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.
Why should I buy skip-the-line Van Gogh Museum tickets?
Opening Hours; Busiest Days and Times
How to get to the Van Gogh Museum
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 have ended 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 (right next door)
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.|
|April 29 – June 20, 2019||9 AM to 6 PM, Fridays 9 AM to 9 PM|
|June 21 – September 1, 2019||9 AM to 7 PM, Fridays and Saturdays 9 AM to 9 PM|
|September 2 – October 27, 2019||9 AM to 6 PM, Fridays 9 AM to 9 PM|
|October 28 – December 22, 2019||9 AM to 5 PM, Fridays 9 AM to 9 PM|
|December 23 – December 31, 2019*||9 AM to 7 PM, Fridays and Saturdays 9 AM to 9 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
View Van Gogh Museum in a larger map
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Exhibition Van Gogh and the Sunflowers
June 21, 2019 — September 1, 2019
Access to this temporary exhibition is included with your ticket. [No tickets are sold at the door!]
‘Sunflowers’ is one of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings. The Van Gogh Museum’s special summer exhibition takes an in-depth look at the painting. What significance did sunflowers hold for Van Gogh? Why did he paint five versions of this particular work?
Also: earlier this year extensive research led the museum’s experts to the conclusion that the ‘Sunflowers’ painting — created in 1889, 130 years ago — is stable but fragile. For this reason the painting will no longer travel.
This special exhibition answers such questions as to how the colors of the painting have changed over the years, and what is being done to preserve the painting for future generations.
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
P.O. Box 75366
1070 AJ Amsterdam
T +31 (0)20 570 5200
F +31 (0)20 570 5222
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.
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.
In The News
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:
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.
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.
- The collection includes some 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and more than 700 of Van Gogh’s letters. ↩
- Tourist guide books from before September 2015 list the old address, at Paulus Potterstraat 7. ↩
- 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. ↩
- 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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