Any trip to the Netherlands is incomplete without a visit to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. It houses the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings in the world.
On my visit to Amsterdam, I knew I had to see it with my own eyes. My friend, Destiney, and I booked tickets in advance to visit the museum on our first full day together in the city.
Here is my guide to plan and visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and my personal reflections from the experience!
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch artist, and one of the most famous painters in history. His world-famous The Starry Night has been displayed in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City since the 1941.
Like many, Van Gogh battled mental health issues throughout his life. The museum visit allows visitors to see how this inspired his work, and the truth of his life throughout the pain.
Before the inception of the Van Gogh Museum, Van Gogh’s work was spread throughout private and family collections. His sister-in-law, Jo, spearheaded the effort to found a museum to house these works.
Without her influence and desire to do so, it is believed Van Gogh may not have reached the level of notoriety he did post-mortem.
How to Plan Your Visit to the Museum
Because I didn’t want to chance missing out on the museum, I booked Destiney and I’s tickets online in advance using the museum’s website.
Tickets cost 19 euros, so this museum isn’t cheap. However, I don’t regret going and I don’t regret paying this price. Audio guides cost 5 euros. I chose not to get one, and do not feel that I lost out by not doing so.
If you book online in advance like we did, then you will choose a time slot of 15 minutes to enter. When you arrive to the museum, you will see the line and there will be friendly museum employees there to check your tickets before entry.
The Van Gogh Museum is located in Museumplein, in the southwestern part of Amsterdam. As its name implies, this area houses several other museums as well: Moco Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Diamant Museum, and Rijksmuseum.
There are public transit stops nearby (Museumplein and Rijksmuseum), so you can reach the Van Gogh Museum through trolley car, bike, or you can walk like we did!
What to Expect During Your Visit
The architecture of the Van Gogh Museum is stunning. The building alone will capture your attention from the get-go.
The museum begins with a beautiful shop if you’re interested in purchasing a souvenir. In the welcome area, be sure to pick up a free map!
Once you’re past the welcome area and shop, the museum will take you through Van Gogh’s life and art. As you go through the timeline, you will ultimately reach the third floor.
One important rule to know is that there is absolutely no photography allowed inside the museum, except for in designated areas. There is an adorable sunflower wall if you want to take a photo in front of it!
Although this rule is strictly enforced, I noticed several people take photos of Van Gogh’s more famous works. Please don’t! This can damage the art. Besides, a museum employee will see you and will call you out for it.
I recommend a visit to this museum, because it will teach you a lot about Van Gogh that isn’t necessarily widely-known information. For example, I never knew that his sister-in-law is largely responsible for his current notoriety!
I enjoyed seeing his lesser-known works of landscapes, which you can find on the second floor of the Van Gogh museum.
Having personally struggled with mental health, I found Van Gogh’s story moving, albeit sad. I appreciated that the museum followed a timeline of his life, and his struggles along with his art.
I did find the museum to be quite crowded, so anticipate that. People will be everywhere, and some may not be respectful of other visitors. I didn’t let this ruin my time there, but it was noticeable!
All in all, I greatly enjoyed my hours at the Van Gogh Museum during my trip to Amsterdam, and I would go again someday!
. . .
Just to recap:
- You should visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam!
- Book online in advance for 19 euros.
- No photos allowed!
What would you most like to see at the Van Gogh Museum?
I hope this guide will help you as you plan, and enjoy your time in Amsterdam!
*Cover photo by Rasmus Kuber. Thanks, Rasmus!
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