AMSTERDAM — Museum Quarter

The Museum Quarter is found south of Leidseplein. It is home to the three most important museums in Amsterdam — the Rijksmuseum; the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art and the Van Gogh Museum. This is arguably the cultural centre of the city with lots of attractions and things to do. As well as the museums there are concert halls and some exclusive shopping streets offering couture clothing and diamonds.

The sights found here are:
Rijksmuseum
Coster Diamonds
Diamant Museum
Vincent Van Gogh Museum
Stedelijk Museum
Museumplein
Concertgebouw
Vondelpark
Nederlands Filmmuseum

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum
This is the State Museum and it first opened in 1800 as the National Art Gallery. In 1885 it moved to its present location which is a grand Dutch neo-Renaissance building with neo-Gothic decoration. It specialises in art, craft and history and arguably its most famous painting is The Night Watch by Rembrandt. As well as this famous painting there are others equally as prestigious such as several paintings by Vermeer, van Dyck and Jan Steen. The museum also has some wonderful Asian art and a large collection of prints, drawings and classic photography. As well as the permanent collection there are also temporary exhibits and for more information about what is showing when you intend to visit look on the website.
For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.rijksmuseum.nl

Traveller's Tip

Be aware that you cannot take photos inside the museum and you will be subject to a bag search.
  • To save queuing in lines that can be extremely long especially in the summer months book your tickets online on the museum website.
  • The museum is being renovated until 2013 and there is only one wing open but there is still a lot to see.

    Coster Diamonds
    This is one of the oldest diamond factories in Amsterdam and is found next to the Rijksmuseum. You can take a free guided tour through the factory to see craftsmen at work showing the process of cutting and polishing a diamond in detail. After the tour you will have the opportunity to visit the showroom and buy some diamond jewellery if you want. It is open daily from 9am until 5pm.
    For information about Coster Diamonds visit the website at: http://www.costerdiamonds.com

    Diamant Museum
    The Diamond Museum is found between the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum at Paulus Potterstraat and is next door to Coster Diamonds. It was created by Coster Diamonds to show how diamonds are created and the history of how valued these precious gems are. You start your visit to the museum with a short film to give you a basic overall knowledge of diamonds. There are plenty of replicas in the museum of famous jewels as well as multimedia presentations.
    For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.diamantmuseumamsterdam.nl

    Vincent Van Gogh Museum
    This museum is found between the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum and the entrance is on Paulus Potterstraat. The museum contains the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world featuring more than 200 paintings as well as over 400 drawings and around 31 prints. Van Gogh’s works are organised into five periods in chronological order. Each period represents a different phase of his life and work and these are: The Netherlands; Paris; Arles, Saint-Remy and Auvers-sur-Oise. As well as Van Gogh there is an impressive collection of paintings by other 19th century artists including Monet, Gaugin, Seurat, Pissaro amongst many others.
    For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/vgm/index.jsp

    Traveller's Tip

    Be aware that you cannot take photos inside the museum and you will be subject to a bag search.
  • To save queuing in lines that can be extremely long especially in the summer months book your tickets online on the museum website.

    Stedelijk Museum
    This museum has the reputation of being one of the most innovative and interesting museums in the world and ever since it opened its doors in 1895 it has been the source of controversy for its choice of works to be displayed. It is was built to house the collection left to the city by Sophia Augusta Lopez Suasso de Bruyn. The Stedelijk Museum has one of the richest modern art collections in the world covering all the modern painting movements such as Impressionists, Fauvism, Cubism and Expressionism. It also has a wonderful Dutch photography collection and a good collection of design and furniture. It is presently undergoing a renovation and is open to the public as The Temporary Stedelijk with a programme of art, education programs and special events. Check the website for details.
    For information about the museum visit the website at: http://www.stedelijk.nl/en

    Museumplein

    Museumplein
    This is the square that is surrounded by the three most important museums in Amsterdam: The Stedelijk Museum, The Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. The square which was recontructed in 1999 continues to be a meeting and gathering place for both locals and visitors. It includes an underground car park and supermarket and the pond can be turned into an iceskating rink in the winter.

    Concertgebouw
    The Concertgebouw is home to The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, The Dutch Philharmonic Orchestra and The Dutch Chamber Orchestra. It is a large concert hall and is famous for its magnificent acoustics and is considered one of the best venues in the world. Throughout the year there are a series of classical music concerts as well as other types of music including exotic music from other countries. Special events are held here as well.
    For information about the Concertgebouw visit the website at: http://www.concertgebouw.nl (in Dutch only)

    Traveller's Tip

    Every Wednesday afternoon from September to June there is free entry to the lunchtime concert which starts at 12.30pm.
    Vondelpark

    Vondelpark
    This is the largest city park in Amsterdam and is popular with both locals and visitors. The park was open to the public in 1865 and known as Nieuwe Park. In 1867 it was renamed Vondelpark to celebrate the life and works of the Dutch writer Jon van Vondel. By 1877 it had expanded to its present size of 45 hectares. Facilities found in the park include cafes, a rose garden, a city hostel, the Film Museum and an open-air theatre.It is a great place to take children with its play areas and playground as well as children’s shows which are staged on Wednesday afternoons between June and September.

    Traveller's Tip

    Theatre and music is played during the summer months at the open-air theatre five days a week, near the entrance from Eeghenstraat. The entry is free.

    Nederlands Filmmuseum
    This museum is now part of the EYE Film Institute Netherlands which is a merger of the Netherlands Filmmuseum, the Dutch Institute for Film Education, De Filmbank and Holland Film. The museum is found in Vondelpark and it shows the history of film from its beginnings to the present day. The museum houses a huge film collection as well as photographs, posters, newspaper and magazine articles and film archives. The facilites at the museum include a shop, an information centre and lots of educational programmes. The EYE Film Institute Netherlands is currently building new premises and will move to its new home on the north bank of the river IJ, across the water from Amsterdam Central Station later this year. To find out more information about this move look at the website.
    For information about the Filmmuseum visit the website at: http://www.eyefilm.nl/en