Museums,  Travelling tips

AMSTERDAM MUSEUMS — Enjoy the Best Art in the Netherlands

Amsterdam has been a bustling center of activity for nearly one-thousand years, and we have always felt that the energy and the vibe that characterize New York City pay homage to its Dutch history. Yes, you can still find that vibrancy by visiting the Netherlands, even during the quieter months. If you are young in age, or young at heart, Amsterdam is perhaps more exciting than ever. This is a great destination for friends, and also for families and couples with diverse interests. For the tourists traveling alone, you will not be lonely for very long.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a small country compared to most tourist destinations, and that is another PLUS!  With its friendly, multi-lingual residents and highly functional transportation options, the Netherlands should be near the top of your list for that perfect get-away.  {High Season for tourism in the Netherlands begins from March 15th through May 15th when the tulips are in full bloom.}

In preparation for this article we visited Amsterdam more than once and stayed overnight at hotels in different parts of the capital city, as well as in an airport hotel at Schiphol, and in the smaller city of Delft.  Additional time was spent in neighboring Belgium, visiting Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, Leuven, and Brussels.

While many of you will take a train into Amsterdam and head directly to one of the trendy areas, such as the Leidseplein, the Red Light District or the Museumplein, our hope is that you may choose a more relaxed approach to the city. Upon arrival at Centraal Station, for example, you might choose to walk directly into a charming, nearby neighborhood — such as the lovely Jordaan — and settle into a hotel for a few days to take in the lovely, historic canals full of beautifully restored rowhouses.

The Begijnhof courtyard in Amsterdam.
The Begijnhof courtyard

If you have been to Amsterdam before and do not appreciate the hectic pace (and numerous trams) outside Centraal Station, you might choose to head directly for Metro lines 51, 53 or 54 and travel to the Waterlooplein (and beyond). In this cosmopolitan, friendly culture you will find it easy to depart from the typical touristic route and find your own beauty in Amsterdam via a self-guided walking tour at your own pace through some of the more serene and charming areas.  Your walk might take you to the Begijnhof courtyard, near Spui, to see the oldest wooden house in Amsterdam (# 34) and the chapel (below, right) where Beguines and Catholics attended services in secret until 1795.

Amsterdam Cultural Highlights for
Art Lovers


More than 650,000 art lovers headed over to the Rijksmuseum in 2023 to see the “VERMEER” exhibit, which closed on June 4th. 28 paintings by Johannes Vermeer were on view, and an attendance record was set during this exhibition. Unlike Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Vermeer left an unusually small body of work, about 35 to 37 paintings. Several Vermeers remain on display in the Gallery of Honor, along with works by Frans Hals, Vincent van Gogh and Rembrandt.

Woman Reading a Letter, 1662-64 by Johannes Vermeer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Dedicated to Dutch arts and history, the Rijksmuseum was founded in The Hague in 1798 and moved to Amsterdam 10 years later. The current main building opened in 1885, and the museum welcomes visitors every day from 9:00 until 5:00 in the afternoon (17:00). The Rijksmuseum is free for everyone under 19 years of age.

The wedding portraits of Marten and Oopjen (below) by Rembrandt, painted in 1634 and purchased by the Baron Gustave de Rothschild in 1877, will soon be on view at the Louvre for five years, before returning to the Rijksmuseum. The two museums paid a total of $174 million for the pair of paintings, which will always remain together.

Art Lovers TIP: A simple 5-minute walk along the Museumplein — from the Rijksmuseum to the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum — will take you into one of the greatest museum quarters in the world! All three museums may be reached via Tram # 2 and Tram # 12 from Amsterdam Centraal Station, and by Tram # 5 from the direction of the Leidseplein. Metro 52 stops at “Vijzelgracht” and Tram # 3 stops at “Museumplein.”

On the Outskirts of Paris, Near Montmartre, 1887 by Vincent van Gogh (Vincent van Gogh, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Stedelijk Museum

“On the Outskirts of Paris, Near Montmartre” (above) was on display at the Stedelijk Museum, as part of the exhibit “MODERN — Van Gogh, Rietveld, Léger and Others,” which closed in September 2023. Located next door to the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum of modern and contemporary art is showing ongoing exhibitions, including “YESTERDAY TODAY” — art and design from 1880 to 1950 including DeStijl, Bauhaus, CoBrA and other movements; “EVERYDAY, SOMEDAY AND OTHER STORIES” (1950 – 1980); and “TOMORROW IS A DIFFERENT DAY,” highlights of their collection from 1980 until the present day. Check the museum’s website for numerous exhibitions of contemporary art!

Flowering Plum Tree (after Hiroshige), 1887 by Vincent van Gogh, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Van Gogh Museum

Irises, 1890 by Vincent van Gogh, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The Courtesan (after Eisen), 1887 by Vincent van Gogh, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Seascape Near Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, 1888 by Vincent van Gogh, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Hosting the world’s largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh has enabled the Van Gogh Museum to surpass the much-larger Rijksmuseum in attendance over the past 10 years. To enjoy special exhibitions related to Vincent’s career and influence, you will enter the fantastic modern space designed by Kisho Kurokawa and completed in 1999, whereas groups enter the Van Gogh Museum through the main building housing the permanent collection which was designed by Gerrit Rietveld and opened to the public in 1973. 

Past Exhibits at the Van Gogh Museum

Wheatfield with Crows, 1890 by Vincent van Gogh
“Van Gogh in Auvers — His Final Months” Is Now on View in Paris

The Van Gogh Museum presented “Van Gogh in Auvers — His Final Months” through September 3, 2023. This exhibition resulted from a collaboration with the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, where this show is currently on display until February 4, 2024.

Daubigny’s Garden, 1890
The Plain at Auvers, 1890
The Church at Auvers, 1890
Almond Blossom, 1890

Van Gogh Along the Seine

From October 2023 through January 2024, the exhibit “Van Gogh Along the Seine” was on view at the Van Gogh Museum.

The Impressionists often found inspiration in pastoral and suburban locations. This special exhibition, a collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago, explored the “next generation of ambitious artists” — specifically, Vincent van Gogh and four other Post-Impressionists who traveled outside of Paris to villages along the Seine on the northwestern fringes of the French capital in order to spark their creativity.

Factories at Clichy, 1887 by Vincent van Gogh
View of the Pont d’Asnières, 1887 by Vincent van Gogh
Exterior of a Restaurant in Asnières, 1887 by Vincent van Gogh
The Junction at Bois-Colombes (Opus 130), 1886 by Paul Signac
Gate on the Ile de la Grande Jatte, 1887 by Vincent van Gogh
Iron Bridges at Asnières, 1887 by Emile Bernard
Sailing Boat on the Seine at Asnières, 1887 {Pencil & chalk on paper with Van Gogh’s hand-written color notations}
Fishing in Spring, the Pont de Clichy, 1887 by Vincent van Gogh

Containing works from international museums and private collections, including masterpieces by Paul Signac and Emile Bernard, this fine show entitled “Van Gogh Along the Seine” closed in Amsterdam in January 2024.

“Van Gogh Along the Seine” Closed on January 14, 2024

By the Seine, 1887 by Vincent van Gogh

Another novel exhibition entitled “Golden Boy Gustav Klimt, Inspired by Van Gogh, Rodin, Matisse …” was on view at the Van Gogh Museum through January 2023. Below, you can enjoy highlights from that first-rate exhibit.

Golden Boy Gustav Klimt, Inspired by Van Gogh, Rodin, Matisse…

Waterserpents II, 1904 {reworked 1906-07} by Gustav Klimt
The Pink Orchard, 1988 by Vincent van Gogh
Avenue to Schloss Kammer, 1912 (left) by Klimt & The Pink Orchard, 1988 by Vincent van Gogh
Summer Night on the Beach, 1902-03 by Edvard Munch
The Offering, 1891 by Fernand Khnopff
Study for Madame Gautreau, 1884 by John Singer Sargent (left) & Portrait of a Lady, 1893 by Klimt
Embroidered Panels, 1902-04 by Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh
Portrait of Thadee Caroline Jacquet, 1891-92 by Edmond Aman-Jean
The Three Brides, 1892-93 by Jan Toorop
Reproduction of the Beethoven Frieze, 1901-02 in the Secession Building, Vienna, by Gustav Klimt
Harmony in White and Blue, 1872-74 by James McNeill Whistler
A Silent Councillor, 1878 by Lourens Alma Tadema
Reproduction of the Beethoven Frieze, 1901-02 in the Secession Building, Vienna, by Gustav Klimt
Will-o’-the-Wisp, 1903 by Klimt
Eugenia Primavesi, 1913 by Klimt
Portrait of a Lady, 1893 by Klimt
Portrait of Friedericke Maria Beer, 1916 by Klimt
Adele Bloch-Bauer II, 1912 by Klimt
Orchard in Blossom, 1889 by Vincent van Gogh

When “Klimt — Inspired by Van Gogh, Rodin, Matisse …” closed at the Van Gogh Museum in January 2023, it traveled to Vienna for its presentation at the Belvedere Museum through May 2023.

After viewing an upcoming temporary exhibition (when you visit Amsterdam in the future), plan to spend an additional two or more hours enjoying the permanent collection of the Van Gogh Museum. For your convenience, we have included highlights from the collection at the very end of this article.

Popular Hotels in Amsterdam

Hotels have grown increasingly expensive in major cities throughout the Netherlands, especially in Amsterdam. In recent years, we stayed in 3 properties which you can find on the website.  Those of you arriving at Schiphol Airport for a brief stay may choose the Sheraton Amsterdam Airport Hotel.  Recommended by more than 85% of its guests, this uniquely-situated Sheraton is not as fancy as downtown hotels, but it is certainly convenient.  With its central location right inside the airport, a 5-minute walk from your plane (or train) will lead you directly into the Sheraton’s lobby, passing a supermarket, shops, buses, and trains along your route.  The hotel’s Club Lounge is adequate, though not special. Centraal Station is about 25 minutes away by train.

The Renaissance Amsterdam Hotel at Kattengat 1 is a most convenient lodging if you are arriving by train at Amsterdam Centraal and wish to walk directly to your hotel in less than 15 minutes.  About 90% of guests recommend the Renaissance, which offers a fitness center and efficient Concierge services.  For example, one may be able to buy a public transportation card from the Concierge at no extra charge.  The Renaissance Amsterdam Hotel is large, offering many styles of rooms, but the surrounding area is quite cozy; a 10-minute walk will take you to the Anne Frank House and the beautiful, quiet Jordaan neighborhood.  If you desire to be near the center of everything, but not in the midst of the action, the Renaissance is a perfect choice, especially if you enjoy quiet evening strolls along the lovely canals.

Across from the Leidseplein, a prime option for museum lovers is the Amsterdam Marriott Hotel, at Stadhouderskade 12.  If you want to be near the best dining choices and major museums, this is the place to stay!  An easy 10-minute walk from the Marriott will lead you to the Rijksmuseum, high-end shopping, Vondelpark and the Van Gogh Museum.  If you choose a rate with “M Club Lounge” access (or as a free amenity for Bonvoy Titanium- and Platinum-level members), you will definitely enjoy the Marriott even more.  The lobby itself and standard rooms are not the major attraction, but the friendly staff and “Location, Location, Location” will WOW you, especially if your primary goal is to take in the museums! Schiphol Airport is less than 14 km. (8.3 miles) from the hotel, with an estimated taxi fare of 80 euros. Over 90% of guests recommend this hotel, which may be reached by Trams # 2 & # 12 from Centraal Station.  We recommend you consider taking Bus # 397 to and from the Airport. At a cost of 10+ euros each way, this 40-minute bus ride will leave you outside the Marriott’s door.

The view on the residental area from the Hilton Hotel Amsterdam.
View from the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam

The Amsterdam Hilton is a pleasant surprise, and a favorite hotel of ours. We stayed in at least two dozen different Hilton properties in recent years and this hotel provided the classiest experience, with lovely renovated rooms, nice views, and a relaxing ambiance. Though farther from the Jordaan and tourist attractions, and a 20-minute walk from the museums, the Hilton is located in a more residential, leafy and authentic part of Amsterdam. Minutes away on foot one finds The Royal Concertgebouw (considered among the world’s finest concert halls) and, if you cross the canal on the way to the Museumplein, the Cornelis Schuytstraat will charm you with its amazing beauty and fine dining.  Also check out the Beethovenstraat to look for books, antiques or a cozy cafe. The Amsterdam Hilton is the hotel made famous in 1969 by the Lennon-Ono “Bed-In” for peace, an experimental non-violent protest against war mentioned in the Number 1 Hit “The Ballad of John and Yoko.” Hotel guests are entitled to use an excellent gym for free, and you should definitely take in the spectacular views from the Executive Lounge. Though the Hilton looks like a behemoth from the street, do not allow that to dissuade you; the interior proportions, classy bar and each room’s large glass windows will delight you. If you choose the superior buffet breakfast on the main level, take a table to the left of the bar for a better (quieter) experience. Tram # 24 to Gerrit van der Veenstraat from Centraal Station will leave you within a pleasant walk to the Hilton. 

Affordable alternatives

If the hotels mentioned above are outside your price range, do not be discouraged.  The Bilderberg Hotel Jan Luyken for example, at Jan Luijkenstraat 58, offers simple accommodations at reasonable prices on a lovely street a very short distance from the Museumplein.  Also, the family-run Hotel Asterisk, Den Texstraat 16, may be reached using Tram # 24 or Metro 52 from Centraal Station and is a pleasant 10- to 15-minute walk to the museums.  You may also consider hotels outside the major cities.


Canal in Delft.
A Canal in Delft

If you plan to spend one week (or more) in the Netherlands, why not explore the smaller cities?  We purchased train tickets from Amsterdam Centraal to Schiphol Airport for roughly 8 euros per person and then used the Airport as a base to explore other destinations.  A round-trip train fare from Schiphol to Delft, the birthplace of Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), costs around 25 euros.  The canals in Delft are just as charming as any Dutch city’s, and you will find the peacefulness a refreshing change from the overly-touristed parts of Amsterdam.  Explore the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church, completed in 1496) located in the Delft Markt (Market Square) and, if the famous (and expensive!) Blue Delft china inspired your visit here, head over to the Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles, open daily.  History buffs should undoubtedly go to the Museum Het Prinsenhof, a palace from the Middle Ages (near the Oude Kerk, founded in 1246), before enjoying a simple meal of fantastic Indonesian food at “Toko Idola” located on Brabantse Turfmarkt 32a (the Prinsenhof and restaurant are closed on Mondays).  Perhaps you will choose to skip the porcelain factory (that is what we always do) and take photos instead!  In addition to picturesque Delft, other small cities deserving your time include Breda and Den Bosch.  Each of these 3 cities has a population between 100,000 and 150,000 residents and offers a charming window into the Netherlands’ past and present.

The Hague

Mauritshuis & Kunstmuseum Den Haag

While Amsterdam can become chaotic with hordes of tourists and densely-populated quarters, The Hague exudes a special dignity and deserves a few days in your itinerary. The Kunstmuseum Den Haag is presenting an exhibition in 2024 highlighting the fascinating and diverse oeuvre of Max Backmann.


The retrospective entitled “Universe Max Beckmann” is on view in The Hague from January 27 — May 20, 2024. In addition, the Kunstmuseum’s impressive holdings of MONDRIAN and DE STIJL are always on view in The Hague’s most comprehensive art museum!


Before you say goodbye to the Netherlands, take time to visit the famous Mauritshuis with its amazing collection of paintings by Rembrandt, Hans Holbein the Younger, and Jacob van Ruisdael, in addition to Vermeer’s “View of Delft” and “The Girl with a Pearl Earring.”

Artur in "Guy with a Pearl Earring"
Artur as “The Guy with a Pearl Earring”

Collection Highlights from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam

Almond Blossom, 1890 by Vincent van Gogh
Avenue of Poplars in Autumn, 1884 by Van Gogh
Sunflowers, 1889 by Van Gogh
The Cottage, 1885 by Van Gogh
The Yellow House, 1888 by Van Gogh
Apples, 1887 by Van Gogh
Still Life with Profile of Mimi, 1889 by Meijer de Haan
Vincent van Gogh Painting Sunflowers, 1888 by Paul Gauguin
Tile Painters, 1883-84 by Anthon van Rappard
Self-Portrait with Portrait of Emile Bernard, 1888 by Paul Gauguin
Rocquencourt, 1871 by Camille Pissarro
House Among Trees, Pont-Aven, 1888 by Emile Bernard
Landscape at Saint-Tropez, 1893 by Maximilien Luce
The Jetty of Boulogne-sur-Mer, 1868 by Édouard Manet
Farm in Brittany, 1890 by Paul Serusier
Portrait of Felix Auerbach, 1906 by Edvard Munch
Montmartre in the Rain, 1897 by Pierre Bonnard

Please let us know about your experiences touring the Netherlands, and if you have favorite museums or hotels you wish to share with our readers. Please tell us which cities you most want to visit in the future in Europe and in the USA.

We look forward to your feedback. Thank you for visiting us at


  • Michael Grunko

    I last visited the Netherlands 25 years ago, so I have no current information. One place I visited then was the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo. This is a vast estate, now a public park with two museums. The art museum had the finest sculpture garden on the most spacious site I have ever enjoyed. The museum had a great collection of Van Goughs and they were displayed with much better lighting than the Van Gough Museum in Amsterdam. Back then, every painting in Amsterdam was covered in glass, and the lighting made it near impossible to see the master’s brush strokes.

  • Nicholas Por

    Steven was very helpful with all the suggestions and recommendations. These definitely made our trip to Barcelona and Portugal so much more memorable!!!
    Thank you!

  • Humberto Chavez

    The gentlemen supervising this Blog are amazing, and willing to help you. I wrote to Steven and told him I wanted to vacation in Spain and the Low Countries from October 20 to October 31. Steven found an airfare for me on the United Airlines website for 322.00 U.S. dollars. My flight departs non-stop from Newark (EWR) Airport outside Manhattan into Amsterdam (AMS) Schiphol Airport UAflight#70 on October 20 and returns non-stop from Madrid (MAD) Barajas to Newark UAflight#50 on October 31. This is exactly what I was hoping for — the perfect dates for me to travel before the weather turns cold — and this $322 airfare includes round-trip travel and all taxes. That is an AMAZING airfare, thank you Steven. The guys at also found a one-way airfare from the Low Countries directly into Madrid Barajas for less than euros 70. Thank you for all this free advice and assistance with my travel plans. I read this article on Amsterdam and booked a nice room at the Hilton Amsterdam hotel for less than euros 180, including breakfast and taxes, and purchased in advance a Rijksmuseum timed-ticket to see “Rembrandt-Velazquez.” I am so happy I am going to Europe at a price I can afford. Going to museums is my passion since I am a painter and sculptor by profession. Steven and Artur are trustworthy. They deserve your support in making this Blog a success. Best of luck to these fine gentleman. P.S. I love the photos in your articles.

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