The Essential List
Allard Pierson Museum,
Oude Turfmarkt 127
Egyptian, Greek, Mediterranean antiquities---coffins, mummies, sculpture, and other really old, dried-out items of interest.
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 40
"Our Lord in the Attic". A chapel was hidden in the attic of this 17th century home at a time when things were Catholic and other denominations operated at their peril. Exhibits rotate, and the church can also be rented for weddings.
Amsterdam Historical Museum,
Exhibits of the history of the city of Amsterdam. Civic Guard Gallery, a collection of paintings of civic guardsmen of ages past. The pretty Begijnhof is next store, in which is situated yet another church (English Reformed) whose pulpit boasts wooden relief carvings by the great Dutch painter Mondriaan.
Anne Frank House,
The longest lines in Amsterdam can be found here.
Arcam - Amsterdam Centre for Architecture,
Research centre, exhibitions on architecture, urbanism and landscape architecture.
Artis Amsterdam Zoo, Zoological & Geological Museum,
Plantage Kerklaan 38-40
The oldest zoo on the continent. Besides the 8,000 animals, there is a Planetarium, a Zoological Museum, Geological Museum, and a beautiful aquarium.
Beurs van Berlage Museum,
Architectural milestone, built as stock exchange (1903), with special exhibitions on architecture and applied arts.
Bijbelsmuseum (Biblical Museum),
De Appel Foundation,
Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 10
Centre for contemporary art. Lectures, discussions, and video presentations.
Oz Achterburgwal 54
Commercial museum owned by porno mongers Janot Entertainment (Casa Rosso), worth a peek if you're in the Walletjes. Not as good as the Sex Museum, Damrak 18, which makes a scholarly attempt at displaying and describing 2,000 years worth of sexual activities, but alas, they do not have a website.
Foam Photography Museum,
From autonomous to documentary; from historical to contemporary; from world famous photographers to emerging young talents; you name it, Foam exhibits it in its chic and fashionably designed space. Foam also serves as an inspiration spot for photographers, image editors, designers and others from related professions.
The Film museum originates from the Dutch Historical Film Archive, founded in 1946 to preserve Dutch film heritage. The collections consist of 52 million meters of film, 40.000 posters, 400.000 pictures and thousands of objects.
Gemeente Archief (Municipal Archives),
As a people who compulsively kept meticulous records through the ages, Amsterdams historic past is recorded in zillions of documents and they're all stored here. Also a huge repository of photographs.
Hash, Marijuana, and Hemp Museum,
Oz Achterburgwaal 148
An optional free taste test is included in admission price.
Plantage Middenlaan 2
Botanical gardens, one of the oldest in the world.
Prinsengracht tov 296
On board the converted canal barge "Hendrika Maria", the Houseboat Museum gives you the chance to personally experience how life is on board a houseboat in an Amsterdam canal.
Joods Historisch Museum,
(Jewish Historical Museum)
Jonas Daniel Meijerplein 2-4
Permanent and rotating exhibitions, resource centre.
Situated in a gorgeous canal side home, in itself worth the small admission charge, the Cat Cabinet is the only museum in the world to feature a collection of objects d'art wholly centered around the theme of the cat. Founded in 1990 in memory of the owners beloved companion cat John Pierpont Morgan. One of our favourite places to visit in this city of cats. (We share the urge of dedicating works in honour of our cats).
Besides ship-models, paintings and artifacts the museum is home to a vast collection of atlases, globes and reference works.
The great Dutch writer, Multatuli (Eduard Douwes Dekker, 1820-1887). All Dutch intellectuals are conversant with his works, or pretend to be. From "Prayer for the Ignorant", he writes on God:
Serve him?... Foolishness! If He'd want service,
He'd reveal to us: in what way...
And it is absurd, that He expects of man
Worship, service or praise... while He Himself
About the way how to - left us in doubt.
If we don't serve God to his liking...
Then it is His fault... his fault... and it is not our fault!
How did the wealthy live in a 17th century Amsterdam canal house? Like anyone else of course, but much more comfortably.
Museum Van Loon,
Another beautiful canal home built in the 16th century that you can nose about in.
New Metropolis (aka NEMO),
That big boat-shaped green building out near the harbour is really a science and technology museum featuring many interactive gadgets. On top, during the warmer months, the Amsterdam plage (beach) is opened, a nightmare of screaming children, sand, a bit of water, and a view of traffic. Dreadful.
Today the church, built in the 14th century ( the Oude Kerk was thought too little and crowded), is an exhibition and conference centre. Organs recitals are on offer also.
This lovely lady which reigns over the Walletjes, the oldest church in Amsterdam (circa 1260), can like the lovely ladies which surround it, be rented by the hour. Exhibitions, special events, and regular organ recitals.
Dutch Press Museum. Journalism and what passed for it in the last 400 years. Books, periodicals, posters, photographs, archives, etc.
The painter lived here during the 20 year period which was for him the peek of his financial glory days. He went bust, and died a pauper elsewhere, later. The house is nearly empty of personal furnishings, they were all sold at auction or seized by creditors, but during a recent refurbishing the house was stocked with furnishings duplicating what is listed on the still extant bankruptcy inventories. Nearly all his etchings are on exhibit here. Later go on over to the Oude Kerk and visit the tomb of his first wife Saskia, who died in this very house.
The place where the "The Company of Captain Frans Cocq", popularly known as the "Nightwatch" lives. Also a few Vermeers, and lots of other really cool old paintings, many of which you've probably seen endlessly reproduced in books. See the real things, it changes everything!
Nz Voorburgwal 147 (Dam Square)
Built in the 17th century as the glorious new city hall of Amsterdam, the city council chose Jacob van Campen's design for a large and impressive monument to city vanity. These ideals have been portrayed in the sculptures by Artus Quellien and in the paintings by Govert Flinck and Ferdinand Bol. When King Louis Napoleon came to Amsterdam in 1808 he thought the grand structure a fitting palace to house his magnificence, and moved in, trailers not having been invented yet. The large collection of Empire style furniture, chandeliers and clocks date from this period, and it's been a palace ever since. It was thought one of the wonders of the world by the locals and generations of schoolchildren were taught the trick of how to remember the number of pilings that were sunk to support the structure (13,659---figure out the trick!). The palace is still used for official functions by the Queen, but shunned otherwise. In the Summer the palace is open to the public. Guided tours for groups can be arranged by appointment all year round.
Paulus Potterstraat 13
Modern paintings, sculpture, photography, graphic arts, video and new media.
The Dutch maritime museum is housed in a former naval depot, built in 1656 for the Admirality. Its collection is devoted to Dutch maritime history and at anytime over 1,000 objects are on display. On the quay lies a fully functional replica of the VOC sailing ship Amsterdam, one of the trading ships of the Dutch East India Company, the worlds first multinational company (1610-1798).
Haarlemmermeerstation, Amstelveenseweg 264
The Tram Museum offers rides in vintage cars, instead of displaying them in exhibition halls. The trams run along a former railway track along the Amsterdam Forest, the largest recreational area in Amsterdam. Several attractions in the forest can easily be reached by foot from various tramstops.
In a variety of fascinating exhibitions you will see, hear and feel a cross-section of Dutch theatre past and present. The Theater Museum is part of Theater Instituut Nederland and located in two stately, imposing buildings on the Herengracht
The Tropenmuseum is the largest anthropological museum in the Netherlands. Its realistic reconstructions of local environments and attractive displays of exhibits drawn from the museum's huge collections draw visitors right into the daily lives of the people of the tropics and subtropics. Visit the Kindermuseum webpages for more information on the special programme for children.
Van Gogh Museum,
Paulus Potterstraat 7 (Museumplein)
The massive museum dedicated to the massively over-rated French painter who just happened to be born in Holland.