Things to do in the Museum Quarter
Unearth the treasures of Amsterdam's Museum Quarter, home to some of the world’s most important artistic and historical contributions, chic dining experiences, and one of the best-sounding concert venues on the planet. Break up a day of museum hopping by shopping in some of the Netherlands’ fanciest boutiques or sampling traditional jenevers.
Immerse yourself in art history at Rijksmuseum
A must-visit for all art lovers, the Rijksmuseum spans 800 years of art history. Masterpieces by Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen and Frans Hals are just the tip of the iceberg in the vast collections. Highlights include Rembrandt’s The Nightwatch and Cuypers Library, the most extensive and oldest art history library in the Netherlands, with a beautiful spiral staircase that begs to be photographed.
See the modern masters at Stedelijk
Housed in a characteristic building that resembles an enormous shiny bathtub, the permanent collection at Stedelijk encompasses over 90,000 works, including pieces by Van Gogh, Picasso, Warhol, Mondrian, Rothko, Lichtenstein, Appel and Kusama – to name a handful of eye-catching names. Outrageous, witty, thought-provoking and always challenging, the temporary exhibitions are dedicated to experimental curation showcasing individual artists and movements.
Catch classical music in the Royal Concertgebouw
The Koninklijk (Royal) Concertgebouw is a world-renowned concert venue that consistently ranks among the top in the world for its superb acoustics. It is the stomping ground of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and is known for being the centre for classical music in the Netherlands. It boasts a grand Main Hall suited for a full orchestra, a Small Hall for chamber quartets and a Choir Hall for intimate recitals. The programming will suit the tastes of both discerning listeners and newcomers, and there are free lunchtime recitals on Wednesday afternoons.
Don’t miss the Van Gogh Museum
Endlessly reproduced on fridge magnets and tea towels, the world continues to be enchanted by the colour palette and brush strokes of Vincent van Gogh. This sleek Van Gogh Museum offers a refreshing take on the revolutionary Dutch painter’s life and work, displaying the world’s most extensive collection of original paintings, illustrations, and personal letters for a unique glimpse into his world. The changing exhibition programme also features works by Van Gogh’s contemporaries and other famous impressionists.
Sample jenevers from the city’s oldest spirit brand
Nothing warms up a day of museum hopping better than a pitstop at the House of Bols Cocktail & Genever Experience. Embark on an unforgettable interactive journey as you learn about Lucas Bols, the city’s longest-standing distilled spirit brand, established in 1575. You’ll have the opportunity to try over 42 liqueurs, including traditional jenevers mixed into delicious cocktails. The tour concludes with a visit to the Mirror Bar, where bartenders will shake up your favourites.
Practice your swimming strokes in an art deco pool
Only a few steps from the Rijksmuseum, this art-deco building houses a delightful swimming pool. Built in 1912, Zuiderbad was one of the first pools to have central heating and electric lighting and was considered far ahead of its time. Now, it's a nostalgic place to take a dip as you soak up the impressive decor and architectural details. There’s even a wellness corner with steam rooms, herbal baths and an infrared cabin.
Marvel at sparkly things in the Diamond Museum
Amsterdam has a long heritage in the diamond trade and several locations around the city where you can dive into this sparkling industry. The best place to start is, of course, at the Diamant (Diamond) Museum, which takes visitors on a 3 billion-year journey that starts 200 km below your feet and ends up in the ring on your finger. The exhibition delves into the history of Amsterdam and reveals diamond-related stories with films, photos, real jewellery and historical documents.
Get to grips with Banksy at Moco
MOCO is an independent museum that aims to introduce a broad and young target group to works by international greats in the art world, such as Banksy, Andy Warhol, Basquiat, Yayoi Kusama and Keith Haring. Along with the changing exhibitions, there’s a hidden sculpture garden where visitors can immerse themselves in an alternate, art-filled world.
Indulge in some exclusive retail therapy
Just off Museumplein, you’ll find an array of designer shops sprinkled along the flashy PC Hooftstraat up to the Willemsparkweg. Shop for exclusive brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, DKNY, Mulberry, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and more - all within a few short blocks. This district looks particularly magical during the festive season when the streets are adorned with twinkly lights and the storefronts put on their most vibrant displays.