If you are new to Amsterdam, or even if you have been here a few times, there is one activity that must be on your list of things to do: the Museum Quarter. This area has some of the most beautiful museums and galleries in all of Europe. It is also one of the most important art and culture centers in Europe. If you want to be part of Amsterdam and its culture, the museum quarter is your best bet.
The area is approximately a mile south of Central Station, wedged between the IJ riverside and Marnixstraat. This should be familiar territory for anyone who has ever visited this city before. When you get here, you should find it easy not to get lost because there are so many different attractions.
Walk down one of the main streets, such as Herengracht or Keizersgracht. Any street that has a canal on either side makes an ideal walking route. Walk down the length of the canal and admire the historic buildings and fancy shops, which line most of these canals. The shops here are some of the best and most varied in Europe. These cobblestone streets and squalor-free houses make for a unique Amsterdam experience you won’t find anywhere else.
Some of the main attractions that you should visit include:
- Rijksmuseum: This museum has a large collection of paintings and other pieces representing Dutch art and culture. Most of the works here date from the 17th century. Some of the most famous pieces here include The Night Watch by Rembrandt and Anatomy Lesson by Rembrandt.
- Van Gogh Museum: This is one of the most important museums in all of Amsterdam, as well as all of Europe. This is dedicated to Vincent Van Gogh, one of the most famous artists in the world. He had a profound effect on modern art.
- Anne Frank House: This is one of the most popular museums in Amsterdam and has been visited by millions of people over the years. It was here that Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who wrote a diary while hiding from Nazis during World War II, hid with her family for over two years before being captured.
- The Begijnhof: This is an ancient “courtyard” that is very close to many important Amsterdam attractions like The Red Light District and Flower Market. It is a quiet place where you can go to enjoy a few moments of peace and quiet.
- The Jewish Quarter: This quarter is home to the oldest synagogue in Amsterdam. Most of the buildings in this area date from the 17th century, and there are also many small museums, galleries, restaurants, and bars here.
- The Hermitage: This museum contains one of the world’s most important collections of Dutch art from past centuries, much like Rijksmuseum.
- Johannes Vermeer House: This was the home of one of the most important Dutch painters. The interiors are preserved much as they looked during his lifetime.
- The Anne Frank Museum’s Secret Annex: You can actually stand in a secret annex that was a hiding place for many Jews during World War II, at the Anne Frank museum.
- Jordaan: This area is known for its small streets and canals, and it is popular with both tourists and locals. There are many cozy cafes where you can go to enjoy a cup of coffee or traditional Dutch pastry.
- La Place: This is one of Amsterdam’s newest attractions, which has been added to the museum quarter recently. It is a high-tech mall with restaurants, bars, and cafes. There are several different stores here selling everything from clothing to jewelry.
- The Stedelijk Museum: This is one of the largest museums in Europe, and it has an extensive collection of modern art. It also has other collections including antique furniture, Dutch paintings, and sculptural works by the likes.
- Albert Cuyp Market: This is one of Amsterdam’s largest markets that sells all kinds of food products. It is also popular with tourists because it features many street performers, usually troupes from Germany or other parts of Europe.
- The Nes: This is one of the most picturesque canals in Amsterdam, and it is also one of the most famous because of the canal tours that run through it. You can get a great view of many different buildings and bridges from this canal.
- Anne Franksplein: This is a square named after Anne Frank, and it has a statue of her that is designed in such a way that you can have your picture taken with her. You will also find lots of things to do here, including eating at restaurants and going to bars.
- The Leidseplein: This is the “square” of Amsterdam, and it is very popular because it is one of the main areas to go out. There are many bars, restaurants, and clubs here.
- The Hotel Rembrandt: This is a very historic building that has housed many famous people over the years, including Rubens and Vermeer. It was here that Vermeer sold his paintings to one of his main patrons for a large sum of money.