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Wander around Amsterdam’s best art galleries

23 April 2015

Heading off of Amsterdam soon? If you're taking a train holiday to Holland, it's most definitely worth spending an afternoon discovering the Dutch capital's artistic heritage. Browse a variety of art galleries throughout the city and contemplate paintings by the canonical Dutch masters, as well as by fresh contemporary artists.    


For your first art fix in Amsterdam, head over to Rijksmuseum, an ornate, glass roofed building overlooking the canal. Receiving over 2.5 million visitors last year made the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam's most visited museum. This doesn't come as a surprise if you consider that the museum is home to over 8,000 objects that tell the story of Dutch art and history for 800 years. Head to the museum to see works by Frans Hals and Jan Havicksz. Steen, as well as masterpieces such as The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer or The Night Watch by Rembrandt. 

Van Gogh Museum

No art lover can leave Amsterdam without dropping into the Van Gogh Museum. Whether you stay an afternoon or an hour, you will find yourself totally immersed in the life and work of the Netherlands' most well-known painter. Did you know that after working as a teacher, bookseller and preacher, it wasn't until Van Gogh was twenty-seven years old that he decided to pursue becoming an artist? This museum wonderfully highlights the key moments of Van Gogh's life and how they shaped his work. See how Van Gogh's art develops over time and gaze at some of his most renowned works such as The Potato Eaters (1885) and The Bedroom (1888). You can also head to the gallery on a Friday evening for live music, talks and workshops.

Stedelijk Museum

If recent art is more to your taste, you mustn't miss the Stedelijk Museum. In fact, the museum is worth visiting just for the building itself. Recently designed by Dutch architect Mels Crouwel, the new wing of the museum, affectionately known as "the bathtub", is a sleek, unmissable addition to the original building. This varied collection boasts works by a range of modern and contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Marlene Dumas. The museum also offers free guided tours as well as a range of lectures and screenings for the public. 

FOAM Photography Museum

Are you a photography fiend? If so, head to FOAM photography museum, located in three buildings that were recently merged and redesigned to house the gallery. This gallery curates four large exhibitions annually. These tend to be focused on well-known, international photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Diane Arbus. More unusually, you can also enjoy smaller exhibitions from less famous artists. If you're heading to FOAM at the end of the week, why not stay late? The gallery stays open until 9pm on Thursdays and Fridays. Take the opportunity to end the week with a hearty meal and guided tour of the exhibition.


If you've officially found yourself caught up in Amsterdam's art scene, it's also worth taking the time to walk over to one of the city's smaller galleries. Kochxbos can be found in the converted living room of a narrow street in a quaint northern neighbourhood. Just a 15 minute walk from the central station, this gallery is easy to visit if you're travelling on your holidays by train in Europe. This avant-garde gallery was launched in 2005 and focuses on exhibiting underground, contemporary pop-art. It hosts a range of works by photographers, illustrators and has also boasted exhibitions by bigger names such as Ray Caesar and Sarah Maple.  If you're looking to discover a gallery a little off the beaten track, this is definitely one worth going to.

If you're planning a train holiday to Europe soon, you should certainly consider heading to Amsterdam. Visiting Amsterdam on your holidays by train will give you a great opportunity to see Holland, and to discover the realms of art within the capital's centre.