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Van Gogh Museum – Amsterdam’s second most visited museum

Amsterdam Must-See: Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam contains the largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) in the world.1

Currently this is the second most visited museum in Amsterdam — and the entire Netherlands!

In the Spring of 2018, the Van Gogh Museum switched to online, timed-entry tickets only. That’s right, no more l-o-n-g lines at the ticket office. You can only get in with tickets bought online.

As a result, the number of visitors is better spread out throughout the day. According to director Axel Rüger, visitors have given the museum an even higher rating than before.

The museum also features a collection — as well as special exhibitions — of other 19th-century art, including works by Van Gogh’s friends and contemporaries. This way you see his life and work in context — a helpful and memorable way to enjoy his art.

This must-see museum is well laid out, and it is a joy to visit. (We know, since we come here on a regular basis.)

Van Gogh Museum Tickets (No Tickets At The Door)

Last year this was the most-visited museum in Amsterdam, but in 2018 the nearby Rijksmuseum took over first place. Year after year both museums tend to trade places for first and second spot.

Until the Spring of 2018 you could end up standing in line for the ticket office for 1-2+ hours, even in what used to be the low season.

Now life is easier. You buy your tickets for the Van Gogh Museum online. These are timed-entry tickets, meaning that you pick the date and starting time of your visit.

Note: Tickets are available four months in advance.

Many people prefer to combine their visit to the museum with a boat trip through the canals.

Even more popular is this fantastic combination:

Guided tour of the Rijksmuseum
Light lunch at the Rijksmuseum
Guided tour of the Van Gogh Museum
1 hour canal cruise
Free entrance to the Diamond Museum.

Van Gogh Museum: Opening Hours, Busiest Days, and Busiest Times

Before the museum switched to online, timed-entry tickets only, these were the busiest days and times:

  • Busiest days: Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Busiest times: Every day between 11 am and 3 pm.
  • Best day to visit (i.e. least busy): Friday, especially in the afternoon and certainly in the evening. But…
    it is still very busy.

The new ticket system ensures that you will have a perfect experience regardless of the day and time you visit.

Dates Opening Hours Van Gogh Museum
Normally (exceptions below): Open daily from 9 am to 7 pm. On Fridays and Saturdays until 9 pm.
May 6 – September 2, 2018 9 am to 7 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 9 am to 9 pm (23 June until 6 pm), Vincent on Friday until 10 pm
September 3 – November 4, 2018 9 am to 6 pm, Fridays 9 am to 9 pm, Vincent on Friday until 10 pm
November 5 – December 23, 2018 9 am to 5 pm, Fridays 9 am to 9 pm, Vincent on Friday until 10 pm
5 November – 23 December 2018 9 am to 5 pm, Fridays 9 am to 9 pm, Vincent on Friday until 10 pm
December 24, 2018 – January 6, 2019* 9 am to 7 pm, Fridays 9 am to 9 pm, Vincent on Friday until 10 pm. *With the exception of public holidays
Public Holidays Christmas (25 December) and New Year’s Eve (31 December) 9 am – 5 pm. New Year’s Day (1 January ) 11 am – 7 pm

How long does a visit to the Van Gogh Museum take?

On average a visit to the Van Gogh Museum lasts approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

However, many people spend approximately two hours at the museum.

Keep in mind that the museum includes an extensive shop, as well as the pleasant Café Le Tambourin.

How to get to the Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum is on Museumplein in Amsterdam, between the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum.

The museum entrance is at Museumplein 6.2

The yellow marker represents the Van Gogh Museum (blue: Rijksmuseum; green: Stedelijk Museum; purple: Concertgebouw)


View Van Gogh Museum in a larger map

Public Transport

Note: Starting July 22, 2018, Amsterdam’s public transport system will significantly change. The introduction of a new metro line will see many tram and bus routes change as well.

Trams 2, 3, 5 and 12, 16 and 24 have stops near the museum, as do buses 145, 170 and 172.

An an indication: By tram (5) or bus (170 or 172) from Central Station to the stop near the museum the trip takes about 20 minutes.

Note: The trams are operated by GVB; the buses are not. This means that holders of the I amsterdam City Card can travel here free of charge by tram, but not by bus. (This pass also provides free entrance to the museum.)3

Taxi

If you prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle of public transport, take ViaVan taxi or Uber instead.

Accessibility

The Van Gogh Museum offers excellent accessibility for visitors using a wheelchair or walking aid.

The museum has parking space as well as a drop off/pick up area.

There is a priority entrance, bypassing the queues. A companion will not have to purchase a ticket.4

Properly harnessed guide dogs are welcome.

Large print guides to the exhibit are available.

Children

Children from the age of 6 will thoroughly enjoy the experience.

Once inside, pick up a family guide at the multimedia desk.

Available in Dutch and English, it is tailored to children between 6 and 12 years of age.

Children can also participate in a treasure hunt. Pick up a Treasure Hunt Sheet at the Information Desk. Children who return the sheet will receive a small gift.

Want to prepare your children for what they are about to see? Give them Color Your Own Van Gogh: [Amazon UK] [Amazon USA]

Nearby Hotels

Amsterdam is a small and compact city with an excellent, finely-mazed public transport system. That means you don’t necessarily have to find a hotel close to the museum.

That said, Museumplein is also home to the Rijksmuseum and the Stedelijk Museum — and the world-famous Concertgebouw is stone’s throw away. It is close to Vondelpark and to Amsterdam’s city center.

Hotels close to the Van Gogh Museum

Number of Visitors

The Van Gogh museum is one of Amsterdam’s most popular tourist attractions. In 2018 it welcomed 2.16 million visitors — slightly down from 2.17 million art lovers who visited last year.

That means the Van Gogh Museum is now ranked as the second most-visited museum in the Netherlands.

Notably, nearly 90% of visitors rate their visit as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent.’ Small wonder that a study revealed Europeans rate the museum the most admired art gallery in Europe.

Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum tickets

The Collection

The collection is displayed thematically rather than chronologically: for instance, Van Gogh’s rural scenes, the artists among his friends such as Paul Gauguin, Émile Bernard and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, his painting techniques, and his mental decline.

This allows visitors to see what inspired the painter, and which artists in turn were inspired by him.

The museum, designed by architect Gerrit Rietveld and opened in 1973. In 1999 an exhibition wing by the Japanese modernist architect Kisho Kurokawa was added, the design and placement of which many Amsterdammers didn’t like. The abstract design means that a tall, half moon wall of ‘concrete’ is facing the grass of museumplein.

As for us, we think Van Gogh himself would not have been amused, to say the least. Your mileage may differ, as they say.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AtPHfd6HqE

Temporary Van Gogh Exhibitions

Aside from the permanent collection, the museum also has special exhibitions focusing on various aspects of Van Gogh’s life and work.

Often these exhibitions feature works by his contemporaries — showing, for instance, how the painter was influenced by people, places and events.

The current shows are good examples:

Hockney Van Gogh exhibition

David Hockney and Vincent van Gogh: Two Painters, One Love

Exhibition Hockney — Van Gogh
March 1, 2019 — May 26, 2019
Access to this temporary exhibition is included with your ticket.

The Van Gogh Museum says,

The world-famous art of David Hockney (1937) is colourful and colossal. Hockney is inspired by nature, he makes use of bright colours and experiments with perspective. Van Gogh also dealt with this. The resemblances between the two artists are no coincidence. Vincent van Gogh was a great source of inspiration for David Hockney. Discover more parallels in the exhibition Hockney – Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature. […]

In the exhibition Van Gogh’s masterpieces will be shown alongside works by Hockney.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyiByo5yMR8
Video: David Hockney – Vincent Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature

Exhibition: Experiments of Camille Pissarro

Exhibition Unique Impressions: the Experiments of Camille Pissarro
March 1, 2019 — May 26, 2019
Access to this temporary exhibition is included with your ticket.

Pissarro experimented with different materials and techniques in his prints. Vincent van Gogh was a great admirer of his work. A selection of Pissarro’s best prints will be on display at the Van Gogh Museum.

Last February the Van Gogh Museum announced that is had acquired a total of 91 prints by Camille Pissarro (1830-1903). “The sizeable collection reveals the extent of Pissarro’s experimental approach and contains innumerable unique pieces, including a sought-after self-portrait by the artist.”

Hence this special exhibition.

Note: Such temporary shows provide much insight into Van Gogh and the time and environment in which he lived.

This is one reason why we, the publishers of DutchAmsterdam visit the museum two or three times a year — more whenever we have the opportunity.

Many tourists likewise enjoy visiting more than once.

Virtual Van Gogh Museum

If you can’t visit the museum in person but would like to see its collection anyway, visit Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum via Google’s Art Project.

You’ll be able to ‘walk’ through the museum, zoom in on art objects, and get extra information about them.

Additional Practical Information

Postal address

P.O. Box 75366
1070 AJ Amsterdam
T +31 (0)20 570 5200
F +31 (0)20 570 5222
info@vangoghmuseum.nl

Luggage / Cloakroam

Jackets and handbags are allowed in the museum, but rucksacks, umbrellas and larger backpacks must be placed in the cloakroom.

Note: They’re not referring to luggage-sized bags and packs.

There are no lockers at the museum, so do not bring your luggage! Leave it in your hotel, or at the luggage storage facility inside Amsterdam Central Station.

Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the museum, but please limit the use of your mobile phone.

Photos / Videos

You cannot take photos and/or record videos within the museum, except in designated areas such as the ‘selfie wall.’

That said, journalists, bloggers and vloggers who wish to film or take photographs may request a press visit.

Avoid the lines: Buy your ticket ahead of time. No need to print your ticket either. You can simply show the voucher on your mobile phone.

Website

Van Gogh Museum

Social Media

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Twitter
YouTube
Flickr
Facebook

In The News

January, 2019: Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ are staying home

Home being the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The museum constantly monitors the condition of its paintings, prints, and other works of art in its collection.

The most recent examination of Vincent van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers produced a great deal of new information regarding the condition of the painting and the materials that Van Gogh used.

One of the conclusions is that the 130 year old painting is stable, but fragile. “This is why we have decided that Sunflowers will no longer travel away from the museum. From now on, this highlight of our collection will stay at home in Amsterdam, available for all of our visitors to see every day of the year”, says Axel Rüger, Director of the Van Gogh Museum.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZJk9DaEuaE
Nienke Bakker, Curator Paintings at the Van Gogh Museum, explains why from now on Vincent’s famous Sunflowers will no longer travel.

How do the Dutch pronounce Vincent van Gogh

The Dutch language isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. No problem. Most of us speak English. But if you want to impress us by trying to pronounce Van Gogh’s name in Dutch, have a try:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlwO0xvm3fw

We have seen and heard Vincent van Gogh’s name misspelled as Van Goff, Van Goth, and Van Koch.

On a Personal Note

I first visited the Van Gogh Museum in 1977, and I remember it like it was yesterday.
Anton
At the time I worked at a youth hostel in the center of Amsterdam, and I wondered why so many of our hippie guests — on their way to or from India — seemingly felt ‘compelled’ to see the museum.

That visit ignited my interest in impressionist and post-impressionist paintings — which turned into a lifelong love affair, so to speak.

To this day my wife and I both visit the museum on a regular basis — to marvel again and again at Van Gogh’s wonderful paintings, to ponder his life story, and to learn more about his place among the artists of his time.

It never gets boring — for the same reason you can enjoy your favorite songs, music, poems and movies over and over.

At DutchAmsterdam we have heard similar comments from many tourists who have visited both the city and the museum multiple times.

They return not just for the special, temporary exhibitions, but also to reacquaint themselves — face to face — with their favorite paintings.

By the way, if you happen to see me there, say “Hi!” I’ll buy you a coffee or a beer.

Van Gogh museum info

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Notes:

  1. The collection includes some 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and more than 700 of Van Gogh’s letters.
  2. Tourist guide books from before September 2015 list the old address, at Paulus Potterstraat 7.
  3. Unfortunately the I amsterdam City Card pass does not entitle you to skip the line. You will receive your ticket upon presenting the pass at the cash desk.
  4. Note: the companion’s ticket is not available online. Please contact one of the hosts outside the museum once you’ve arrived. The host will take care of the rest.
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This post was last updated: Mar. 12, 2019