10 Tips for exploring the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

I have to admit that visiting a museum is not my most favorite thing to do on a holiday. There’s something about moving slowly, watching art, piece to piece, while bumping into the person ahead of you. However, since the Netherlands is famous for its windmills, cheese, tulips, and art, a visit to the Van Gogh Museum can’t be skipped during your trip in the Netherlands. Especially not if you are Dutch!

Vincent van Gogh is now cited as one of the most famous and influential figures in Western Art. Even if you are no art lover, a visit to the Van Gogh Museum is pretty nice to plan within your Netherlands itinerary. Unfortunately, being so popular, the museum can oftentimes be packed with massive crowds. The ten tips below will help you explore the Van Gogh Museum in a more relaxed way, so that you can skip the annoying bits and explore his life and work like a pro!

The Vincent van Gogh museum

Vincent van Gogh is a Dutch post-impressionist painter who is now cited as one of the most famous and influential figures in Western art. The Vincent van Gogh museum is one of the most popular attractions in the Netherlands and houses the largest collection of Van Gogh’s work in the world. The museum shows all his masterpieces, the techniques he used, the story of his life, and pieces of other painters who either worked in the same time period or from the same region. The museum is set up very well.

Let’s get into helpful tips for visiting the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam to make your visit more relaxed!

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Photo of Rasmus Kuber via Unsplash

Book your tickets online

There are two separate lines for the museum: a ticket line and a line to get in. The ticket line usually is really long. Don’t just turn up to the museum, but buy a ticket online beforehand. It will save you a lot of time! While buying the tickets, you choose a time-slot and you need to arrive within 30 minutes. When the timeslot has expired, you can no longer enter the museum. Don’t show up before your time-slot start, because then you will be sent back home. Tickets are available four months in advance. So, make sure you visit the Van Gogh Museum’s website here to book your tickets to make your visit far smoother and more enjoyable.

Consider the museumkaart

You can buy a 31-day card for € 59 that allows free entry into many Amsterdam museums, including the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House. If you are planning to visit more museums during your visit, this museumkaart can become very handy and helps you saving money. With a Museumkaart, you can skip the line at Van Gogh, too.

Avoid the peak days and hours

No matter what you do or when you go, your visit to the Van Gogh Museum is going to be busy. However, visiting the Van Gogh museum from 9 am to 11 am or after 3 pm can help you to avoid the busiest times. Also avoid, when possible, a visit in the weekend. If you can only visit on a weekend then at least make sure you book your tickets online beforehand.

Plan 1.5-2.5 hours for your visit

It takes about an hour to two hours, to see all the great work of Vincent van Gogh. There is a cafe in the museum to eat and drink if you want to hang out here longer.

Start from the ground floor and work your way up

The museum is set up very well. The main floor (0) contains a timeline of van Gogh’s life, floor 1 shows the beginning years of van Gogh as an artist, floor 2 contains information on van Gogh’s personal life regarding family, and floor 3 is the best. On this floor you can find the asylum years leading up to van Gogh’s suicide at age 37 and the stereotypical van Gogh style you are accustomed to. The Van Gogh museum provides maps, or you can download them online.

Be patient

The entrance can be a timely process, but you also need a lot of patience when you are in the museum. Be prepared to line up, to see all the interesting information displayed about Van Gogh’s life and work. It is likely that you often need to wait for other visitors to move out of the way to have your turn.

Do not take photos

You need to pay attention while being in the museum, as you cannot take photos everywhere (or you will get in trouble with security).

Do some research beforehand

If there is one particular painting by Van Gogh that you want to see during your visit, you might want to double check if that painting is actually there first. I was excited to see the original of ‘Sunflowers’, and was disappointed when I found out that the painting was not displayed due to some reconstruction work.

Bearded man portrait and lamp
Photo of Руслан Гамзалиев via Unsplash

Do not bring big bags

There are no lockers available at the museum. You are not allowed to enter the museum with your big suitcase. There is a free coat check and a mandatory backpack and umbrella check-in policy. Jackets and purses can be worn and taken around, but anything bigger than a handbag will have to be checked in.

Use the interactive audio guide

For a small price, you can rent an interactive audio guide at the museum that gives you new insights into the life and work of Vincent van Gogh. The guide is available in eleven languages.

The Van Gogh Museum is located at the Museumplein in Amsterdam. Getting to the museum is easy by public transport. Visiting address: Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam. Tips for planning your visit to the Van Gogh Museum.

I hope you found this post to be helpful when visiting the Van Gogh Museum. If there’s any tip I missed that people will like, make sure to comment below!

Author: Daphne

This article is part of the GPSmyCity iOS app. You can download it, read this article offline and obtain travel directions (by foot, car or bicycle) to the places mentioned in this article. Click here to download it.

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