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Installation view of Kosmogonie: Zinsou – een Afrikaanse kunstcollectie Cosmogony: Zinsou -- an African art colleciton contemporary art exhibition in October 2022
Image from peter tijhuis

Art and exhibitions in the Amsterdam Area

If you’re an art lover, when you’ve finished with the wonders of Amsterdam’s museum quarter, don’t miss out on the opportunities to see spectacular art just a stone’s throw away in the region.

Museum Cobra, Amstelveen

Modern art

Installation view of Kosmogonie: Zinsou – een Afrikaanse kunstcollectie Cosmogony: Zinsou -- an African art colleciton contemporary art exhibition in October 2022
Image from Peter Tijhuis

The Museum Cobra is a must-see for modern art lovers, with changing exhibitions featuring the great names of the mid-20th-century CoBrA movement, such as Karel Appel, Constant, Corneille and Jan Sierhuis. There are also major temporary exhibitions of work by individual CoBrA artists and their contemporaries, artists from related movements and contemporary artists who work in the CoBrA tradition. Located just outside Amsterdam, in Amstelveen, the museum is easy to reach by bus or tram.

Rijksmuseum Muiderslot, Castles & Gardens

Contemporary art and Old Masters

Internationale vrouwendag  - Muiderslot
Image from Muiderslot

Since 1878 the medieval Castle Muiderslot has been a national museum filled with exceptional treasures that form the memory of this fairytale monument. Much of the collection is viewable on a tour of the building. During one of the free audio tours included in the entrance fee, beautiful objects and paintings will bring the castle's history to life - from the 17th century through the Middle Ages to the present day. Keep an eye on the agenda for regular exhibitions and photo presentations by contemporary artists inspired by the castle grounds, history and surroundings.

Het Hem, Old Holland

Contemporary art

Het HEM, an art institution in a former bullet factory on the Hembrugterrein in Zaandam.
Image from Koen Smilde

The cavernous surrounds of this former munitions-factory-turned-experimental-art-space provide a unique setting for conceptual art viewing. Het HEM's artist residency programme changes every season, inviting a new individual or group to write the next exhibition ‘chapter’. The ever-changing events encompass everything from visual art to dance, music, theatre and philosophy. Just a short jaunt outside of the city (with convenient ferry, bus and bike path connections), the space is located at the Hembrugterrein, where you’ll find many exciting restaurants, ateliers and cultural hotspots to explore.

*please note Het HEM is closed for renovation until Autumn 2024. Keep an eye on the website for updates.

Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen, Amsterdam Beach

Contemporary art and film

The defense wall of Fort Vijfhuizen in the Haarlemmermeer.
Image from Koen Smilde

Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen is a former military fort located just south of Haarlem, near Zandvoort. It was once part of Amsterdam's Defence Line, a 135 km-long ring of defensive structures that once served to protect the city. The fort was restored in the early 2000s and is now used as a centre for contemporary art, complete with a restaurant. It also hosts film screenings, business functions, and is an excellent departure point for local cycling and walking routes.


Contemporary art and performance

In 1973, the abandoned village of Ruigoord was squatted by a group of artists from Amsterdam and has since developed into a small but flourishing creative community. For decades it has been the source of many major Dutch creative movements and continues to play a central role in Amsterdam’s underground art scene. Keep an eye on the agenda for special exhibitions, performances, festivals and parties.

Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem

Old Masters and modern art

Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem
Image from koen smilde

Although the Frans Hals Museum bears the name of Haarlem's most famous artist, the collection is by no means limited to his work. Of course, Frans Hals himself is well represented at the museum’s beautiful Hof location, but you’ll also find work by many other 16th- and 17th-century Old Masters, such as Jan Nagel, Maerten van Heemskerck and Jacob van Ruisdael. Head to the Hal location on the Grote Markt for modern work by Lucebert, Constant and Zadkine.

Singer Laren, Flowers of Amsterdam

Modern art

People walking in Singer Laren museum sculpture garden with flowers
Image from Singer Laren

Singer Laren consists of a museum, a sculpture garden and a theatre. The museum’s impressive permanent collection, with work from 1880-1950, is certainly worth a visit. It was assembled by the American collectors Anna and William Singer in the first half of the 20th century. There are also changing contemporary exhibitions. Check the website for programming.

Flevoland Sculpture Trail, New Land

Contemporary art

Antony Gormley - Exposure
Image from Bram Schilling

Flevoland is home to the world’s biggest concentration of Land Art – huge artworks made in, with and as a response to the surrounding landscape. All in all, there are six works, by artists including Anthony Gormley, Daniel Libeskind and Richard Serra. The pieces vary greatly: some refer directly to the surrounding nature and the (short) history of the land they’re in, while others are inspired precisely by how untouched and a-historical the landscape is. Best of all, you can see them all in one day on a guided tour!

More information here.

Teylers Museum, Haarlem

Renaissance art and Old Masters

Museum Haarlem
Image from Teylers museum Haarlem

Because the Teylers Museum is dedicated to science and natural history as well as art, people are often surprised to discover that it has some amazing art treasures in its collection. After all, there are few museums in the world where you can see works by Michelangelo and Raphael – and the Teylers Museum offers a generous selection of Dutch Old Masters on top of that. This extraordinary collection in a remarkable setting in Haarlem is just a short trip from the centre of Amsterdam.

Museum JAN, Amstelveen

Modern art - Libenský, Francis, Verschoor

Museum JAN exhibition in Amstelveen
Image from Rive Roshan

Besides the Cobra Museum, Amstelveen has another impressive museum on offer. Right on Amsterdam’s doorstep, find Museum JAN (formerly Jan van der Togt), which specialises in glass art and Dutch design. Over the years, it has assembled a rich collection of modern work by the masters in this field, as well as other sculptures and paintings. The museum also mounts a wide variety of changing exhibitions.

Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar, Old Holland

Modern art and Old Masters

For an artist’s impression of Alkmaar and the surrounding area, the place to go is the Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar. The museum has a collection of excellent work depicting the city and its surroundings. There’s also an abundance of 16th- and 17th-century masterpieces and modern art.

Zaans Museum & Monet Atelier, Old Holland

Modern art

Het MonetAtelier - foto Lou Bronger Fotografie
Image from Lou Bronger Fotografie

In 1871, the French impressionist painter Claude Monet visited Zaandam, just north of Amsterdam. He was so taken by the local landscape, the windmills, the wooden houses and the river Zaan that he produced no fewer than 25 paintings and 9 sketches there. This explains why today you can see work by this world-famous artist at the Zaans Museum in Zaandam. Replicas of Monet’s 25 Zaandam paintings can also be seen in the MonetAtelier along the River Zaan and located in the rebuilt ‘Luchthuis aan de Zaan’, a house from one of his paintings.

Art Island, Amsterdam Beach

Contemporary art

Perhaps the most exceptional location for an art fair, the underground passages and historic bunkers of Forteiland IJmuiden are transformed into a haven for art enthusiasts in late May. During Art Island, More than 30 galleries and non-profit art institutions present contemporary work by leading and up-and-coming artists. Be inspired as you get lost in time navigating three floors and an extensive corridor system of this historic fortress where the exhibitions are laid out. Who knows, you might sail back on the boat armed with a unique work of art that you've purchased.

Museum Hilversum, Castles & Gardens

Photography and media art

Museum Hilversum photography gallery interior and exhibition
Image from Rick Mandoeng

Located in a 250-year-old town hall, Museum Hilversum has a particular focus on new media arts and photography. On top of a changing programme of roughly ten exhibitions a year, the museum hosts both World Press Photo and De Zilveren Camera - the most important journalistic photo competition in the country. Keep an eye on the agenda for lectures, performances or media labs and drop by the cosy café for refreshments during your visit.

Flower Art Museum, Flowers of Amsterdam

Contemporary art

Exposition hall in the Flower Art Museum in Aalsmeer.
Image from Koen Smilde

The Flower Art Museum is the world’s first museum dedicated to floral-inspired contemporary art. Located in the former water cellar of Aalsmeer (opposite the water tower), this 1,000-m2 museum organises exhibitions with renowned artists and challenging themes in which flowers and plants play the leading role.