Museum, located in Amsterdam’s prestigious Museumplein, is a world-renowned institution dedicated to the life, work, and artistic legacy of Vincent van Gogh.

Established in 1973, this museum houses the world’s largest collection of van Gogh’s artwork, offering visitors a unique opportunity to delve into the mind of one of the most celebrated artists in history.

The museum’s origins date back to the 1960s when Vincent van Gogh’s artistic nephew, engineer Vincent Willem van Gogh, entrusted the van Gogh family’s vast assortment of paintings, drawings, and letters to the Dutch government. This decision led to the museum’s creation, ensuring these masterpieces remained accessible to the public eye.

While Vincent van Gogh’s meteoric (if largely posthumous) rise to fame and tragic demise is well documented, there are still lesser-known aspects of his life waiting to be discovered within the museum’s walls.

His remarkable creativity, struggles with mental health, and enduring influence on subsequent generations of artists are all explored through the museum’s carefully curated selection of artworks and informative displays.

Visitors to the Van Gogh Museum will find themselves immersed in a world of dynamic colors, bold brushstrokes, and intriguing insights into the life and mind of a true artistic genius.

PRO TIP: As a museum cardholder, one can enjoy unlimited access to the Van Gogh Museum, among other iconic museums across the Netherlands. This privilege allows an in-depth exploration of the museum’s extensive collections and ever-evolving special exhibitions.

See Related: A First-Hand Review of the Immersive Gustav Klimt Experience

Architecture

Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

When you visit the Van Gogh Museum, you’d do well to take in the architecture of the building as it’s a work of art in its own right. The museum consists of two main structures designed by prominent architects.

The original Rietveld building, named after its designer Gerrit Rietveld, was completed in 1973. Known for its modernist style, the building’s interior provides a fitting backdrop for van Gogh’s expressive works.

In 1999, an expansion known as the Kurokawa wing was added to the ground floor to accommodate the growing number of visitors. This elliptical structure, designed by esteemed Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa, further solidifies the museum’s compelling blend of art and architecture.

See Related: Rembrandt House Museum Review

Collection Highlights

Vincent Van Gogh

Paintings at the Van Gogh Museum
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam houses the largest compilation of Vincent van Gogh’s artworks, making it a must-visit place for art lovers.

Some of the most famous paintings on display include his iconic Sunflowers series, which beautifully captures the essence of this beloved flower. Visitors can also marvel at other masterpieces like the striking Irises and the mesmerizing Starry Night Over the Rhône.

19th Century Paintings

Vincent Van Gogh Bedroom artwork by the famous Dutch painter.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Van Gogh Museum houses many of Vincent van Gogh’s most famous works. Museum cardholders can explore these masterpieces throughout the year.

The museum showcases van Gogh’s evolution as an artist, with pieces from his early years in the Netherlands to his later works created during his time in France. Some notable van Gogh paintings in the museum’s collection include Sunflowers, The Potato Eaters, and The Bedroom. The lively colors and unique brushwork captivate museumgoers, making a memorable impression.

Drawings

In addition to the paintings, the Van Gogh Museum also features a broad selection of drawings. These drawings offer a different perspective on van Gogh’s artistic abilities, showcasing his draftsmanship and attention to detail.

Some displayed drawings date back to van Gogh’s time in the Dutch countryside, while others are from his years in Paris, Arles, and Saint-Rémy. The visitor can truly appreciate the artist’s versatility and talent in various media through the selection of drawings.

Letters

Vincent van Gogh quote in Letter to Theo
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Van Gogh Museum also houses a treasure trove of letters, predominantly written by Vincent to his brother Theo. These letters provide a unique insight into the artist’s thoughts, emotions, and struggles.

I appreciate the historical value of these letters, as they offer a personal connection to one of the world’s most renowned artists. Complementing the letters are various photographs and documents, further enriching the visitor’s understanding of van Gogh’s life and work.

By exploring the paintings, drawings, and letters in the Van Gogh Museum, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the artistic world of Vincent van Gogh, gaining a deeper understanding of his extraordinary life and work.

This newfound knowledge and appreciation have enhanced my experience of living in Amsterdam and taking advantage of the culture that the city has to offer.

See Related: Royal Palace Amsterdam: History, Architecture, and Visitor Information

Impressionists and Post-Impressionists

Van Gogh Museum Collection Paintings & Artwork by Vincent Van Gogh.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

In addition to Van Gogh’s masterpieces, the museum’s exhibition wing also showcases works painted by other renowned Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists. This exceptional collection features pieces from artists like:

  • Paul Gauguin: A talented post-Impressionist painter and close friend of Van Gogh. His vivid use of colors in works such as Breton Girls Dancing makes a strong impression on viewers.
  • Edvard Munch: Known for the haunting piece The Scream, Munch has other notable paintings showcasing his unique style.
  • Kazimir Malevich: A pioneering abstract painter, his groundbreaking work, Black Square, challenges traditional artistic norms.
  • Wassily Kandinsky: Another trailblazer of abstract art, Kandinsky’s impactful compositions brilliantly play with shapes and colors.
  • Félix Vallotton: Vallotton’s unique take on post-Impressionism brings images to life in his captivating paintings.

Appreciating these stunning works of art will undoubtedly leave visitors inspired by the remarkable talent on display.

Temporary Exhibitions

It is worthwhile for those with a museum card to regularly visit the Van Gogh Museum, as it hosts temporary exhibitions. These rotating exhibits feature works from artistic movements, providing fresh insights and exciting new perspectives for art enthusiasts.

Whether exploring Japanese art’s influence on van Gogh’s work or delving into contemporary art, the temporary exhibitions showcase subjects and thought-provoking themes for visitors to enjoy.

Exploring these rotating exhibits and the vast permanent collection at the Van Gogh Museum allows art lovers to immerse themselves in the beautiful works of truly iconic artists.

The regular visits with a museum card create an opportunity to witness the ever-changing displays, allowing for a deeper understanding and appreciation of the artistic gems offered by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

See Related: Top Things Amsterdam is Famous For

Additional Resources and Information

Plan Your Visit to the Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum Gallery - Fine Art Paintings and Exhibits
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Opening Hours

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam offers art enthusiasts and casual visitors a unique and memorable experience. It’s best to plan your visit ahead of time to make the most of your time there.

The museum’s opening hours vary throughout the year, but generally, they are open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 pm, with extended hours until 9:00 p.m. on Fridays.

Van Gogh Museum Tickets and Pricing

Admission to the museum can be purchased in different ways. For instance, the Museum Card provides unlimited access to the Van Gogh Museum and other iconic museums in the Netherlands.

This is an excellent value for museum lovers, as it quickly pays off after visiting multiple popular museums together. The card allows unlimited access to the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, and other iconic museums across the Netherlands.

We’re making good use of the card, and others will undoubtedly appreciate the convenient proximity of these cultural landmarks and the tempting dining options in the area. Van Gogh Museum tickets for those without a Museum Card are as follows:

  • Adults: €19
  • Visitors 18 and under: Free
  • Online tickets: €19
  • Group rate (more than 10 persons): €17 per person

You can also bundle the ticket with other experiences. For example:

Note: Buying tickets online is recommended to book and avoid long queues.

Directions and Accessibility

Reaching the Van Gogh Museum is simple, as it is easily accessible by public transportation. Take Trams 2, 5, or 12 from Amsterdam Central Station, which will take you directly to the museum. Alternatively, you can check Google Maps for other routes, nearest stops, and modes of transportation.

If you prefer driving, several parking options are available near the museum entrance. Yet, keep in mind that parking in Amsterdam can be quite expensive. Accessible parking spaces are available for visitors with mobility impairments, and the museum itself is well-equipped for visitors with disabilities.

See Related: Famous Buildings in Amsterdam to Visit

Visitor Reviews and Testimonials

young van gogh self portrait
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam consistently receives positive feedback from its visitors. Many appreciate van Gogh’s works and the informative and engaging exhibit layout. Visitors often mention the knowledgeable staff and excellent customer service, which undoubtedly contribute to the museum experience.

As for myself, I found my visits to be among my favorite experiences in Amsterdam. Compared to other stunning museums in the city, the Van Gogh Museum stands out as a truly immersive experience. I love the chronological layout of the exhibits, which allows visitors to witness the evolution of van Gogh’s style and techniques.

The interactive element of the museum is another highlight, which not only engages adult visitors but also keeps my young daughter entertained and captivated.

Some things that help this museum stand out include the available guided tours carrying the perfect balance of information and storytelling and the well-stocked museum shop. The shop offers a range of souvenirs, art prints, and literature, allowing visitors to take home a piece of the experience.

See Related: GoCity Amsterdam Review: Is it Worth it?

Nearby Attractions

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Van Gogh Museum’s location in Museumplein (Museum Square) offers visitors an exciting array of nearby attractions, including other iconic museums, restaurants, and cafes. Other top museums in Museumplein include:

Are there any restaurants or cafes near the Van Gogh Museum?

The area around the Van Gogh Museum is filled with eateries to satisfy different tastes and preferences. Visitors can enjoy a meal or grab a quick bite in between exploring the museums and other nearby sights.

One notable cafe right within the museum is Café Le Tambourin. This cafe offers a selection of sandwiches, salads, pastries, and beverages, making it a great spot for museum-goers to take a break and refresh themselves.

In addition to the in-museum cafe, visitors can find several dining options in the surrounding neighborhood. For instance, the Rijksmuseum is just a short walk from the Van Gogh Museum and features its café, Café Crouwel, offering a range of soups, sandwiches, and pastries.

Visitors also have the opportunity to explore the popular Museumplein area, which is home to various restaurants and cafes that cater to diverse tastes. Some popular options include:

  • The Seafood Bar: A highly-rated seafood restaurant, perfect for those craving freshly caught fish and seafood dishes.
  • De Blauwe Hollander: A cozy Dutch restaurant offering traditional cuisine, ideal for tourists who want to experience authentic local flavors.

For art enthusiasts, the aforementioned Stedelijk Museum, another world-renowned museum, is just a few steps away from the Van Gogh Museum. While visiting this modern art museum, guests can enjoy a meal at Restaurant Stedelijk, known for its seasonal and sustainable menu options.

See Related: Best Restaurants in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Where’s the best place to stay near the Van Gogh Museum?

Apart from the wealth of knowledge and culture to be absorbed in the Museumplein area, the best part about this neighborhood is that there are some terrific hotels just a few steps away. Here are a couple of our favorites:

See Related: Best Family-Friendly Hotels in Amsterdam

FAQs

Are guided tours available at the Van Gogh Museum?

Yes, guided tours are available at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Visitors can choose between guided tours, including private, multimedia, and group tours. The tours provide insights into the life and work of Vincent van Gogh and the museum’s collection.

What are the main attractions at the Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam?

As an iconic travel destination, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam hosts the largest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s work globally. Key attractions include ‘The Potato Eaters,’ a profound portrayal of rustic life, the vibrant ‘Sunflowers’ series reflecting Van Gogh’s time in southern France, and ‘Almond Blossom,’ symbolizing rebirth inspired by Japanese art.

Finally, ‘The Bedroom,’ a richly colored depiction of Van Gogh’s living quarters in Arles, is a significant highlight. This artistic journey deeply delves into over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 700 letters.

What are some interesting facts about the Van Gogh Museum and Vincent van Gogh?

Since its 1973 opening, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has become a major travel hotspot, attracting over 2.1 million annual visitors. The collection initially hinged on the artworks gathered by Vincent’s brother, Theo van Gogh.

Interestingly, Vincent sold only one painting in his lifetime, “The Red Vineyard.” Despite his limited commercial success, his most iconic works were produced in the final two years before his premature passing at age 37. These intriguing facts offer a profound look into the life and legacy of this acclaimed artist.

Can I buy souvenirs from the Van Gogh Museum?

Yes, there is a museum shop within the Van Gogh Museum, where visitors can purchase various souvenirs, including prints, books, postcards, and other unique items inspired by Van Gogh’s artworks. Additionally, an online shop offers worldwide shipping for those who cannot visit the museum in person.

Related Resources

Kyle Kroeger
WRITTEN BY

Kyle Kroeger

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. Read more about his portfolio of work.

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