I have to admit that visiting a museum is not my most favorite thing to do on a holiday, but 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!
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.
Buying an online ticket 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 time-slot has expired, you can no longer enter the museum. Don’t show up before your time-slot start, because then you have to come back later. Tickets are available four months in advance. So, make sure you to book your tickets to make your visit far smoother and more enjoyable:
Combine your visit with another attraction in Amsterdam
Another option is to combine your visit to the Van Gogh museum with another attraction in Amsterdam. Below you can find some options:
Consider the museumkaart
You can buy a 31-day card for € 64 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.
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.
Pay attention when taking 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.
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
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.
In conclusion, while visiting museums may not be your top preference during a holiday, a trip to the Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands is a must, even more so if you’re Dutch. Vincent van Gogh’s legacy is monumental and the museum houses a remarkable collection of his work, making it a worthwhile addition to your itinerary. To make the most of your visit, here is a summary of my tips:
Book Online: Purchase your tickets online to skip the long ticket line and ensure a smooth entry.
Combine with Attractions: Consider combining your visit with other Amsterdam attractions to optimize your time.
Museumkaart: The Museumkaart is worth considering if you plan to visit multiple museums, allowing you to skip the line at the Van Gogh Museum.
Timing: Try to avoid peak hours and weekends for a less crowded experience. Early mornings or late afternoons are better.
Allocate Time: Plan for 1.5-2.5 hours for your visit, and start from the ground floor, working your way up.
Be Patient: Be prepared for lines, especially at popular exhibits and wait for your turn to fully appreciate the displays.
Photo Etiquette: Respect the rules regarding photography in the museum.
Research: If you have specific paintings you want to see, check if they’re on display beforehand to avoid disappointment.
Bag Size: Avoid bringing large bags, as there are no lockers, and backpacks need to be checked in.
Audio Guide: Consider renting an interactive audio guide for a deeper understanding of Van Gogh’s life and work.
With these tips in mind, your visit to the Van Gogh Museum can be a rewarding experience. Enjoy your visit! If you have any other tips, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below.
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