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Three women gathered around Rembrandt's Nachtwacht (Nightwatch) painting in the Rijksmuseum.
Image from Koen Smilde

Iconic masterpieces to see in and around Amsterdam

Amsterdam is home to some of the most treasured works of art in the world, including best-known pieces by Rembrandt, Mondrian, Van Gogh and more. The I amsterdam City Card gives you free access to many museums in and around Amsterdam, so you can make a day to meet the masterpieces of the Netherlands. Here’s your chance to tick these iconic masterpieces off your bucket list.

Sunflowers, Vincent van Gogh

Van Gogh Museum sunflowers zonnebloem
Image from Koen Smilde

Vincent van Gogh is arguably the most famous of Dutch artists, and his series of sunflowers are among his most celebrated. In the Van Gogh Museum, you get the chance to see one of the five in the series – the rest of these golden masterpieces are scattered across the globe. If seeing all five is on your bucket list, you’re in luck: with the help of Willem van Gogh, the great-grandnephew of Vincent van Gogh, you can get a virtual 360-degree tour of all five on Facebook

Where can I see it? Van Gogh Museum

The Night Watch, Rembrandt van Rijn

Rijksmuseum Rembrandt Night's Watch painting
Image from Koen Smilde

There is more than one reason that The Night Watch get its own room in the Rijksmuseum: not only is the painting gigantic (3.63 by 4.37 metres, or nearly 12 by 14 feet), it’s gigantically famous. At any given moment is the Night Watch Gallery, designed solely to showcase the painting, packed with dozens of eager viewers. Join the throng to admire all the details of the iconic painting – and the room itself.

Where can I see it? Rijksmuseum – included in the I amsterdam City Card

The Potato Eaters, Vincent van Gogh

Another of Van Gogh’s most famous works, The Potato Eaters is considered a masterpiece by many. Depicting a group of hardworking peasants gathered around a table eating potatoes, the painting is dark, coarse and rough – exactly what van Gogh envisioned. The unexpected subject of this solemn painting, and the realistic portrayal of the figures’ weathered hands and faces was instrumental in Van Gogh’s development as an artist.   

Where can I see it? Van Gogh Museum

The Milkmaid, Johannes Vermeer

The 17th century was a grand time for artists, and dozens of painters produced some of the world’s best works of art. The Milkmaid is one of the most recognisable works from Vermeer, and it’s considered a prize of the Rijksmuseum, with its exquisite natural lighting and realistic depiction of country life.

Where can I see it? Rijksmuseum – included in the I amsterdam City Card

Self Portrait, Rembrandt van Rijn

Rembrandt self portrait art work at rijksmuseum
Image from Koen Smilde

Rembrandt honed his craft by painting self-portraits – a fascinating opportunity for viewers to see artists through their own eyes. Some of Rembrandt’s most famous self-portraits feature cartoonish expressions or, in this case, a deep fascination with chiaroscuro, in which the artist plays with light and shadows.

Where can I see it? Rijksmuseum  – included in the I amsterdam City Card

Composition No. IV With Red, Blue and Yellow, Piet Mondrian

The red, blue and yellow squares separated by thick black lines has become an iconic, easily recognisable work of art – it’s all Mondrian. There are dozens of iterations on the theme, but this classic representation is one of the best. Visit this icon at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, which proudly displays modern and contemporary art.

Where can I see it? Stedelijk Museum – included in the I amsterdam City Card

Jacqueline Kennedy II, Andy Warhol

In the ‘60s, Andy Warhol revolutionised art with his pop culture icons and factory line production. His work celebrated subjects that were familiar to everyday people – think the tomato soup cans – as well as high profile celebrities, such as his famous Marilyn Monroe series. Jacqueline Kennedy II depicts the former First Lady after the tragic assassination of her husband.   

Where can I see it? Stedelijk Museum  – included in the I amsterdam City Card

As I Opened Fire, Roy Lichtenstein

Like Warhol, American artist Roy Lichtenstein brought pop art into fine art prominence. His piece As I Opened Fire is a great example of his unique style: derived from a comic book, this work features three panels, called a triptych, alongside exaggerated lettering, the use of primary colours and the narrative from the comic itself, albeit slightly altered.

Where can I see it? Stedelijk Museum - included in the I amsterdam City Card