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Van Gogh Museum — Amsterdam Must-See

Amsterdam’s second most visited museum: Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum gallery

A gallery in the Van Gogh Museum. Credit: Jan Kees Steenman / Van Gogh Museum

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

The museum also features a collection of other 19th-century art. This collection, in addition to special temporary exhibitions, include 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 Van Gogh’s art.

Currently this is the second most visited museum in Amsterdam — and in the entire Netherlands! (The nearby Rijksmuseum is in first place. Year after year both museums tend to trade places for first and second spot.)

Van Gogh Museum Tickets (No Tickets At The Door)

To visit the Van Gogh Museum you must pre-order timed-entry tickets.

By having visitors pick their visiting date and starting time the museums managed to get rid of the l-o-n-g lines that used to form in front of the ticket windows.1

Note:

  • Tickets are available four months in advance.
  • Note: Tickets are available four months in advance.
  • The museum accepts printed and mobile vouchers. You can enter the museum up to 30 minutes after your reserved starting time.

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.

DatesOpening 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, 20199 AM to 6 PM, Fridays 9 AM to 9 PM
June 21 – September 1, 20199 AM to 7 PM, Fridays and Saturdays 9 AM to 9 PM
September 2 – October 27, 20199 AM to 6 PM, Fridays 9 AM to 9 PM
October 28 – December 22, 20199 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 HolidaysChristmas (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?

You can comfortably explore the museum’s permanent collection in approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

However, many people spend two to three hours here, usually because they also take in the additional exhibitions (included in your ticket).

The Van Gogh museum also 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. (Tourist guide books published before September 2015 — and many ‘tourist information’ websites — list the old address, at Paulus Potterstraat 7.)

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

Trams 2, 3, 5 and 12, 16 and 24 have stops near the museum. So does the Amsterdam Airport Express (Bus 397) that shuttles between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and the city.

The nearest stops are Van Baerlestraat (tram 2, 5 or 12) or Museumplein (tram: 3, 5 or 12, bus: 347 or 357).

From Amsterdam Central Station

  • Tram 2 or 12
  • Tram 11: change at Leidseplein to tram 2, 5 or 12
  • Metro 52 (Noord/Zuid route) until De Pijp station, change to tram 3 (direction Zoutkeetsgracht) or tram 12 (direction Central station)

From Zuid WTC Station

  • Tram 5 (direction Westergasfabriek)

From Amsterdam Amstel Station

  • Tram 12

From Amsterdam Sloterdijk Station

  • Tram 19, change at Leidseplein to tram 2, 5 or 12

From Muiderpoort Station

  • Tram 3 (direction Zoutkeetsgracht)

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.)2

Taxi

If you prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle of public transport, and you’ve heard nightmare stories about taxis in Amsterdam do what we do: use 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.3

Properly harnessed guide dogs are welcome.

Large print guides to the exhibit are available.

Will children enjoy a visit to the Van Gogh Museum?

Children from the age of 6 will thoroughly enjoy the experience. (Oh, and you’ll love this: children ages 0 through 17 get free entrance).

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]

Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum tickets

The Van Gogh Museum’s Collection

The museum owns the largest collection of paintings by Van Gogh in the world. This includes some 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and more than 700 of Van Gogh’s letters.

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, Van Gogh’s models, 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 galleries are laid out well, making the museum a joy to visit. (We know, since we come here on a regular basis.)

The building was 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 Jean-François Millet: Sowing the Seeds of Modern Art

Jean-François Millet banner

Jean-François Millet inspired Vincent van Gogh and many other painters

October 4, 2019 — January 12, 2020
Access to this temporary exhibition is included with your ticket. [No tickets are sold at the door!]

What do artists such as Van Gogh, Monet, Munch and Dalí have in common? They were all inspired by the French artist Jean-François Millet. Discover Millet’s oeuvre and the work of the many artists whom he inspired in the Van Gogh Museum’s autumn exhibition.

Millet’s paintings were progressive for his time. “With his radical painting technique, modern style and inspirational portrayal of peasant life, Millet undoubtedly sowed the seeds of modern art.”

This special exhibition explores how Millet inspired not just Vincent van Gogh, but also Camille Pissarro, Georges Seurat, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, Kazimir Malevich, Salvador Dalí, and others.

Vincent van Gogh quote about Jean-François Millet

“To me is Millet that essential modern painter who opened up the horizon to others” – Vincent van Gogh

Note: These 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.

Will you get to see Van Gogh’s Sunflowers?

Van Gogh painted lots of sunflowers (and other flowers as well), including five versions of his best-known sunflowers painting.

One of these versions is in the collection of the Van Gogh Museum. The other versions are at the National Gallery in London, Neue Pinakothek in Munich, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art in Tokyo.

Van Gogh’s paintings of Sunflowers are among his most famous. He did them in Arles, in the south of France, in 1888 and 1889. Vincent painted a total of five large canvases with sunflowers in a vase, with three shades of yellow ‘and nothing else’. In this way, he demonstrated that it was possible to create an image with numerous variations of a single colour, without any loss of eloquence.

The sunflower paintings had a special significance for Van Gogh: they communicated ‘gratitude’, he wrote. He hung the first two in the room of his friend, the painter Paul Gauguin, who came to live with him for a while in the Yellow House. Gauguin was impressed by the sunflowers, which he thought were ‘completely Vincent’. Van Gogh had already painted a new version during his friend’s stay and Gauguin later asked for one as a gift, which Vincent was reluctant to give him. He later produced two loose copies, however, one of which is now in the Van Gogh Museum.
– Source: Van Gogh Museum

In 2019 extensive research led the museum’s experts to the conclusion that the 130-year old ‘Sunflowers’ painting, created in 1889, is stable but fragile. For this reason the painting will no longer travel.

Video: Van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting: stable, but fragile

Museum Director

Emilie Gordenker is the Director of the Van Gogh Museum. The Dutch-American art historian will succeed German Alex Rüger on February 1, 2020. Rüger had been in charge for 13 years. He left in the summer of 2019 after he was appointed as the new head of the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

Rüger oversaw major renovations and a full redisplay of the collection. During his tenure, visitor numbers grew from 1.4 million to about 2.2 million a year. In 2018, the Van Gogh Museum was Amsterdam’s second most visited museum.

Gordenker is the first female director of the museum. Her task is “to continue the successful course of the museum” but also “to broaden the programming and the public.”

Hotels near the Van Gogh

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 (Do a guess before looking)

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.

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

Website
Van Gogh Museum

Luggage / Cloakroom

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.

The museum’s Website

Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh’s social media

Google+
Twitter
YouTube
Flickr
Facebook

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:

Video: How to pronounce ‘Vincent van Gogh’

We have seen and heard Vincent van Gogh’s name misspelled as Van Goff, Van Goth, Vangogh, 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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arrow 3 ways to save money on museum visits

Notes:

  1. 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. As a result of switching to online ticket sales the number of visitors is now better spread out throughout the day. That’s why, according to director Axel Rüger, visitors now give the museum an even higher rating than before.
  2. Holders of the I amsterdam City Card get free entrance to the museum, but they must still reserve a timed-entry ticket.
  3. 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: Nov. 17, 2019