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Open tuindagen 2023,  Huis Willet Holthuysen
Image from Monique Vermeulen; Amsterdam Museum

Museums with secret gardens in Amsterdam

Amsterdam comes alive when the sun is out, and the last thing most people want to do is be indoors. Luckily, many cultural institutions have some hidden open-air spaces, which are just as impressive as the galleries themselves. We've listed the museums with the most beautiful secret gardens and outdoor spaces in the city so you can get your arty fix and some Vitamin D in the process.

Huis Marseille

A couple walks trough the garden of Huis Marseille.
Image from Jan de Ridder

Located on the Keizersgracht, Huis Marseille has been established for over 20 years and was the first photography museum in Amsterdam. After marvelling at impressive photographic works spread through the luminous rooms of two 17th century canal houses, enjoy some sun in the quaint courtyard garden. When you’ve had your fill of fresh air, dive back into the collections or head into the speciality bookshop.

Huis Marseille | Keizersgracht 401

The Embassy of the Free Mind

Embassy of the Free Mind interior
Image from Embassy of the Free Mind

Free thought is the ability to formulate one's ideas autonomously, without limits and regardless of religion, culture or age. This feeling is exactly what The Embassy wants to stimulate, hosting a great variety of exhibitions and a historic library where you can browse through an incredible book collection. When you’ve found one that appeals, nestle down in the colourful garden filled with wildflowers. What better way to free your mind on a sunny day than with a good read in the fresh air?

The Embassy of the Free Mind | Keizersgracht 123

H'ART Museum

Image from Akio Takemoto CC BY SA 20 via Flickr

H'ART Museum conceals the most extensive courtyard garden in the centre of Amsterdam, an oasis of calm where you are surrounded by art. The space used to be a bleachfield where laundry was left to dry whilst the residents gardened and looked after the chickens. It's free to enter, and you can enjoy light refreshments, lunch or a glass of wine from the scenic terrace.

H'ART | Amstel 51

Museum van Loon

Image from Tom Elst

A historic canal house, a hidden courtyard garden and a slice of apple pie; you can't say no to that. Museum Van Loon was originally the home of Ferdinand Bol, a pupil of Rembrandt, and inside you’ll find portraits, paintings, silverware and porcelain from different centuries. Behind the house, the elegantly landscaped garden looks very much as it would have done in the 17th century - besides perhaps the scenic museum café, which is the perfect spot for a peaceful coffee.

Museum van Loon | Keizersgracht 672


Person painting @ garden Rijksmuseum.
Image from Pauline Arkesteijn

With its infinite paintings by the Dutch masters, a huge library and a beautiful outdoor space, the Rijksmuseum just keeps on giving. Escape the hustle and bustle of the galleries for a while to soak in the garden scenery with its various flowers and plants, a fountain and a sculpture exhibition. See if you can also find the Fragmentengebouw (Fragment Building) and the former director's villa. What doesn't the Rijks have?

Rijksmuseum | Museumstraat 1

Museum Willet-Holthuysen

Open tuindagen 2023,  Huis Willet Holthuysen
Image from Monique Vermeulen; Amsterdam Museum

The Willet-Holthuysen Museum on Herengracht is a 17th-century mansion, once considered among the most prominent buildings in the city. Have a nose through the period rooms, including a ballroom, garden room and dining room, to see how the wealthy former owners lived life to the full. The garden is designed in French classical style with ornate statues, manicured hedges and gravel that has been sprinkled into a work of art in itself. Take a seat on one of the benches, enjoy the sun and imagine yourself in a fairy tale.

Museum Willet-Holthuysen | Herengracht 605

NEMO Science Museum

Image from DigiDaan

NEMO doesn’t technically have a garden, but the spectacular roof terrace with breathtaking views of the city is at least as much fun. Architect Renzo Piano attempted to replicate the vibe of an actual city square, complete with a cafe terrace and water sculpture where children can play to their hearts' content. Learn about the natural elements and sustainable energy at the open-air exhibition Energetica and marvel as 4000 litres of water flow through 30 water tanks.

NEMO Science Museum | Oosterdok 2

The National Maritime Museum

Het Scheepvaartmuseum - National Maritime Museum - and the VOC ship.
Image from Eddo Hartmann / Scheepvaartmuseum

Another great way to blow the cobwebs away after spending time inside is to clamber aboard the VOC ship docked outside the National Maritime Museum. After learning about the sea-faring history of the Netherlands indoors, explore this incredible vessel to see how the crew slept and worked. All boat fanatics and families with adventurous children will be truly taken by the opportunity to inspect the cannons up close as you take in the salty sea air.

Moco Museum

MOCO Museum, Museumplein.
Image from Yuliya P

Step out of the Moco Museum and into the playful garden filled with various art contemporary pieces. Perfect for capturing on camera, these incredible works are best described as magical sculptures. Admire the enormous red gummy bear by Whisbe or Fidia's 'Freaky Mouse'. The garden regularly changes the artworks on display, so there’ll always be something inspiring and new to see each time you return.

Moco Museum | Honthorststraat 20

Huis Vasari

Bar Vasari
Image from Zina Selene

Concealed inside Huis Vasari, also home to the Vrije Academie, is a beautiful inner courtyard garden characteristic of an canal house. Huis Vasari itself is far from a typical museum, however, is home to many lectures, workshops and walking tours dedicated to arts and culture. Nowadays, Huis Vasari also boasts their own espresso bar, Bar Vasari. With many exhibitions on show, this unique museum is an unmissable jewel in Amsterdam's beautiful canal belt.

Huis Vasari | Herengracht 366